U Of Wisconsin Makes Effort To Reach Out To Parents Of Hmong Students

Ann McClure's picture
Monday, April 16, 2012

When Pa Her first started at UW-Madison, her parents didn't come with her to freshman orientation. They picked her up from campus but never saw the inside of a classroom. They didn't know what she meant when she said she was stressed out by final exams.

"My parents, they don't speak English," she said. "They had no idea what this university means. They know it's a great university. Outside of that, they were like, '[We're] not sure what you're going to be doing over there.'"

Her's experience is common among Hmong students, a campus research team has found. That's why Saturday, for only the second time, the university is holding a Hmong Parents Day. At the day-long event, which is held almost entirely in Hmong, parents get to sit in on a college lecture, walk through a dorm and hear from student groups.

"It became very clear to us from this research project that we needed to bring Hmong parents onto campus for them to be able to see what buildings were, to see what the resources were, to find out about their son or daughter's educational experiences first-hand," said Alberta Gloria, a professor of counseling psychology who leads the Hmong Research Team.

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