Home sweet home, where art thou?

With my research project exploring young Canadians’ sense of citizenship, identity and home in the context of international student mobilities, it was inevitable that my return to Canada during the holidays would cause me to reflect on my own sense of home.

Parliament in Ottawa

I’ve come to realize through my experiences as an international student (both current and past) that my idea of home has become ever more complex and ambiguous. When I’m in London I refer to Ottawa as ‘home’, and when I’m in Ottawa I refer to London as home. Do I then consider having two homes? Is my reference to ‘home’ in this case just a descriptive term to refer to different physical locations of residence or is it a symbolic emotional attachment to place?


As I write this post, the song ‘Home’ by Phillip Phillips is appropriately playing on the radio. What is ‘home’? What constitutes home for people? A house, a place, symbolic material objects, family, social networks? What about the role of time? How does time influence our idea of home? These are just some of the broader questions I’m exploring in my study.

One thing is certain, ‘home’ is a complex and often ambiguous concept, one that I hope my study will help shed some light on.