Dr Akshay Alawani
"Since graduating, I’ve been working as a nutrition educator and doing nutrition consultancy. Soon, I’m planning on applying for a PhD, to contribute to the growth of nutritional science and teach. There’s still so much more to explore in nutrition and this truly excites me."
Why I chose Surrey
Before I started my undergraduate dentistry degree in India, I got interested in nutrition and resistance training. I really enjoyed the change to my lifestyle and I saw a big difference, both physically and mentally. As time went on, I started reading more books on nutrition and it soon became a passion. Eventually, it became my calling and I knew I needed to pursue this path further.
I started working as a nutrition and exercise consultant, educating my clients with all the information I’d learnt. But I felt a formal education in nutrition would help me do this better. I wanted to give my best to every client. I knew a masters would help me to understand and interpret research better and allow me to explore different areas of nutrition.
I started researching UK universities and came across the University of Surrey website. I found the MSc Human Nutrition course and was impressed with the design of the programme, the variety of modules and the Queen’s Anniversary Prize 2017-18 for Further and Higher Education, in recognition of research excellence in the field of food and nutrition. Once I’d looked at the course in detail, I was sold. Everywhere else I looked at afterwards didn’t compare.
The course covered several areas of nutrition and had a strong theoretical base. Assignments were carefully designed to help us think critically and find solutions to the problems independently and in groups. There was a strong emphasis on research skills, including team management, communication and presentation abilities. A huge benefit of the course was the small cohort. I always felt I was given lot of individual attention.
From day one, I felt comfortable approaching my lecturers. They were always interested to hear my thoughts and encouraged me to ask questions, especially around prevalent health challenges. They praised me when I did well and gave me compassionate and constructive feedback. I always felt supported. The teaching staff were also keen to improve the student experience and took onboard our feedback.
On the course, the facilities blew my mind (I’m not exaggerating). I had practical sessions in the Innovation for Health Learning Laboratory and got to use industry-standard equipment. Outside of the lab, I frequently used the Library. There was a great nutrition selection and I regularly asked for rare articles that the team always found for me. In addition, there were bookable study rooms, which were great for practising ahead of presentations.
My most memorable moments
There was no single moment. The whole of my time at Surrey was memorable.
One of the most significant moments was when I entered campus for the first time. I’d worked so hard to be there, and I recall mumbling to myself, ‘This was worth it’.
My life at Surrey
My career and development
My time at Surrey empowered me, instilled me with confidence and humbled me too. I’m now a better leader, team player and educator – that’s what happens when you learn from the best! I now have a qualification that sets me apart from the crowd and wonderful memories to look back on.
Since graduating, I’ve been working as a nutrition educator and doing nutrition consultancy. Soon, I’m planning on applying for a PhD, to contribute to the growth of nutritional science and teach. There’s still so much more to explore in nutrition and this truly excites me.
- The course content can be challenging at times. Ask for help when you need it; you’ll never be turned down!
- Be bold and share evidence-driven opinions.
- Absorb all the knowledge that’s given to you, and make sure to keep up with the pace.
- Relax when you get time and travel as much as you can. You’ll take away some unforgettable memories.
- If you’re an international student looking to study nutrition, come to Surrey. You won’t be disappointed!
In the end, it will be worth it. Good luck!
Discover more about our postgraduate food, nutrition and dietetics courses, including our MSc Human Nutrition course, and find out about student life.