The Impact on Food Habits for International Students Studying In Australia

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According to Loomes & Croft (2013, p. 486), the increase in number of students from foreign countries in Australia has elicited the need for proper dietary need evaluation for this group. Australian cultural practices and dietary habits are being modified gradually by the growing number of foreigners in the country. The author indicates that international students who come in Australia seeking education bring with them new cultural trends which contribute in diversifying the culture of Australians. Perez-Cueto et al (2009) highlights that food is the most common challenge experienced by international students who visit foreign countries for the first time. Most of them experience difficulties in coping with the dietary styles of Australia. Loomes & Croft (2013, p. 489) indicates that there is no special program that keep an eye on  new international students to make sure that that they adapt to the Australian cultural system fast enough. Entrepreneurs have however established food cafes that provide distinct dishes that are coined to food cultural background of some of the foreign students.  Contemporary research has revealed that many foreign students are forced to adapt to the Australian food in the long run due to lack of alternative.

Research indicates that eating habits are correlated to an individual’s culture as well as the social cultural environment. The length of time one stays in a specific social setting determines the change in his or her eating habits. Eating habits can be explained as the quantity of food consumed, the type of food consumed, amount and the style of eating (Riddell (2011, p. 728).  Wandel (2008, p. 381) indicates that social structures such as schools contributes to modifying the food habits of people. The majority people holding a particular culture influence the cultural practice of the surrounding people. Loomes & Croft (2013, p. 491), international students studying in Australia are forced to adapt to the food habits of Australian students since they are the majority.  According to Pereira, Larder & Somerset (2010, p. 939), the approximate time for acculturation is twelve months. The author indicates that African refugees in Australia spent close to twelve month to become accustomed to the Australian food styles. Consumption of foreign food is observed to be as a result of hunger rather than observing a healthy diet.  Edwards, Hartwell & Brown (2010, p. 306) however indicates that foreigners whom food habits are close to the ones observed in the host country find it easy to adjust.

Recent studies indicate that new foreign students in Australia are straining to adjust with the food habits in the country. Change in food culture is one of the challenges faced by these students. Although it may seem simple, adapting to new food culture may have psychological effect on a person. New foreign students in Australia often suffer from social isolation as they are subjected to a set of new culture and people and especially food habits. This mostly leads to depression and loneliness. In a study conducted in Australian institutions of higher learning, more that 70 percent foreign students admitted to have experienced moments of loneliness and depression before adapting to the Australian social trends (Edwards, Hartwell & Brown, 2010, p. 309). According to Kremmyda (2008, p. 461), an individual’s ability to socialize fast with others determines the length of time taken before acculturation. Some students from foreign countries are very social and are able to build up relationships with native students fast enough. This enables to learn many things about their cultural practices inclusive of food habits and ease their acclimatization process.


Author Date Methodology Key findings Implications Relevance/significance
Edwards, J. S. A., Hartwell, H. L., & Brown, L. 2010 Research Acculturation process for international students is slow Dietary behavior of students is affected in foreign countries It provides an analysis on how food culture of foreign students is modified in foreign countries
Loomes, S., & Croft, A. 2013 Research International students from different countries have different food habits The process of adapting to new food styles depends on country of origin It gives a general view of student’s individual food habits
Perez-Cueto, F., Verbeke, W., Lachat, C., & Remaut-De Winter, A. M. 2009 Case Study Dietary habits for international students change while in foreign countries The length of time one stays in the foreign country influences change of food culture International students go through a rough time before adapting to new food habits
Pereira, C. A., Larder, N., & Somerset, S 2010 Survey Origin of a person determines the food habits It takes a pretty long period for a person to adapt to new food culture The time length is crucial in adapting to new food culture
Riddell, L 2011 Survey Nationality differences affects the choice of foods Food habits are dependent on ones nationality Analysis of nationality perception on food choices
Kremmyda, L 2008 Interview Food choices by international students determine their diet The choice of diet varies among students Enhances knowledge on the available types of diets for students
Wandel, M 2008 Survey High cost of food adjustment Cost of food determines what to be consumed Students need good financing for healthy diets

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