El Sueño Mexicano: Returning Migrant Youth’s Adaptation Experience in Mexico

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Student Research Reports, Summer 2018

Returning migrant high school students in a small town of Oaxaca, Mexico use this outside space for their club meetings.  They call themselves the New DREAMers, and meet to discuss problems they encounter upon return, exchange migration stories, and practice their English with each other.  (Photo by Adriana Ramirez.)
Returning migrant high school students in a small town of Oaxaca, Mexico use this outside space for their club meetings.  They call themselves the New DREAMers, and meet to discuss problems they encounter upon return, exchange migration stories, and practice their English with each other.  (Photo by Adriana Ramirez.)

El Sueño Mexicano: Returning Migrant Youth’s Adaptation Experience in Mexico
By Adriana Ramirez

During the summer of 2018 I spent a total of a month and a half in Oaxaca, Mexico conducting 25 in-depth interviews of young migrants born in the US or who lived in the US and returned to Mexico.  This was an expansion of my previous research in the summer of 2015, where I conducted 14 in-depth interviews. This time around I was able to reconnect with the high school I worked with previously, about an hour away from Oaxaca city, and the public University in Oaxaca city.  I also established relationships with two middle schools, one in the same town as the high school and another in a smaller zapotec town.  My work in these schools and communities will continue through participant observation and in-depth interviews in the future.  I plan to return to these schools to observe how these young people are responding to their new communities and vice versa.  While I have found interesting patterns in my interviews  of incorporation, adaptation, citizenship, identity, and nationalism, this phenomenon is much more complicated and needs more in-depth qualitative research to set aside our common understanding of migration.  Previous research on return migration on return migration neglected to focus on the effects of identity and citizenship on these migrant’s incorporation, something my work will bridge.  However,  my future research will to focus more on aspects of gender, mixed-status families, and comparisons with other Mexican states. 

 The hallway high school students have to walk through to get to the principal's office that is significantly different from schools in the U.S. (Photo by Adriana Ramirez.)
The hallway high school students have to walk through to get to the principal's office that is significantly different from schools in the U.S. (Photo by Adriana Ramirez.)

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