DACA Students Will Travel from NYC to Mexico

Photo via Diario de México)

(Photo via Diario de México)

Being undocumented is no longer an obstacle for Mexican students living in the Big Apple to reengage with their roots, thanks to the City College of New York study abroad program to Oaxaca, Mexico, “Education That Is Multicultural,” promoted by Professor Tatyana Kleyn.

“Mexicans are the fastest-growing group of immigrants in New York City, so my idea is to take our students there, who are current and future teachers, to learn about the culture and education in Mexico, and gain a better understanding of their students,” said Kleyn.

She added that DREAMers will have the opportunity to travel thanks to the Deferred Action for Childhood Arrivals (DACA) and the support of the Jaime Lucero Mexican Studies Institute.

During the trip, taking place between Jan. 1 and 15, the DREAMers will have the chance to visit their families and learn about their countries of origin.

Throughout the course, the group will visit elementary, secondary and preparatory schools, as well as indigenous communities.

Migration, the educational system, trade unions, indigenous languages and bilingual education in Oaxaca are among the topics to be discussed.

The cost of the course is $800, and all Latino immigrants who are CUNY students are welcome to apply. Participation will be equivalent to three graduate credits toward the student’s major.

An unforgettable experience

Yatziri Tovar-Campos crossed the border when she was 2 years old. However, she does not remember the trek because she was very young then and her parents do not like to address the topic.

To her, being undocumented was not a problem until she decided to find work, obtain a driver’s license, apply for scholarships and enroll in college. At that moment, she realized the harsh reality faced by many Mexicans in the U.S. The young woman studies bilingual education and political science at City College, and was among the 14 students who traveled to Oaxaca last year.

“The desire to again set foot on the land where I was born, meet my family and travel for the first time drove me to do it,” said Tovar-Campos.

She added that being Mexican and knowing practically nothing about her country made her feel powerless.

“[It’s] one thing to read [about] it, [it’s] another is to experience it,” said the student.

The DREAMer said that, while the experience enriched her, seeing the lack of opportunities in her native country triggered in her feelings of anger, sadness and impotence.

“When you return to the United States, you realize how unfair it is that we barely value everything we have here,” she said.

“Walking where your parents walked, hugging those you only know from talking on the phone, being there with your people, that truly is priceless,” said a moved Tovar-Campos.

The student, who is also the president of the DREAMers group in her college, said that she does not rule out moving to Mexico after graduation.

“At times, I feel rejected. What am I working so hard for if this country [the U.S.] does not recognize me as a person?” she lamented.

Tovar-Campos called on everyone who is eligible to vote in the next presidential election to elect a candidate who does not attack immigrants who work hard in this country to pursue the “American dream.”

Watch a video in Spanish on the students and the program, at Diario de México.

Leave a Reply

Your email address will not be published. Required fields are marked *