Date of Award

1-1-2011

Document Type

Campus Access Dissertation

Department

College of Social Work

Sub-Department

Social Work

First Advisor

Naomi Farber

Abstract

This study explored the experiences of newly arrived Mexican immigrant students in their homes, communities, and schools. Additionally, I explored if their experiences with peers, in their home life, as well as identity and migratory experience differ in relation to levels of achievement. Thirty students of Mexican descent in one southern community participated in a semi-structured interview. The essences of their experiences were identified using phenomenological methods. The findings highlight the challenges associated with migration from Mexico to the United States. Both the students and their parents experience fear and racism in their communities, and they are extremely isolated both geographically and socially.

In their schools the majority of the students find their teachers to be emotionally and academically supportive, but learning academic English is an enormous task for all. Frustration figures prominently for both the high and low achieving students, but for different reasons. Their identity is closely tied to their migratory status as are their plans for the future. These youngsters and their families are resilient, and despite great barriers, they are trying to succeed and incorporate into U.S. society.

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