Department of Teaching, Learning and Teacher Education


Date of this Version



Published in Comparative Education Review 53:3 (Aug. 2009). Copyright (c) 2009 by the Comparative and International Education Society. Published by University of Chicago Press. Used by permission.


There are many school-age children involved in the transnational movement of peoples between the United States and Mexico. Among those currently in Mexico (typically regarded as a sending country rather than a receiving country), most expect to return to the United States someday, although not necessarily permanently, and they variously identify as Mexican, Mexican American, or American. This suggests that the prospect of enduring geographic mobility affects the complicated work of identity formation and affiliation. Central to this negotiation are Mexican schools, which, like U.S. schools, are not deliberately designed to consider the needs, understandings, and wants of an increasingly international, mobile population. One purpose of this article is to build an understanding of transnational students from those we encountered through school visits in the Mexican states of Nuevo Leo´n and Zacatecas in 2004–5. The students in our study are transnational, because they have moved internationally, but they do not conform to the common assumption that immigrant students face only the challenge of integrating themselves to their new host country.