When Simeon Ngiratregd moved to the U.S., he was stunned. It was completely different from his village of fifteen families. In time, the many lakes of Minnesota reminded him of his island nation.
Mr. Ngiratregd was born in Palau, a country in the Pacific Ocean comprised of 300 islands. Simeon lived with his parents until he finished the sixth grade when he moved to the capital—Koror. In Koror, he lived with his sister and attended school. Towards the end of his high school career, Mr. Ngiratregd befriended a Peace Corps volunteer from Minnesota. The volunteer was able to arrange a scholarship for Simeon to Macalester College, which he accepted in 1969.
Upon arriving in Minnesota, Simeon struggled to communicate. Although he learned English in school, he was not used to American slang or the speed at which people spoke. Unable to communicate well, Mr. Ngiratregd was lonely during his first few months in the U.S.
After graduating from Macalester, Simeon returned to Palau where he planned to stay. A heartfelt conversation with his sister ultimately led him to decide to move back to the U.S. permanently. Currently, Mr. Ngiratregd works for HealthPartners. He lives in St. Paul, Minnesota with his wife. They have two children and one grandchild.