Journal of College & University Student Housing Vol. 47 No. 2 - 17

It Just Doesn't Taste the Same

Oman (0.70%), Vietnam (0.53%), and Brazil (0.44%). In addition to the demographic factors, GPU makes an interesting case
study because all international students are
required to attend a three-day orientation
offered by the Office of New Student Enrollment separate from the rest of the first-year
incoming class. However, the housing and
dining services departments at GPU offer
little to no publicly available documents
regarding international students and their
food requirements. Information on their
website caters to incoming international
students primarily by addressing topics relevant to their transition, such as getting to
campus, where to eat, how to use campus
Wi-Fi, and information on staff available for
support. In fact, most of the material provided by GPU involves logistics related to transitioning to their campus and city.
	
GPU dining services made brief mention
of cultural foods and/or ways for international students to connect with the campus.
While dining locations at GPU listed all ingredients and nutritional information, the cuisine choices for international students were
rarely shared or highlighted on daily menus
or offered as an option within meal plans.

Participant Sampling and Data Collection
We employed purposeful sampling to gain
insights on first-year international students'
perceptions of housing and dining at a Predominantly White Institution. These provided the basis for information-rich cases
(Merriam & Tisdell, 2016). We sent all firstyear international students at GPU a solicitation email asking for their participation
in the study. A total of 19 participants were
interviewed, with 6 self-identifying as female
or women and 13 self-identifying as male
or men. Eight countries were represented
among the participants, with approximately
14

The Journal of College and University Student Housing

half the sample originating from the same
Central African country. The participants'
home countries were categorized into five
regions: Central Africa (10), South Asia (4),
East Asia (2), South America (2), and North
America (1). Participants' ages ranged from
18 to 25 years old (see Table 1).
	
The primary data collection process
included conducting three 60-minute
semi-structured interviews in English that
focused on exploring participants' first
three semesters on campus. The interviews
allowed the research team to understand
" the lived experience of other people and
the meaning they make of that experience "
(Seidman, 2006, p. 9). We conducted
the first round of interviews between late
September and mid-October of 2017. A total
of 19 undergraduate first-year international
students completed the first round of interviews and described their transition to the
institution and their experience living on
campus. The second round of interviews
took place between mid-February and early
March of 2018, with 15 returning participants who were asked to reflect on their first
semester of college. During the second interview, we asked participants to share specifics
about what they enjoyed and disliked about
living on campus. We also asked explicitly
about their experiences with GPU food and
housing services. Finally, the third round
of interviews took place in September 2018
and included 12 returning participants, who
responded to questions about their overall
reflections of the first year of college. Each
participant received a $10 Amazon gift card
after each interview. Throughout the three
interviews, participants shared a wealth of
knowledge regarding dining and food. Additionally, we collected and analyzed housing
documents related to international students
in order to better understand the institutional context (Bowen, 2009).



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