At home in the city: everyday practices and distinction in international student mobility

Laura Prazeres

Research output: Contribution to journalArticlepeer-review

26 Citations (Scopus)


International students have been overlooked in geographies of ‘home’, yet this paper demonstrates how international student mobility offers unique insights that can advance our understanding of ‘home’ and belonging in the city. Drawing on photo-elicitation and mid-point and return interviews with Canadian students, this paper explores the everyday home-making practices of exchange students in urban centres in the Global South. It focuses on the ways in which international students create a sense of ‘home’ and belonging in their host city and how insider knowledge gained through local everyday practices is converted into cultural capital. It contributes to the literature by considering how home-making practices are implicated in spatial and scalar boundary-making processes for distinction. By illustrating through participants’ photographs how students articulate ‘home’ using spatial and scalar markers, I examine how students tighten the spatial boundaries of ‘home’ to focalise and localise symbolic capital within the city. The findings further add to debates on immobility by demonstrating that students’ distinguish their relative immobility during the sojourn from the mobility of travellers and tourists to legitimise claims of belonging as ‘insiders’ and of place-specific capital. The paper then concludes by considering how students are ‘collecting homes’ for distinction.
Original languageEnglish
Pages (from-to)914-934
JournalSocial and Cultural Geography
Issue number7
Early online date10 May 2017
Publication statusPublished - 2018


  • International student mobility
  • Home
  • Belonging
  • Cultural capital
  • Everyday practices
  • Distinction


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