An exploration of study spaces among Chinese and Indian graduate students
Over the last 40 years, many environmental design researchers have examined the environment’s impact on people and have sought answers to questions such as how personal feelings affect satisfaction with an environment and how people become attached to a place and develop feelings about it in the first place. Research in place attachment has primarily focused on the social aspect, leaving a gap in the literature related to concepts of the built environment. The present study seeks to fill the gap in the literature by addressing the issue of physical place attachment among specific groups of international graduate students at Texas Tech University, a large public university in West Texas. Previous studies focused on generic and largescale place concepts such as the physical neighborhood ambiance. This study, by contrast, examines how international students from China and India choose and develop attachment to study spaces around the university. A grounded qualitative research design was selected as the exploratory method of studying how international graduate students select, interact with, and create attachment to preferred study places on and off campus. The researcher conducted semi- structured individual and focus group interviews with a purposive sample of 50 Indian and Chinese participants. The results revealed some similarities and differences between Indian and Chinese graduate students in their most and least-preferred physical design and ideal study places. Both groups preferred quietness and natural light. However, Chinese graduate students preferred to study alone, while Indian graduate students felt motivated and supported when studying with others.