Claire Brouard, an Alumni of BSc Nutrition (Int)

Claire Brouard

Why did you choose the University of Leeds?

I really liked Leeds as a city, especially as it has a big student population. However, I mainly chose Leeds as the BSc Nutrition course had a really good reputation. 

Why did you choose to study this particular degree?

I’ve always been interested in the role that nutrition can play in a person's health. In school I particularly liked science and so I wanted to choose a degree that was heavily science-based and incorporated food and diet. I also really enjoy cooking and being in the kitchen, so the practical elements of the course appealed to me too. 

What did you like most about your course ?

One of my favourite things about the course was the opportunity to spend a year either in industry or studying abroad. This was also one of the reasons that I chose to go to Leeds. I opted for the study abroad year and spent a year at Monash University in Melbourne. This was one of the highlights of the course as it gave me so much experience, both from an academic point of view in terms of social, cultural, and life experience.

What skills have you gained from your course?

There are many skills I gained at Leeds. Amongst them was teamwork, which I developed in particular through lots of group projects, including the new product development project in final year. I also developed research skills as the course was very science-focussed. My final year project was lab-based, which gave me the practical skills to carry out research. 

Can you describe what student life at Leeds is like?

The course at Leeds had a lot of contact hours so we were in lectures most days, especially in first and second year. I found this particularly beneficial as it gave structure and routine to the weeks. However, it did not take away from time to socialise on the evenings and weekends!

What were you most worried about before arriving at university?

I think my worries were probably quite typical, just that I might not make friends in halls, or that being away from home would be difficult. I was, however, really lucky from day one with the group of friends I made in halls and the worries seemed to go almost immediately after meeting everyone.

Tell us a bit about studying a Master's degree.

I’m currently studying for a Masters’ in Dietetics at King’s College London. This means that when I graduate I will be a health professional working as a dietician, predominantly in the NHS. Dietitians assess, diagnose and treat nutritional issues in those who are critically or acutely unwell, or those who are well to in order to prevent illness. 

Studying Nutrition at Leeds helped me get onto the Masters’ course as it is very science-focussed and therefore provided me with the foundation I needed. This was especially beneficial regarding studying human physiology and nutrient interactions in the body. The Masters’ degree I’m studying required this solid scientific background in order to build more specific knowledge of how diet plays a role in different disease causes and progression; and how to translate the evidence into practical advice for patients.

What is the importance of shadowing practicing dieticians, and how does it help one choose an area specialisation?

Shadowing a dietitian can be helpful in order to decide whether you might want to apply for the postgraduate course to become a dietitian. However, volunteering in other areas of healthcare also provides valuable experience. 

Once on the MSc Dietetics course there are placements in hospitals where we get to work with dietitians in different specialities, and this has been useful in choosing what I might potentially want to specialise in in the future.

What type of career paths can an MSc Dietetics graduate opt for?

Predominantly dietitians work in the NHS, either in hospitals or in community services. There are different areas that dietitians can specialise into as they progress in their career, such as gastro, diabetes and critical care. Some dieticians also chose to work in areas that include private work, public health, food industries, or perhaps in media. 

What do you do outside of your studies?

Outside of my current postgraduate studies I also have a part-time job. During my undergraduate degree at Leeds I volunteered for ‘The Real Junk Food Project’ in my spare time, which gave me good experience in communication and teamwork which are important for my postgraduate course.