Transient homes: A visual material perspective of international students in the city

Catherine Gomes1, Edgar Gómez Cruz2

1 RMIT University, 123 LaTrobe Street, Vic, 3000,
2 RMIT University, 123 LaTrobe Street, Vic, 3000,

Melbourne is an international student city with large parts of the Central Business District host apartment blocks catering almost exclusively to international students.  The Melbourne CBD is an ideal location for international student accommodation, primarily because the area is home to the main campuses of three major Australian universities as well as a host of state colleges and private education providers.  Accommodation for international students, in other words, is a vital service Melbourne provides and becomes the ‘home away from home’ for them.  What spaces and material possessions are significant and insignificant to international students who live in the heart of Melbourne’s CBD? Based on a pilot project conducted where we asked 10 international students living in the Melbourne CBD to photograph their surroundings, this e-poster is a visual presentation of what international students both value and dislike about where they live and what they live with. By giving a voice to international students through visual expression, this e-poster allows us to understand not only how international students make a home away from home for themselves in Melbourne city but also to inform international student services of the future of (accommodation) needs for international students.


Catherine Gomes is a Senior Lecturer in the School of Media and Communication where she teaches Asian Studies.  She is leader of the Migration and Digital Media Research Lab.  Catherine was also an Australian Research Council DECRA Fellow (2013-2016) and a Visiting Research Fellow at the Singapore Management University.  Catherine has worked extensively on the themes of of identity, migration, ethnicity, memory, multiculturalism and transnationalism in Australia and Singapore as well as on the information-seeking behaviour of international students in Australia.


The Australian and New Zealand Student Services Association Inc. (ANZSSA) is a professional association for people with an interest in the role of support services in post secondary education.

For more information, please visit ANZSSA website by


ISANA International Education Association is the representative body for professionals in Australia and New Zealand who work in international student services, advocacy, teaching and policy development in international education.

For more information, please visit the ISANA website at

Conference Managers

Please contact the team at Conference Design with any questions regarding the conference.