EXPERIENCING ‘HOME’ IN THE CITY, UNIVERSITY, AND DWELLING: EVERYDAY GEOGRAPHIES OF INDIAN STUDENTS IN LONDON AND TORONTO.
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The global mobility of international students has a distinct geography. For international students, moving from their 'home' countries to a new country entails significant changes in their everyday lives. Moving across continents and temporarily or permanently settling in a 'foreign' land are the stepping stones to an intensely mobile existence. They maintain transnational connections with their 'home' country, and move across and between different social spaces locally, primarily with the help of friendship networks. Framing the research around theoretical underpinnings of migration, transnationalism, and (im)mobilities in the context of 'home' for Indian students in London and Toronto, the research involved 72 semi-structured, in-depth interviews with 36 students, together with self-directed photography of their everyday life and solicited week-long diaries. The research has two main aims. The first is to explore the emotional, material, sensorial, and embodied nature of 'home' and their spatialities in three different spaces: the city, university, and dwelling. Second, the research aims to unearth the multi-layered nature of their socio-spatial identities through their everyday spatialities. The main findings re-instated the importance of place as experiences of the students in the spaces of the city, university, and dwelling varied (and were also similar) in London and Toronto. Also, apart from diverse sociocultural backgrounds of the Indian students, there were characteristic differences in the motivations for migration. This also pointed towards the significance of place, with London and Toronto attracting two different kinds of Indian students. Most importantly, ‘home’ was understood as processual, and simultaneously mobile, and emplaced.
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