In the few days before 2012 ends and 2013 begins, we’ll be looking back at some of our top posts from the past year, starting with number five and counting down to number one. If you missed these articles the first time around, now’s your time to see why we’ve found these particular pieces so compelling.
Why do International Students Crave Food From Home?
Contributions from Mohammed al-Suraih, Sebastian Sanchez, Javaria Khan
A common complaint among international students is how much they miss their native cuisine, so it’s no surprise that one of our most popular posts of 2012 was one examining just what it is about food that makes it so important to international students.
We learned that food interacts with your brain in some unique ways. Not only do you start forming your food preferences before you’re even born, so that by the time you study abroad some of your tastes for native food are pretty deeply engrained, but food is also deeply tied to memory, so nostalgia and food cravings become intertwined.
But one of the most interesting things we learned about food is that what you eat is part of who you are; food and identity are linked together.
In fact, one reason why international students miss native food so much is because they’re also missing the stable sense of identity they had back home. Studying abroad redefines your sense of who you are, what you want, and what you believe, and it can be a difficult process.
We saw just how difficult in Senzeni’s examination of how her self image changed during a year in the States, one of our most moving posts of 2012. ”The certainty I once had about what I wanted to see and achieve is gone, the answers replaced by more and more questions about myself and my path,” she wrote.