Transcultural Lives of Myanmar Migrant Youths in Thailand: Language Acquisition, Self-perceived Integration, and Sense of Belonging

Gunnar Stange, Kwanchit Sasiwongsaroj

Publications: Contribution to journalArticlePeer Reviewed

Abstract

Globalisation and international mobility have led people to settle in vastly different cultural contexts. Transnationally situated migrant families are becoming a more regular feature of children’s and youths’ lives in today’s world. Thailand, one of four major economies in Southeast Asia, hosts over half of the region’s migrant workers. In 2018, there were three million migrants living in Thailand and an estimated 300,000 to 400,000 of those were children and youths. It has been noted that migration experiences constitute substantial interferences in chil-dren’s and youths’ development and well-being, given the environmental and cultural changes they are exposed to. However, despite this trend, very few studies focus on the children of migrant workers. Language and language acquisition are central issues in debates about transculturation, cultural identity in transnational migration, as well as integration in host countries. Based on qualitative research with Myanmar migrant workers’ children, aged between 12 and 18, in two Migrant Learning Centres (MLCs) in Ranong province in southern Thailand, this study con-tributes to current debates on transnational family migration by arguing for the centrality of language acquisition in the everyday lives of young migrants and their self-perceived integration into the host society.

Original languageEnglish
Pages (from-to)185-200
Number of pages16
JournalInternational Quarterly for Asian Studies
Volume51
Issue number3-4
DOIs
Publication statusPublished - 23 Nov 2020

Austrian Fields of Science 2012

  • 507002 Population geography

Keywords

  • children of migrant workers
  • integration
  • language acquisition
  • migration
  • sense of belonging
  • Thailand

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