This was the first time this program was delivered in Asia, and we welcomed 26 students and 3 Academics from Deakin University for 14 days as they travelled around Singapore and Malaysia. This program introduces students to the food and nutrition industry within Malaysia and Singapore from production through regulation and consumption, in addition to an orientation to local history, culture, politics and social structure.
The program saw the students get an inside look into a host of organisations across government and industry with the students stating some of the main highlights were visits to Alexandria Hospital, Health Promotion Board and Sports Institute in Singapore. In Malaysia they undertook visits with Universiti Putra Malaysia and to the Guinness Anchor Factory, in addition to a day trip to Kuala Selangor, where not only did they meet their first monkeys, they learnt about rice padi, local products manufactured in small family enterprises, and explored the exotic delicacies of a local wet market. The group were faced with some challenging weather conditions (it was really hot in Singapore!) and understanding cultural norms but overcame these by adjusting best they could, and enjoying all the food!
The personal development of the students was evident through their feedback forms with many stating they felt their ability to work within a team environment was greatly increased as a result of the tour. Many also said they learnt to keep an open mind and to be more understanding of other cultures. Students also reflected on industry specifics with many noting the differences in nutrition across government and industry between Malaysia and Singapore. We asked the students what lessons were learnt from the experience with one student commenting on the importance of food to the culture in Malaysia and Singapore. Another said “Thinking as a global community is the way of the future even with cultural hurdles and differences”
Finally some advice offered by the students to any future participants “Try everything!”