Media comforts and international student mobility: managing hopes, host and home

Tessa Dwyer, Akane Kanai, Jasmin Pfefferkorn, Jiali Fan, Alex Lambert

Research output: Contribution to journalArticleResearchpeer-review


This paper underlines the importance of emotional and physical anchoring within international student experiences of dislocation, migration and place, noting the complex role of various media in situating students as at ‘home’ and/or ‘here’. Growth in the transnational mobility of international students is transforming infrastructures across ‘host countries’ globally. Yet, in these significant transformations, we are yet to fully understand how international students negotiate a sense of place and ontological security (Giddens 1991). Based on a qualitative study involving over 270 students at a large public university in Australia, this paper examines the everyday practices and negotiation of ‘feeling rules’ (Hochschild 1983) of mainly Chinese international students around the rhythms and connections of digital and legacy media. Our findings suggest international students navigate a central structural tension: seeking out affective security and insulation from the risks of mobility, while continually being encouraged to push beyond their comfort zone.

Original languageEnglish
Pages (from-to)406-422
Number of pages17
JournalJournal of Intercultural Studies
Issue number4
Publication statusPublished - 1 Jul 2021


  • Australia
  • comfort zone
  • International students
  • migration
  • mobility
  • screen media
  • social media

Cite this