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Studying Food Science in the UK - Perspective of an International Student

Mohamed Gamal
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Can you please introduce yourself?

My name is Mohamed Gamal. I am originally from Egypt. I have a Bachelor’s degree in Veterinary Sciences from Benha University in Egypt. I was also awarded a Postgraduate Diploma in Microbiology.

This enabled me to start my career in meat inspection on a placement programme in a local slaughter house. Then I took my first step into the food industry, precisely food safety, quality assurance and NPD by working for one of the market leaders in the meat industry in the Middle East.

Why did you decide to study food science & technology?

After 7 years of work experience and as a part of my self-development plan, I decided to pursue a Master’s degree in food science to expand my knowledge, increase my competence and enhance my career prospects in the food industry.  

Why did you decide to move to the UK to pursue your degree?

Since I was a child, I always wanted to move to the UK.

Firstly, I have a passion for history and culture which are part of the British heritage. UK education, especially higher education, is also highly recognised globally.

Career-wise, the UK food market is a leading market globally, especially with regards to food safety regulations and standards. It was exciting for me to come to the UK and get exposed to this high-profile market and industry.

Can you tell us about your experience of studying in the UK?

Studying in the UK was very beneficial to me. It helped me expand my knowledge, not only the technical knowledge, but also the academic skills.

The hard thing was the adaptation to the UK education system and the expected academic research and writing skills at this level (post-graduation ''masters'' level 7). In the beginning, I was struggling with my research but I could improve my skills thanks to my tutors and the university’s international office. 

What advice would you give to others thinking about moving to the UK to study?

My advice for international students who are willing to come to study in the UK is:

  1. Work on improving your English language and academic ''research & writing'' skills before starting your course or even coming to the UK by reading and studying about these skills. When you arrive in the UK, make the most use of seminars provided by your university’s international office at the beginning of the term.
  2. Travel (a lot) during your holidays. The UK is full of amazing ''should visit'' places.
  3. Try to get involved in the UK community, either by working or volunteering even for a few hours a week or attending social events. People here are amazing.
  4. Don’t wait to get the experience after you graduate. Start pursuing work experience whilst studying. It will help you a lot after graduation.

Why did you join IFST?  

As a food industry professional, I heard of IFST before coming to the UK. My tutor spoke to us about it as well which triggered my curiosity to find out more. After learning about the professional help provided by the Institute, I decided to get involved.

Membership is very affordable specially for students. IFST provides a wide range of opportunities, such as events, career development opportunities and regularly published magazine, articles and reports that contain valuable and updated information about different areas within food science.

In addition, IFST has a great team who do their best to handle your requests. 

What are your plans for the future?

I am looking forward to having the opportunity to get a job and settle down in the UK, the country that I liked since my childhood and then do my PhD. There are still plenty of things that I want to explore in the UK.

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