Parents strive strongly to make sure their children have all the opportunities that they didn’t.: Becoming Minnesotan

Tashi Lhewa, c.2005.
  • Name - Tashi Lhewa
  • Age at interview - 24
  • Gender - Male
  • Generation - First Generation American / Immigrant
  • Date of Interview - 08.28.2005
  • Tibetan American college graduate with his family and friends, 2009.
    Tibetan Uprising Day rally, Minnesota State Capitol Building, St. Paul, 2006.

    Community, Family, Tibetan

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    Essential Question

    Becoming Americans: What does it mean to be an American?

    Opportunities in America: What kind of opportunities does this person see in America that he/she did not have in the homeland?

    Words to look for


    Background Information

    In the 1950s the Chinese invaded Tibet and many Tibetans fled to the neighboring countries of India or Nepal. However, Tibet is a very mountainous place, so there were few roads and only certain places where people could walk across the mountains to safety.  This was a dangerous journey through the snow, and many people died along the way. 

    Once these Tibetans arrived in India or Nepal, they still faced many hardships in the refugee camps.  Many people of a certain generation missed out on educational and job opportunities because they were living as refugees in another country.  

    To learn more about Tibetan history and culture, visit our Tibetan Community page.

    • Chapter 1

    Download Tashi Lhewa 5
    1:41 Minutes | 1.63Mb


    Narrator: Tashi Lhewa (TL)

    Interviewer: Charles Lenz (CL)
    CL:  You mentioned before that when you were at St. Cloud that you met a lot of other international students because of the in-state tuition thing for international students. I think—personally, I think a lot of people would agree with you, that the Tibetan community has been a very successful immigrant community here in the city. You’re Tibetan yourself and in the community and have had relationships with other immigrants and other communities, other smaller localized communities here in the cities. What do you think it is about Tibetans or the Tibetan community that has allowed them to be so successful?
    TL:  I believe it’s largely in due part to their own experiences that they’ve gone through. Coming from...all the way from Tibet, making the trek across the mountains, starting afresh in India, was a very traumatic experience for some Tibetans. I mean I think that especially the Tibetans of the younger generation can’t fathom or begin to fathom what their parents had to go through. My parents had a very hard time both from my dad’s side and mom’s side and so that was a very hard step and the parents have — just as natural examples within a family. The parents are natural examples that the children look up to. That there is a tendency to be hard working and trying to excel, trying to do better than where their parents left them off. I guess there is a very strong — one thing I noticed that is parents strive strongly to make sure their children have all the opportunities that they didn’t. And so I believe that in the U.S. especially they have opportunities which their parents couldn’t dream of, whether it be academic or professional.

    Related Glossary Terms


     Adjective:  Relating to school or studies.


    Noun:  A group of people who share a common understanding of the same language, manners, tradition and law.


    Verb:  To do much better than others.  (excels, excelling, excelled)


    Noun:  1. Participation in events, leading to knowledge, opinons, or skills.  2. The knowledge thus gathered.


    Verb:  To get to the bottom of; to manage to comprehend.  (fathoms, fathoming, fathomed)


    Noun:  1. A period of around thirty years, the average amount of time before a child takes the place of its parents.  2. A group of people who are of approximately the same age.


    Noun:  A person who comes to a country to permanently settle from another country.


    Adjective:  Limited to a certain area; in a local vicinity only.


    Noun:  A chance for advancement, progress, or profit.


    Adjective:  Describes a specific field of work that requires above average education and a specific set of skills.

    Noun: A person who works in a job that requires a lot of skills or training.


    Verb:  To try to achieve a goal; to try earnestly and persistently.  (strives, striving, strove/strived, striven/strived)


    Noun:  A likelihood of behaving in a particular way or going in a particular direction.


    Adjective:  Of, caused by, or causing serious physical or emotional injury or distress.


    Noun:  A slow or difficult journey.


    Noun:  A sum of money paid for instruction (such as in a high school, university, or college).


    Minnesota Historical Society. Becoming Minnesotan: Stories of Recent Immigrants and Refugees. September 2010. Institute of Museum and Library Services. [Date of access].
    nid: 133