Exploring the Role of Leisure in Immigrant Students‘ Lived and Embodied Experiences of Identity, Community, and Belonging within Halifax, Nova Scotia


  • Giana C.L. Tomas Dalhousie University




The Canadian government employs robust efforts to promote and prioritize immigration, as immigration significantly contributes to Canadian economy, population, and culture. As Canada continues to grow as a culturally and racially diverse society, it is necessary to explore and understand immigrants‘ lived and embodied experiences within community, their sense of identity, and feelings of belonging, as these phenomena can shape health and well-being. Leisure activities or experiences are understood to cultivate and promote self-expression, socialization, and wellness amidst and despite challenges related to resettlement as experienced by immigrants. While there is enough literature about adult immigrants‘ settlement experiences and the impacts of such experiences on physical, social, emotional, and mental health and well-being, immigrants attending post-secondary institutions are understudied, particularly in Atlantic Canada. Further, the role of leisure in cultivating a sense of identity and belonging is underdeveloped within these contexts. This proposed qualitative study attends to these gaps by exploring the role of leisure in the lived and embodied experiences of identity, community, and belonging as experienced by immigrants attending post-secondary institutions in Halifax, Nova Scotia, Canada. Guided by Merleau-Ponty‘s principles of embodiment and a transformative paradigm, this proposed study employs collage-making, a creative, participatory method to engage participants and understand their experiences, amplify their voices, and potentially enrich their lives and well-being. Findings of this proposed study can inform policy and practice within post-secondary institutions, settlement services, and community centres, and can deepen our understanding of leisure‘s potential to contribute to immigrants‘ identity, belonging, and well-being.

Author Biography

Giana C.L. Tomas, Dalhousie University

Giana is a second year Master's student Leisure Studies at the School of Health and Human Performance at Dalhousie University, Halifax, Nova Scotia, Canada


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