News Release

Published on Tuesday, November 06, 2007

Western Students Get a Taste of the Hmong Immigration Experience

LA CROSSE, Wis. –Sixty students from Western Technical College’s English Language Learners’ (ELL) program will visit the Children’s Museum of La Crosse’s display “Hmong at Heart” on Thursday, November 8. The students, all of them Hmong immigrants, are attending as part of their course curriculum. All of the students have arrived in the United States in the last two to four years.

This popular traveling display is currently at the Children’s Museum of La Crosse through December, and traces the Hmong immigrants from camps in Thailand to their arrival in America. The display was put together with assistance from Hmong immigrants from across the United States, including La Crosse.

Chad Dull, associate dean of the Instructional Support Services division at Western, and Carol Anderson, ELL instructor, spearheaded the idea. “As part of the Civic Literacy course curriculum, we encourage students to get out into the community and get involved,” said Dull. “Because this particular display is related to their culture, we thought this would be a great opportunity to get our students out of the classroom and engaged in this exhibition that’s so closely related to their own experiences.”

Dull continues, “Many of the students in Western’s ELL courses were living in camps two years ago. It’ll be interesting to have those same students who were living in the camps in Thailand looking at the camps in Thailand on display.”

One of the challenges with this group of students was the $4 admission fee at the museum. The Children’s Museum is waiving the charge for the students in order for them to see the exhibit. “The admission fee is definitely an issue for our students,” says Anderson. “So many of them work long hours and just barely make ends meet. In fact, when they visit the museum and see what a wonderful exhibit it is, I worry about how they’ll manage to take their children to see it.”

Anne Steuer, executive director of the Children’s Museum of La Crosse, is excited for the students’ arrival. “We are happy to invite this particular group to see this exhibit that Hmong immigrants from our area helped to create. It will be interesting to hear their feedback and compare their immigration experience with those who came before them.”

For information on the Instructional Support Services division and the ELL program, visit westerntc.edu/goal/ or contact 608.785-9535. For additional Western Technical College programs and services, call 608.785.9200 or visit the Web site at westerntc.edu.

# # #

Western Technical College provides essential training and education to Western Wisconsin’s workforce.
Our faculty bring it … our students get it … employers want it. The essential experience.