Kiet Dao Van was born in Vietnam and came to Portland in 1985. In Portland, he has held a variety of jobs including painting houses, being a teacher’s aid in the public schools, working in a clinic serving other refugees, and acting as a translator and interpreter. Although he is now retired, Van continues to do charity work for the community.

In this oral history interview, Van shares his story settling in Portland and adjusting to a new environment. He begins by talking about living with his sponsor when he first arrived in the city and then later finding an apartment and a job. He then shares some of the difficulties of coming to America, such as taking care of his family and helping them adjust to life in Portland while also trying to work as a teacher’s assistant. After realizing that being a teacher’s assistant would not make enough money to sustain his family, Van began working at a clinic as an interpreter instead. Van also talks about the disharmony within the Vietnamese community and the competitive lifestyle in America that makes it difficult to come together. He ends the interview by sharing that he hopes the community can stand together as one.