Instructor: Dr. Bonnie and Dr. Hsieh
Attitudes of International Students toward University Dining Services
Introduction and purpose
Developments in transportation technology ultimately broke cultural barriers that existed between different countries. As a result, it is more possible to enjoy and experience another nation’s culture today. Through the international food market, people from different countries have been exposed to different foods. Consumers of today have access to many types of foods introduced by migration, internet usage, food-related TV channels and magazines (Lan, 2010). Some British people now eat curry as their favorite food and American people eat sushi or spicy food as their favorite food (Lan, 2010). The relationship between food and culture has become important for the field of tourism industry. Research shows that food taste preferences of tourists are strongly influenced by their unique cultures (Peri, 2006). Many people prefer to eat food from their own culture. In other words, they like to eat food that they are more familiar with than they have never tried. Some people never want to taste few foods unless the items are at least ever heard before (Cox & Evans, 2008). The Japanese enjoy eating raw horse meats because their culture has thought that raw meat is better for the health (Peri, 2006). Recently, Korea, as a nation, has been interested in its own culture and has been making a lot of effort to discover dishes that best represent Korea as a whole. Kim-chi is one of Korean representative food products widely contributed to the world and it tastes very spicy. Koreans generally enjoy eating spicy cooked meats and side dishes like Kim-chi, but few Americans would want to taste them. Through the developing TV documentaries and cooking show programs, many countries have begun to take pride in their food and culture. Nowadays, the number of foreign students studying in higher education institutions, including colleges and universities, in the United States has dramatically increased in recent years. The Open Doors Report on International Educational Exchange, an Institute of International Education (ILE) in New York, said that international student enrollment in U.S. colleges and universities during 2009/2010 academic years, including top three sending countries, Korea, China, and India, increased by three percent to approximate seven hundred thousand in comparison to two percent increase during 2008/2009 academic years (“Institute of International Education,” 2010). Plus, the United States will continue to bring in more international students than any other countries in the world. Even though time constraints, low availability, and the high cost of ethnic cooking are barriers, many international students maintained cultural traditions through food shopping and consumption in both supermarkets and ethnic stores (Hamlett, Bailey, Alexander & Shaw, 2008). Traditional food is considered to contain ethnic or cultural group flavors with distinctive ingredients. As people in the world get more exposed to ethnic foods with advance of globalization, much attention has been paid to ethnic cuisine as well. The ethnic cuisine is a common tradition and culture shared among the ethnic group members. Ethnic groups share a common origin and exhibit a history and a future as a people. The U.S. ethnic food market was generated about $75 billion in annual sales (Geisler, 2007). This means that people in the United States spend at least one dollar out of seven dollars for ethnic foods on groceries. According to the experience from Michael Elliott, international director in international program center, at the University of North Carolina at Greensboro (UNCG), lots of freshman from US gain weight due to the stress under studies and new life independent from their parents and maybe influence from peers. Some of international students, however, have seen very little food that they are...