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Want to go to uni AND travel overseas? Study a Bachelor of Nutrition Science

Nutrition science

When you’re hitting up all your course options at Open Day, be sure to ask about placements and study tours. If you want to study a nutrition course, for example, your studies could take you to Bali and beyond!

When Australian Catholic University (ACU) Bachelor of Nutrition Science student Alexa Carey went to Bali for a holiday with her family, she never imagined that a few years later she’d be back as part of her uni studies.

Alexa switched from nursing to study nutrition science to fulfil a calling to educate people with diabetes on healthy food choices. Alexa lives with Type 1 diabetes and has always been interested in nutrition “because I deal with it in real life every day”.

She jumped at the opportunity to travel overseas to learn from a different culture. To help her get there, Alexa received a grant from ACU and the Australian Government under the New Colombo Plan.

“We learnt about the water and pollution problems in Bali, but the most interesting part from a nutrition perspective was the way our guide understood every plant growing near his home, and the different uses for each plant.”

The real lesson, she says, was the importance of being closer to the food we eat. “It encouraged me to think about how we can be doing that a bit better in Australia,” Alexa says.

Alexa spent three weeks in Bali, which counted as one of her elective units. She travelled to the North, East and West coast of the island learning about the unique culture of the rice farms and ‘subak’ water irrigation system. Alexa also got to work on various community projects planting trees in the rainforest and building bee boxes with locals. 

ACU Nutrition Science student Alexa Carey in Bali as part of her study placement. Yes you can go to university and overseas!

“We also visited Udayana University and learnt how to make some traditional rice delicacies from the lecturers there,” Alexa says. “Another highlight was a cooking class at Janet DeNeefe’s Casa Luna kitchen. We learnt how to make beautiful aromatic fish curries and delicious traditional coconut rice desserts.” 

At the end of her current Bachelor of Nutrition Science, Alexa hopes to study a Master of Dietetics Practice and then go on to become an accredited dietitian. 

“I’d even be interested in studying a year of diabetes education on top of that so I can become a diabetes educator. I feel a real calling to work somewhere rural or remote.”

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How to get there

Alexa was part of the ‘ACU Bali: Preserving food cultures and sustainable food systems’ program which aims to work alongside Balinese communities to gain a deeper understanding of the issues and contribute to potential solutions.

But ACU’s Health Sciences faculty offers placements in plenty of other places around the world, many supported by the New Colombo Plan. This Australian government program offers scholarships for Australian undergraduate students to study or undertake an internship in the Indo Pacific region in countries like Indonesia, India, Malaysia and Japan.

Short-term study experiences are available to students from the end of 1st year at ACU.

In Melbourne and keen on a health degree or science degree? Come along to hear more about Bali food culture

On August 3, 2023 ACU is giving a free public lecture where I Made Chakra (Alexa’s Balinese guide) will share the changes he has seen in his lifetime – the impacts of the green revolution, tourism and climate change on food and water systems in Bali. Plus, what we can do to support sustainable systems. 

Chakra will be joined by Associate Professor Sharon Croxford to talk about the importance of preserving ‘traditional’ food cultures. Register now.

This post is brought to you in partnership with Australian Catholic University (ACU). Interested in a health career or science career? Check out their nutrition science degree and study options here.

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