Dana Alsalem (MSc Food Science)

Dana Alsalem

Why did you choose this course?

I like everything related to food and I feel that nowadays food has become one of the largest businesses in our world. Everybody worries about their food and their health.

You seem to have a passion for food, is that the health aspect?

I have my Bachelors in Food Sciences from Kuwait University and actually before that I didn’t know that I loved everything related to food. I really kept my love with food science from my bachelors. I worked in a company in the kitchen area, looking at how to improve the quality of healthy foods and after that I decided to study for my MSc to go back to go to my country and teach at university. I don’t just want to become an instructor and teach people. I want to build up my knowledge to have a workshop for teenagers to teach them.

Is a Masters a requirement for teaching? Why are you doing do a Masters?

If I want to go back home and become an instructor at university I have to have my Masters to teach.

So you’re looking at teaching in University, rather than in a school environment?

First of all, before my MSc I wanted to apply for a school to teach. But there is no subject to teach. I could teach Science, Chemistry, Physics but there is no such thing as Health, there is nothing related to Nutrition. All the teenagers nowadays, they want a change, they want a healthy lifestyle. How will they get their knowledge? From the Internet? Not everything is taught on the internet or through the TV. There is lots of information but nutrition, like chemistry or physics, is a science. It will be a new approach. 

Why did you choose the University of Leeds?

Actually I was searching for universities in the UK and I was looking for the ranking of the universities. I also applied to Reading and got accepted at both of them but I applied to Leeds because I came here before and saw the university and I was happy with the location and the community and so I joined.

So where did you do your BSc?

In Kuwait. I was the first Kuwaiti girl to graduate from Food Sciences, it was a new subject. When we applied for universities all of my friends applied for Nutrition and I was the only one who applied for Food Science. 

How have you found the quality of the teaching here at Leeds?

The thing that I really like is that they teach you how to teach yourself. They teach you how to read properly and how to come to the ideas, they don’t just give you the ideas. I feel that is the difference between BSc and MSc. At BSc the lecturer tells you what to think, you don’t have to think, you just go and memorize, but in Leeds I have to think why, I have to go out and read.

What about student life? How have you found that?

I feel that the University of Leeds has a fantastic and amazing student life because I have many friends at different colleges and universities. When I came first of all in September I was shown what the union does, all the programmes and Give It A Go, I was so excited and when I spoke to my other friends at other universities they said they had nothing like this. I am lucky because at the University of Leeds you don’t just study then go home, there are many activities you can do. The union and the School, there is always something new to join and different trips. I think the University has lots to do and that minimises feeling homesick. You can have fun and you can study. Everything is really good.

What will be your favourite memories of studying and of being here?

That I have known that all the professors and instructors and people in the department are amazing. It is good to know them and I am happy with them, they are so helpful. They treat us like sisters. You don’t feel like you are a stranger. It’s like one community. I am here alone without my family so I feel that when I look back and remember Leeds I will remember how they made me feel.

The facilities that you find at Leeds, do you think they are good facilities?

One of the best facilities is the library. The libraries at the university are amazing, the capacities are amazing. Everything that you want is available and you don’t have to pay for them. Since I got here everything has been improving, even the printing is improving.  

What do you like best about your School?

The people, as I said before and the labs are good especially the food processing lab. I am working with food, the equipment is not like the equipment I had for my bachelors. It’s the same as equipment found in industry. And the location of the school is good, I like the location because it’s in the centre of the university.

Do you have spare time? And if you have spare time what do you do? Do you have hobbies?

Of course I have spare time! I go walking sometimes and I meet friends. Mainly socialising because the rest of the time you are reading or in classes, most of my spare time is for socialising. I also used some of my spare time to talk to my family in Kuwait on Skype. Even nowadays it is different when you go abroad from five or ten years ago, if you went abroad then you felt lonely but now with the technology you can see your parents at home, and they are not worried about you. Oh, and I love cooking.

What advice would you give to other students doing the food science course and coming to the UK to study?

First of all coming to the UK to study an MSc is a good opportunity because it’s just one year so even if you’re married it’s not like you have foundation courses and many years studying. Food science, I love food science. I am sad because people don’t know much about it. I would really advise anyone thinking about this major to come to learn and to spread the word because it is related to our life and our health. It’s important to work in the production of healthy foods.