The unintended segregation of transnational students in central Melbourne
Links between the rapid growth of tertiary students resident in a city and that city’s gentrification have recently been proposed in a UK-based literature about ‘studentification’. These analyses frame student subjectivity, identity, and experience in particular ways—students are agents of urban change, propelling shifts in neighbourhood housing and entertainment submarkets in a manner that local host communities often resent. Consideration of the experiences of the students themselves, through the effects of the host society and the city on them, is less common. Based on research conducted in Melbourne, we focus on transnational students, who are seen as consumers for a major export industry. We use the voices of transnational students recently arrived in the city to make the claim that an unintended sociospatial segregation of these students is occurring, largely driven by institutional practices. Students’ agency is fundamentally affected by their institutional context, which determines the conditions of their entry to Australia and to university there, their housing, and, to a remarkable degree, their opportunities for social interaction.
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