Kitty has always wanted to be a dietitian, so she chose to study in Australia, one of only four countries offering accredited courses for dietitians. She says her master’s degree at Flinders University is helping her become career-ready through industry placements, and by offering her an education accredited by Dietitians Australia. We spoke to Kitty about what it was like to leave Hong Kong straight after high school, and how her various educational experiences in Adelaide.
I came to Adelaide in October 2014, after finishing high school in Hong Kong. I made my decision to go to Adelaide quite quickly after speaking with a South Australian representative at an overseas study expo in Hong Kong. I wanted a place with a relaxed environment rather than a crowded city, that’s why I came to Adelaide.
For the first year and a half, I lived in a homestay. I highly recommend all international students do that, even if it’s just for the first few months. It helps you to settle down and familiarise yourself with your new home. Not just for study, living in a homestay really helped me to develop my English. And there’s someone there to help take care of you and give you a sense of home.
I’ve become more independent since living in Adelaide. I’ve now moved into my own home with friends, so I have to cook and pay rent and manage my own life. I didn’t have to do that in Hong Kong.
I’ve always wanted to be a dietitian, and the Master of Nutrition and Dietetics at Flinders University is the only South Australia course accredited by Dietitians Australia. This means I can apply to become an Accredited Practising Dietitian after I graduate.
I’m really grateful for my Bachelor of Nutrition and Food Sciences, which I also did in Adelaide. I learnt a lot and got the chance to build my research knowledge by asking if I could be a research assistant. I found research really interesting.
My master’s degree at Flinders University has given me lots of opportunities to have real workplace experience. In the first year, I completed work placements and observations in a hospital. This year, we have 21 weeks of placements which I’m doing in various community, food service, and clinical settings.
I worked at an early childhood centre with my peer. We helped develop recipes for multiple allergies. We worked on recipes free from nuts, gluten, egg and dairy because there is an increasing demand for food that is safe for children with multiple allergies. We had to research the recipes, cook them, make sure they were tasty for the children to eat, and also feasible for the chef to cook in bulk. It was a fun, interesting and rewarding challenge. The children really liked our recipes.
A lot of study is theory-based, where you’re learning from other people’s experience. Going to a placement gives me my own experience. It helps me recognise my limitations and gaps in knowledge where I need to focus. Working on recipes helped me expand my food knowledge to cater for different cultures. And my clinical placement at Flinders Medical Centre will help me build the competencies I’ll need in the real workforce.
My dream job is doing half research and half clinical work as a dietitian. I find research really interesting with a lot of challenges. You won’t always get the result you want at first, and you might have to explore with another test. When you do research, you are the first person to know if this works, or if it doesn’t work.
Adelaide is such a beautiful place. I love to go outside and to the beach. Just this past weekend, we went to Carrick Hill, which was a nice place to enjoy an afternoon with friends. I love the air quality and the environment here.
Just make the decision and come. Do your research and understand your ultimate goal for your career. Networking is important to help you step out of your comfort zone and meet more people. In my first two years, I did a lot of community work and met many people who are still good friends. I’m grateful for my decision to step up, put my hand up and challenge myself.