Crossing Borders in the School Yard: The Formation of Transnational Social Spaces among Chinese and Mexican Immigrant Students (Working Paper #76)

Carmina Brittain, Center for Comparative Immigration Studies

Abstract: This presentation analyzes how first generation immigrant students from China and Mexico experience American schooling within a transnational social space that is formed as immigrant children receive and share information about U.S. schools with their co-national (individuals born in their country of origin who reside in multiple localities across borders). This socialization with co-nationals crosses and overlaps boundaries in important and symbolic ways, establishing transnational social spaces in American schools. Framed as advice to immigrant children received from their co-nationals at three specific points in time: prior to immigrating, upon arrival to the U.S., and after a few years of living in the U.S. and attending American schools. Issues related to academic demands, teachers’ and culture emerged as the “do’s and don’ts” for immigrant children. This presentation concludes by arguing that immigrant children’s adaptation to American schools is not only influenced by experiences localized in the United States, but also by experiences that link immigrants with their countries of origin.

Working Paper #76»