Miranda Yang, BSW student, shares J-Term experience in Laos
Having grown up in America, I always wanted to learn more about the country of my parents and grandparents. I was able to do an Independent Study in Laos during J-Term 2013-2014. My study focused on looking at the lives of Hmong women in Laos and contrasted and compared them with the lives of Hmong women in America. Hmong women in Laos travel from their rural villages to attend school in the city. Since tuition is comparable to college tuition in the United States only a few Hmong women are able to attend college. There are few jobs available for students so many receive financial support from their families. Education is important to Hmong women in Laos, but like Hmong women in the U.S., they have to give up their educational and career goals when they marry. Viv Ncaus, a nonprofit organization in Vientiane, Laos, was established in 2008 to help Hmong women and students as they pursue these goals. This is the only organization in Laos to help Hmong women, while there are many more the United States. It was a great pleasure to take this journey and to share stories with other Hmong women in Laos. It was life changing and it broadened my knowledge about Hmong people and culture.