Journal of College & University Student Housing Vol. 47 No. 2 - 14

" It Just Doesn't Taste the Same " :
International Students' Perceptions
of On-Campus Food and Dining
MEETING THE FOOD REQUIREMENTS OF INTERNATIONAL STUDENTS

is one of the many responsibilities of campus dining services that can, if fulfilled well,
contribute to the success and retention of these students. Colleges and universities
are continuing to diversify their enrollment with the recruitment of international
students. Because many of these institutions require first-year students to live on
campus, most international students live in residence halls and must purchase
meal plans at some point during their collegiate career. The findings of this paper
illuminate the food-related experiences of international students living on campus
in their first year. Food quality, cultural differences, and the impact on future living
decisions are discussed.

R

esidence life and dining departments
at higher education institutions provide many essential services, such as
lodging, engagement, social and academic support, and quality food and meals, to
on-campus residents. Because most colleges
and universities require first-year students
to live on campus, they also try to provide
robust campus dining halls and other food
locations to meet the dietary needs and preferences of students in residence. Options
may include buffet-style dining halls, graband-go convenience stores, and chain restaurants contracted with national vendors. All of
these offerings help meet the food needs of
students living on campus.
	
Though student experiences in on-campus dining services vary due to differences
in food service providers and dining options,

meeting their food needs is essential because
" colleges are often embattled in their quest
to retain students " (Andaleeb & Caskey,
2007, p. 52). Food quality is of high importance to student satisfaction, as are factors
such as staff behavior, price, and cleanliness
(Andaleeb & Caskey, 2007; Wooten et al.,
2018). In general, positive dining experiences can contribute to students' overall satisfaction with their institution and are especially
related to greater feelings of community and
sense of belonging (Gramling et al., 2005).
	
Dining services is an important aspect of
residential campus life as it affects the overall experiences of residents and also helps to
recruit new students (Gramling et al., 2005),
including international students, many of
whom are required to live on campus and
purchase meal plans due to institutional

Volume 47, No. 2 * 2021

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Journal of College & University Student Housing Vol. 47 No. 2

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