A taste of the unfamiliar: understanding the meanings attached to food by international postgraduate students in England.

Brown, L., Edwards, J. and Hartwell, H., 2010. A taste of the unfamiliar: understanding the meanings attached to food by international postgraduate students in England. Appetite, 54 (1), pp. 202-207.

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DOI: 10.1016/j.appet.2009.11.001

Abstract

Using findings from semi-structured interviews with international postgraduate students in England, this paper explores the meanings attached to the food they eat in a new culture. Our study, using interviews, aimed to uncover student responses to both the food they eat whilst abroad and to the food they have left behind. Many students criticised local English food as bland, fattening, and unhealthy; nevertheless, most showed an openness to new foods, trying not only local food but also dishes prepared by their international friends, but this sat alongside a strong attachment to their home country dishes. Eating together was a popular leisure activity, and food of the origin country or region was the most popular cuisine. Eating home country food offered emotional and physical sustenance; students felt comforted by familiar taste, and that their physical health was stabilised by the consumption of healthier food than was available locally. Despite acknowledgement of the importance of food to cultural identity and overall quality of life in the anthropology and nutrition literatures, there is a dearth of research into this aspect of the international student experience; this study, therefore, marks an important beginning.

Item Type:Article
ISSN:0195-6663
Uncontrolled Keywords:Food; Transition; International students; Culture shock; Taste; Comfort; Togetherness
Subjects:Social Sciences > Education
Group:School of Tourism
ID Code:12869
Deposited By:Lorraine Brown
Deposited On:02 Feb 2010 20:08
Last Modified:07 Mar 2013 15:20

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