Saint Paul is home to over 20,000 Karen refugees, an ethnic group from Burma in Southeast Asia, making it the largest city where Karen refugees reside. Saint Paul College is home to many Karen students pursuing their college education and further connecting them with personal and professional growth opportunities.
One current student is Kdree Na, who was born in Thailand, raised in Burma until she turned eight when her family fled the country and moved to America. She moved to Saint Paul in 2018 due to her mother’s failing health and was encouraged by her mother to pursue a career in nursing as something she would enjoy. Kdree applied and was accepted at both Saint Paul College and Bethel University, and she chose the former for her first two years as it was more affordable and closer to home. Reflecting on her two years, she warmly smiles and shares her heart about what makes Saint Paul College so special to her:
- A never-ending feeling of being welcomed & respected throughout the campus
- Fitting in comfortably with genuine diversity all around her
- Accommodating instructors with small class sizes and challenging but rewarding classes
- Abundant financial support options that helped her invest in herself and her family.
Lwe See is a 2021 Finance Alum who now serves as a Realtor in his community. He moved to Minnesota from Thailand in 2010 and was involved in the Power of You and Upward Bound programs during his Como Park High School days which helped prepare him for college. Before enrolling at Saint Paul College, Lwe did a lot of research and found the school to be the best fit for his needs and wants. When he visited the campus, he was impressed with the warm welcome from all staff and teachers and the first-class support he received from instructors, advisors, and tutors. Lwe shared that Saint Paul College is a great place to grow as a person as the experience gives you the confidence and background needed to succeed in today’s marketplace.
Kdree and Lwe are just two of many Karen students making significant impacts in their communities and with their families. To further connect with the Karen community in providing growth and educational opportunities, Saint Paul College is collaborating with
The Urban Village. The Urban Village is a Saint Paul-based, non-profit organization that has led and supported many significant Karen community initiatives which help connect and empower them to grow as leaders within their community through their own unique skills.