This article presents findings from a qualitative study that examined how five Burmese refugee students adjusted and navigated two public school high schools in a Midwestern urban city in the U.S. The purpose of the study was to capture their unique histories and migration stories from which they drew strength as they resettled in the U.S. The present study focused specifically on the barriers faced by them in achieving high school graduation and impediments to higher education. Important findings included lack of navigational capital, linguicism and the intense shame of being a multilingual learner, birth order, and poor health. Other factors that negatively impacted their educational journeys included feelings of isolation and segregation from mainstream students, as well as lack of information about available resources. Theoretical frameworks of Critical Race Theory and Postcolonial Theory were used to guide the analysis of data and presentation of case studies. Data was collected using in-depth interviews, classroom observations, and home visits to facilitate a greater understanding of their education journeys.

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