Vietnam to Austin: Learning to Live Again - Austin History Center

Vietnam to Austin: Learning to Live Again

Once Vietnamese refugees arrived in the United States, they faced many hardships settling into their new homes. They had to learn English, obtain job training, find employment, secure housing, and provide education for their children. Some families also had to find assistance for their elderly parents. This was in addition to the challenge of becoming accustomed to a new culture and foreign surroundings. Nevertheless, with the strength and endurance gained from their struggles, many Vietnamese Americans received the education and training necessary to become skilled workers and professionals in many different fields. Vietnamese refugees worked hard to find success in their new country.

Community Profile: Lana's Enterprises

[Lana and her packaged eggrolls], undated, AR.2009.048(244)b, "Vietnam to Austin: Restoring Community" Exhibit Collection

While working for a tech company, Lana Lartigue found that the egg rolls she brought to work for special occasions were a big hit and in 1986, started Lana’s Enterprises. Her all natural egg rolls are now sold in major grocery stores including HEB, Central Market and Whole Foods. Her line has expanded to include a Mexican line and also sells at various deli’s and convenience stores.

Community Profile: Andrew Lam and Cam Van Nguyen

[Andrew Lam and Cam Van Nguyen], undated, AR.2009.048(241)b, "Vietnam to Austin: Restoring Community" Exhibit Collection

Many Vietnamese young professionals work in the tech industry in Austin. Andrew Lam and Cam Van Nguyen work for IBM as software engineers. IBM encourages its employees to volunteer in the community. Both Andrew and Cam Van served as Board members of the Vietnamese American Heritage Foundation.

Community Profile: Thao Tran

[Deluxe Nails & Day Salon], undated, AR.2009.048(242)b, "Vietnam to Austin: Restoring Community" Exhibit Collection

Thao Tran is the manager of Deluxe Nails & Day Spa in North Austin. It is estimated that there are over 300 Vietnamese-owned nail salons in Austin and the surrounding area. The nail salon business is common among this community because licensing procedure is relatively short, employees are able to make a good income with little language skills, and the work schedule is flexible.