Nang’s Story

“Citizenship is very important. We became citizens so we can work and travel...and it can protect us.”


Nang came to the U.S. through a refugee camp in Thailand. At first, the transition was difficult. Her family didn’t speak English or understand how to make a life in the U.S.

Now, she volunteers at the Institute to help other members of her community achieve citizenship. Nang has two children, and hopes that her daughter will work with the United Nations someday to “help the refugee people.”


College readiness

Mahgol’s Story


This year, Mahgol finished her generals at Saint Paul College and transferred to the University of Minnesota as a math major. Four years ago when she arrived to Minnesota from Iran at age 18, the only word she knew in English was “hi.”

“I didn’t give up.”

After learning some English working as a lifeguard at the YMCA, Mahgol came to the Institute and completed College Readiness Academy. She passed the Accuplacer and was able to enroll in college.

Navigators helped her apply for financial aid, enroll in classes and even prepare her resume to apply for jobs, but it was Mahgol’s drive and hard work that ultimately led to her success.

“I was a full time student, I was working full time, and I was taking care of my dad and my sister who was in high school. So I’m really proud of that. I made it.”


Nursing Assistant Training program

Ruth’s Story

“I did my best, and now I have hope.”

Ruth graduated from the Nursing Assistant Training program at the Institute, and now cares for Minnesota’s aging population.


Refugee Resettlement

Alliance & Her Family


Alliance and her family came here as refugees a year and a half ago. Her favorite thing about Minnesota? “They provide education for free.”

“I’m thankful we moved to Minnesota because we discover new things and always get to meet new people.”

At first, she was scared because everything was so new. Her dad encouraged her to play soccer, and her mom helped her feel confident about going to school, where her favorite subject is now “maybe all of them.”

Someday, Alliance hopes to be a doctor or a clothing designer.

“I feel Minnesota is home, because it’s the place we’re going to stay for a long time.”