Between Two Worlds presents the unique and often untold stories of Hmong Americans in Minnesota, which constitutes the largest Asian ethnic minority group in the state. How did they come to and settle in Minnesota? Did they face the challenges of assimilation, stereotype, and discrimination? What does it take for them to maintain their own cultures, languages, traditions, family values, and identities? What does it mean to be an “American” and “Hmong” at the same time? These are just some of the questions that this project explores. In addition, a major goal of this project is to examine the experiences of Hmong American women in higher education, those pioneers who are bridging the gender gap, breaking silence, and making history.
Starting in the summer of 2016 and throughout 2017, the research team has interviewed 17 Hmong Americans, both first and second generation, along with other college professors and educational experts who have extensive knowledge of and worked closely with the Hmong community in Minnesota. The semi-structured interviews took place on the St. Olaf campus as well as the homes or schools of the participants. The interviews typically lasted between one and one and a half hour.