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Inter-institutional transnational experience in migration studies:

Inter-institutional transnational experience in migration studies:

Academic Practice with Mexican Migrant Population in Chicago

Graciela Polanco Hernández 1, Maria Vidal de Haymes 2 and Caridad Rositas-Sheftel 3

1 Universidad Iberoamericana, Ciudad de México graciela.polanco@ibero.mx | 2 Loyola University Chicago mvidal@luc.edu  | Catholic Charities of Chicago crositas@catholiccharities.net

Networking has allowed us to design and generate academic models of international student mobility within a humanistic framework between universities and institutions that contribute to the academic training of undergraduate students in psychology.

The academic Internship with Mexican migrant population in Chicago, which has been linked since 2007, has allowed the participation of 162 undergraduate students: 97 in psychology and 65 in nutrition, communication, international relations and history from the Universidad Iberoamericana, Mexico City (IBERO CDMX).  As it is an immersion experience with comprehensive training, through academia, research, professionalization and advocacy, it allows students to strengthen their attitude of service, sensitivity, commitment, critical thinking, justice and social responsibility in the face of the migration phenomenon in Mexico and the United States.

The curricular axis of this academic practice is based on the Ignatian Pedagogical Paradigm, as well as on the psycho-pedagogical approach of experiential learning theories, reflective teaching, teaching by competencies, situated teaching and solidarity service.  

As we know, Chicago is one of the cities with the largest migrant population coming from Mexico and that in many occasions in vulnerable conditions due to their disadvantaged situation of lacking a regular migratory status, not knowing the language, the culture, being separated from their family and social networks and being exposed to situations of discrimination, rejection or exploitation, it is considered of great value that there are programs that contribute to their acculturation process through the participation of qualified students, who provide intervention and psychosocial accompaniment to the vulnerable conditions they live in.

As a result of the success of this academic experience, the book “Salud emocional para mujeres migrantes” (Emotional Health for Migrant Women) was published (Polanco, G. et al 2021); which presents the psychosocial intervention model developed in migrant communities in Chicago, the result of the systematization of the work done by psychology students at IBERO CDMX, under the supervision of their professors who are specialists in mental health, community intervention and migration.

Given the need to continue working with the Mexican migrant community in Chicago despite the COVID19 health emergency, the Inter-institutional Transnational Experience in Migration Studies: Academic practice with the Mexican migrant population in Chicago has been carried out in distance mode. 

The students work with the beneficiaries maintaining the same communication, accompaniment and sense of community as in the face-to-face modality; likewise, they have shown enthusiasm, interest and motivation to continue their university education through digital media.

Being an academic is a great responsibility, you have in your hands the formation of future professionals, that is why it is important to leave a mark on them to promote analytical, critical and reflective thinking, as well as to promote commitment, sensitivity, respect for dignity, social justice, awareness of diversity and the realities that exist.  This is why we seek to motivate them to work as qualified professionals who have an impact in favor of groups in vulnerable conditions.  

Being an Academic has also been one of the most rewarding activities of our professional performance. The work generated in a network between Universidad Iberoamericana CDMX, Loyola University Chicago and Catholic Charities of Chicago, has allowed us to share knowledge among colleagues and develop different pedagogical models and community psychosocial intervention on the migration phenomenon.

Finally, we would like to mention that this Interinstitutional Transnational Experience in Migration Studies is a clear example of networking with high academic quality, social impact and community advocacy.

doi: 10.30849/psinteram110 | Download PDF version.

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