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Latino Studies

, Volume 17, Issue 4, pp 428–447 | Cite as

The adaptation path of transnational students in Mexico: Linguistic and identity challenges in Mexican schools

  • Colette DespagneEmail author
  • Mónica Jacobo Suárez
Original Article

Abstract

Transnational students constitute a growing population in Mexico. They are part of the returning flow of immigrant families moving from the United States back to Mexico. As students, transnational children represent a challenge to Mexico’s education system as they encounter major identity and linguistic barriers in school settings. Drawing on the literature of bilingualism and positioning theory, we analyze the adaptation process of nineteen Mexican–American youth enrolled in high school from a retrospective perspective. Our findings demonstrate that multiple ruptures occurred upon arrival. First, the students’ lifestyles and family dynamics changed drastically. At school, students are seen as “different” by their peers and teachers, which triggers feelings of rejection and superiority. Yet, student’s narratives also show a path of agentivity during the adaptation process through the use of language: transnational students learn to reposition themselves by developing their skills in Spanish and making use of their abilities in English.

Keywords

Transnational students Return migration Adaptation Positioning theories Bilingualism Mexico 

La trayectoria de adaptación de los estudiantes transnacionales en México: Retos lingüísticos y de identidad en las escuelas mexicanas

Resumen

Los estudiantes transnacionales constituyen una población creciente en México. Son parte del flujo de familias migrantes que regresan de Estados Unidos a México. Como estudiantes, los niños transnacionales representan un reto para el sistema educativo mexicano, ya que se topan con grandes barreras lingüísticas y de identidad en sus entornos escolares. Partiendo de la literatura sobre el bilingüismo y la teoría de posicionamiento, analizamos retrospectivamente el proceso de adaptación de diecinueve jóvenes mexicoamericanos matriculados en escuela superior. Nuestros hallazgos muestran que ocurrieron múltiples rupturas a su llegada. Primero, el estilo de vida y la dinámica familiar de estos estudiantes cambió de manera drástica. En la escuela, sus pares y maestros los veían como “diferentes”, lo cual desencadenaba sentimientos de rechazo y superioridad. Sin embargo, las narrativas de los estudiantes también revelan una trayectoria de agentividad en el proceso de adaptación con el uso del lenguaje: los estudiantes trasnacionales aprenden a reposicionarse ampliando su dominio del español y aprovechando sus habilidades con el inglés.

Palabras Clave

Estudiantes transnacionales Migración de retorno Adaptación Teorías de posicionamiento Bilingüismo México 

Notes

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Copyright information

© Springer Nature Limited 2019

Authors and Affiliations

  1. 1.Benemérita Universidad Autónoma de PueblaPueblaMexico
  2. 2.Centro de Investigación y Docencia EconómicasMexico CityMexico

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