Date of Award

Spring 2023

Degree Type


Director of Thesis

Dr. Ken C. Erickson

First Reader

Dr. Catherine Keyser


This research demonstrates different ways an individual’s habits around food change when exposed to new environments. It uses a combination of first-person sources and existing literature to draw conclusions surrounding the patterns of change in food preparation and consumption. A series of interviews were conducted and recorded to collect the information used in the thesis. The interview participants were college-aged students who had spent 6 < months in a foreign country. Most were participants of the IBEA cohort of South Carolina, a program where students around the world came together as a group to study at multiple universities over two years. Interviews were based on an interview guide that was refined throughout the process. There were a total of 33 interviews, with participants hailing from six different countries. The results of the interviews demonstrated that individuals exhibited varying types of behavior based on their own viewpoints towards cooking and meals, as well as the environment they were exposed to during meal preparation. This information was used to create a matrix to classify individuals based on their inspirations in cooking, and their use of home habits. The results lead to an additional category of “Unconscious Preparation” being proposed to the existing subcategories of food preparation. Further analysis of the data collected is also encouraged. This research adds depth to the present literature since it deals with individuals who are in foreign environments for the short-term, before moving away. Current literature mainly focuses on immigrants who move away from their homeland permanently (Brown and Mussell, 1984; Goode, Theophano and Curtis, 1984; Kalčik, 1984; Singer, 1984). It adds a new consideration to how we approach mealtimes when we are in a foreign environment and helps define different approaches that people may take when preparing food away from where they grew up. These findings could be used for other students studying abroad to better determine how their mealtime habits may change. There is also literature in Gottlieb and Rossi (1961), which describes similar effects in the military, whose style of travel and living is similar to that of an international student, meaning the results could also be interesting to the government when trying to plan for meals served to active-duty personnel abroad.

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