Bernadette Samau and Iemaima Gabriel, National University of Sāmoa.
Consumers own possessions for the value and meaning they provide and many studies have predominantly focused on privately owned possessions (Ahuvia 2005; Dittmar 1994; Mehta and Belk 1991; Tian and Belk 2005). In the context of studying in a new country, this paper extends current research on possessions by arguing that favourite possessions that help students settle into a new environment are privately owned and not owned. Through convenience sampling, primary data was collected via in‐depth interviews from eleven regional and international students studying at the Australian Pacific Technical College (APTC) and the National University ofSāmoa (NUS). Content Analysis was used to analyse the transcripts and the identified themes are verified against Bih’s (1992) seven meaning structure of objects. Findings from this study indicate (1) the meaning and value of privately owned possessions helped students to settle in a new environment, (2) the
meaning and value of places and people in Sāmoa also helped students settle and deal with culture shock and/or homesickness and (3) people and places are perceived as special and meaningful possessions in environmental transitions.
Keywords: possessions, meaning, value, transitional environments, students, Sāmoa.