Journal of College & University Student Housing Vol. 47 No. 2 - 22

Nike indicated confusion at why there are
so many different types of foods and meals
available in the dining hall, saying how different that is from his home country. Ricky
noted the same, stating that some options
he would " not even pick up " because he did
not " know what it is . . . it was hard for me
to try new things out " when he first arrived
on campus, showing how overwhelming
dining hall options can be for students from
outside the U.S.
	
Johny noted what he thought of as the
greatest difference between what he experienced in the dining halls and in his home
country: the abundance of food he saw there
each day. " The number one problem . . . students face in [my home country] is a shortage
of food and [its quality]. . . . But here there
is a lot and you can eat whatever you want. "
Johny's discussion of how much food is offered in on-campus dining locations shows
just how different the circumstances are for
some international students in transitioning
to American campus life. It can be a major adjustment for students coming from countries
that are more judicious about food portions
to come to a place where the amount of food
available seems endless. Even something as
familiar to participants as pizza indicates
a transition, as Esther noted. When asked
if she ate pizza back at home, she said yes,
but only " sometimes, like when I succeed in
a class. Pizza was my gift, " noting that now
she sees it served in the dining hall regularly.
These participants described how not only is
the type of food an adjustment for them but
also how it is served (often buffet-style) and
how much is served.

Influence of Campus Dining
on Living Location
All participants in our study were first-year
students and were required to live on campus and have a meal plan. With the freedom
to decide for themselves where they wanted
to live the following year, several described
how the food served on campus would influence their decision. Jan Are indicated that he
was considering moving to a different residence hall during his second year because
the dining hall nearby had the best food
and he wanted to be closer to it. " I've tried,
I think, all the dining halls and I would say
[this one] has the best food. " Johny stated that
even if his scholarship did not cover the cost
of on-campus housing, he would still choose
to live on campus because " I could eat anytime. [The dining halls] are just near. I don't
have to cook breakfast, lunch, or dinner. . . .
Anytime I feel like I want to go eat, I just go. "
Both convenience and the quality of food
served were factors in Jan Are and Johny's
decisions to live in different residence halls
but stay on campus the following year.
	
Abi and Pinky moved to a different residence hall in their second year in order to be
able to cook for themselves. Abi shared that
" the main reason for living in [this residence
hall] is we could cook our own food. " Similarly, Pinky chose an apartment-style residence
hall to live in during her second year, along
with two roommates from her home country,
and they " cook food for [them]selves, " citing
that as the " first reason " she chose to live
in that hall. Abi and Pinky did not want to
eat the food served on campus due to their
perception of its poor quality. In choosing

. . . international students reported an overall decrease in health
status after arriving in the United States, which was attributed
to decreased consumption of water, fruit, and vegetables combined
with an increased intake of sugar and fast food.
Volume 47, No. 2 * 2021

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

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