Loyal Tongue, Liberal Mind: International Students’ Experiences on Dietary Acculturation in England


  • Novella O’Sullivan Liverpool Hope University
  • Farzad Amirabdollahian Liverpool Hope University




acculturation, diet, eating habit, food choice, foreign student, phenomenology


This study explores the dietary experiences of international students in a British university, and how these phenomena differ from what they experienced in their home country. Ten participants were recruited using purposive sampling. The inclusion criteria were international students who had lived in England for less than a year; those with diet-related health problems were excluded. Data were collected using semi-structured interviews and analyzed with Colaizzi’s method. This resulted in three main themes: changes in diet, new dietary experiences, and factors affecting dietary practices. Our findings also offer new insight about what international students might encounter relating to food and diet when studying abroad.

Author Biographies

Novella O’Sullivan, Liverpool Hope University

NOVELLA O’SULLIVAN, MD, MSc, MA is an alumnus of Liverpool Hope University. She was a guest lecturer in Nutrition and research assistant in Education. Her current interest revolves around the many aspects of internationalization in higher education. 

Farzad Amirabdollahian, Liverpool Hope University

FARZAD AMIRABDOLLAHIAN, BSc, PGCHE, PhD, FRSPH, FHEA, RNutr, is a Principal Lecturer and Subject Leader for Nutrition, teaching many aspects of the undergraduate curriculum and postgraduate research. He is an expert in zinc with his research into ‘zinc adequacy of the UK population’. His other research interests are the ‘dietary habits and health status of university students’ and ‘the assessment of energy expenditure’. He has a wide range of teaching experience, has published widely and is a Fellow of the Royal Society for Public Health, a Fellow of the Higher Education Academy and a Registered Nutritionist. 




How to Cite

O’Sullivan, N., & Amirabdollahian, F. (2016). Loyal Tongue, Liberal Mind: International Students’ Experiences on Dietary Acculturation in England. Journal of International Students, 6(1), 107–127. https://doi.org/10.32674/jis.v6i1.484



Research Articles (English)