COMING TO AMERICA
THE VIETNAMESE AMERICAN EXPERIENCE
STEPHEN VAN HUY HO
         Unlike most of the other immigrant waves that have come to the United States, the Vietnamese migration came fairly recently. Consequently, many of the developments and adaptations that Vietnamese immigrants have to make are occurring day to day. Being a second generation of Vietnamese American sparked an interest in how having roots in Vietnam has affected my life. What aspects of the Vietnamese family contributed to the achievement of Vietnamese-Americans in school? Which aspects of the circumstances surrounding the mass immigration after the Vietnam War were also factors? I had always felt my relationship with my family and culture was vital to my education and maturation. It seems that by having a Vietnamese background in culture, experience, and ancestry, there is a positive force pushing the new generation of Vietnamese to excel in American society.

         Historical background
         In 1954, Vietnam was divided into the Democratic Republic of Vietnam (in the North) led by Hồ Chí Minh and the Republic of Vietnam (in the South) led by Ngô Đình Diệm. Fearing the spread of communism throughout Asia by the Domino Effect, the United States joined the conflict militarily. However, after many casualties and much domestic opposition to U.S. involvement in the war, its troops were withdrawn; the fall of Saigon and South Vietnam subsequently followed in 1975. The multiple waves of political refugees from Vietnam that followed became the largest refugee resettlement program in American history. The first wave of 130,000 people came in 1975 and consisted of the well educated, professionals, urban and westernized; about half of them were Christian, 37% of heads of households had completed high school, and 16% had been to college (Takaki 451).

        Please read the rest of the story in THE SORROWS OF WAR AND PEACE.
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