Diasporic Constructions of Home and Belonging pages:279-295
What would it mean for people living abroad to literally find a new “home away from home,” that is to say to share the same house or space with other expats, be it of their own nationality or a different one? To answer that question, this chapter looks at two experiments, International House New York and the Cité Universitaire in Paris in which expats live under the same roof, thus creating a new home abroad. Though inspired by the same internationalist spirit of fostering understanding between nations, they each choose to host foreign students rather differently. In New York, hundreds of students from all over the world live under the same roof, whereas in Paris thousands of students from all nations live in the same park but each in their own national house. This chapter suggests that these experiments reflect different forms of internationalism, cosmopolitan internationalism (in New York) and diasporic internationalism (in Paris). It focuses on the differences between these two models by using archival documents that reveal how Americans looked at the Parisian experiment and tried to make it more cosmopolitan. It shows that exporting American ideas of how people from different nations should live together proved harder than expected.