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Food acculturation of new international students in the UK.

Mustafa, Eshaby (2016) Food acculturation of new international students in the UK. Doctoral thesis, University of Surrey.

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The gradually increasing numbers of international students known as “sojourners” who stayed for a short period in the host country have received growing interest from academics, practitioners, and policymaker around the world. This was majorly due to the contribution from international students’ fees and spending, and from the unique and subsequent changes in the culture and practice of this student group. However, for the international students, migration became a turning point for their independent life in the new country. The experience was more challenging because it required a personal commitment especially on food provisioning responsibilities and the development of a new food choice system alongside the stressful academic roles and responsibilities. Therefore, the context of international students’ food adjustment experience or food acculturation received dedicated attention through this study. Furthermore, this study aimed to explore the food acculturation process of new international students during the early phase of transition in the UK based on the life course perspective. The life course perspective takes into consideration the transition phase which is a very important turning point that influenced the food acculturation of the international students. Three objectives has been established for this study to explore the exposure, experience, and perception of new food choice in the UK; to identify the influences of life course perspective over food choice decision; and to examine the food acculturation process when adjusting and managing food provisioning practice at the early stage of transition. Based on an interpretivist view, a series of qualitative approach was employed during the preliminary study and main data collection. The purpose was to allow access to the lived experiences of the students’ new food choice process. The preliminary study adopted was focus group discussions using a sample of ten existing international students and the study was conducted from December 2012 until January 2013. The themes developed from the preliminary findings and the key issues generated from relevant literature were applied to develop the observation and interview protocol for the main study. Next, two qualitative inquiries of observed accompanied shop and in-depth interviews were applied for the main study using a sample of twenty new international students who just recently arrived at the UK. The main data collection began in October 2013 when the students first arrived and ended early of March 2014. The timeline allowed the occurrence of more food exposure and experience of new food choice, allowing patterns and changes of food acculturation to emerge over time. The major themes identified from the preliminary study were the influence of life course perspective influences of new food choice, the food adjustment experiences, challenges and strategy, and food acculturation process during transition. The main findings concluded three main themes from the observed accompanied shop and in-depth interviews in accordance to this study’s objectives: (1) the exposure, experience and perception on the new food choice in the UK, (2) the Life Course influences on food choice decisions, and (3) the food acculturation process of international students. The main findings showed that (1) migration was a turning point, which contributed towards the diverse representations of the international students’ exposure, experience, and perception of new food choice; (2) the reliance and support system of the new food choice decision from co-national friends and online friendship network; (3) the diverse challenges in managing new roles and responsibilities of food provisioning practice, including grocery shopping, food preparation and cooking, and consumption practices, (4) the importance of self-efficacy and acquiring of food provisioning skills and competencies for a positive food adjustment experience, (5) the influence of Life Course elements of personal and social factors, cultural ideals, resources, and current context and trends in the in the food choice decision process, (6) the transformation of food choice process, which implicated a food acculturation process that includes integration, assimilation, separation, marginalisation, and a repertoire of strategies based on situational factors. The key findings indicated that the adjustment experience in the early phase of transition greatly influenced the food choice decisions of the new international students. The main contribution of this study relies on the application of the life course Perspective in the study of food acculturation because of the consideration of migration as a turning point in the transition of food choices. In contrast to other studies on international students’ food choice and dietary acculturation, this study provides a valuable lens that includes the food choice process at the point of grocery shopping, preparation and consumption, which gave a wider context on the stages in food decision-making process. This study contributes towards the body of knowledge on international students’ adjustment studies, the Life Course experience influence on food choice, and the food acculturation field. The results from this study can provide a better understanding on new food choice decision among the international students during their transition in the new country. Universities and other stakeholders such as local authorities and the public health provider may use these findings to support and develop strategies to improve the adjustment experience, which in turn, may attract more international students. Food providers such as restaurants, food manufacturers, food suppliers, retailers and specialty (ethnic) supermarkets can also benefit by understanding the challenges in food choice, accessibility to available food towards improving, strategising and incorporating plans that are personalised to the international students’ needs.

Item Type: Thesis (Doctoral)
Subjects : food acculturation, food choice, international students, life course perspective
Divisions : Theses
Authors :
Date : 31 October 2016
Funders : Ministry of Education, Malaysia
Contributors :
Depositing User : Eshaby Mustafa
Date Deposited : 03 Nov 2016 08:29
Last Modified : 09 Nov 2018 16:40

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