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Designing the melting pot: Physical attributes of the intercultural campus

Laura Sapiega Trujillo, Lisa Kinch Waxman


American universities are becoming increasingly diverse.  Current university internationalization programs assist in the adjustment of international students.  However, meaningful intercultural connection often occurs on an interpersonal level, not an institutional one. To understand how campus places may support intercultural connections among diverse students, the researcher conducted a survey, observations, and interviews with domestic and international students. These methods evaluated the physical attributes of students’ favorite campus places and revealed students’ perceptions of attachment and intercultural connection they experienced inside. Students experienced positive intercultural connections in campus places that allowed them to interact and relax with each other.  Centrally located places with recognizable features, private/open areas, consistent ambient conditions, and access to comfortable furniture, refreshments, and technology were preferred. These findings may inform the design of future campus places so that they support the needs of a future global workforce and build connections among empathetic citizens of the world.    


Interior design, culture, place attachment, intercultural, higher education, architecture, built environment, internationalization

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