Meet Ashley from Australia

Ashley Summers
Ashley' dream jobs involve setting up her own businesses, consulting and travelling.
Ashley's dream jobs involve setting up her own businesses, consulting and travelling.

Name: Ashley Summers 

Home country: Australia 

Programme start: 2014 

1) Why did you choose to study the bachelor programme VIA Global Nutrition and Health? 

There are a few reasons why I chose this bachelor programme, the first is that I was looking for a degree that had a balance between life sciences and social sciences. Many degrees I had looked at were either more towards clinical nutrition or an all out anthropology degree. I was looking literally all over the World to find this type of degree in English and VIA was the absolute best choice of programme for me. 

Secondly, the international nature of the programme was also very important in my choice. I wanted to have a broader view of nutrition and health from both a curriculum point of view and study in an international class where the backgrounds of the students were varied. 

Thirdly, as I’m not European I would need to pay tuition fees for the degree. VIA had the possibility of applying for a scholarship that both covered the full tuition fees and gave me a monthly stipend for accommodation and living expenses. 

The possibility to study for free, in a foreign country, in my native language, with the perfect programme… well, who wouldn’t choose that? 


2) What do you think of the programme? 

I love it! I really took my time in choosing the bachelor degree that was right for me and I think that has had a positive impact on my experience with the Global Nutrition and Health programme. 

In the foundation year we studied a broad range of topics throughout biochemistry, physiology, sociology and more. It really did what it sounds like it should do; laid a strong foundation on which I was able to choose my specialisation for the following years. 

The programme splits into two specialisations in the second year, I was originally attracted to the Lifestyle and Health Promotion specialisation, because it was targeted towards working with individuals. However, after what we studied in the foundation year and as my interests developed, I chose the Public Health Nutrition and Food Policy specialisation. In our classes at the moment we’re discussing sustainable food systems, international relations and microbiology. It’s really a nerdy dreamland for me right now! 

The programme itself is designed very well, so that it brings together a broad range of disciplines under the umbrella of nutrition and health. These interrelated topics are discussed and examined across each of the subjects and modules. 

The teaching style really works for me as well, it’s very interactive and with a lot of social connection rather than distance. Similarly, the class size is small enough that it allows for enough teacher attention to each student and also rich class discussions. 


3) What do you think of Denmark?

Denmark feels like a big country town for me, especially considering that the entire population of Denmark could fit in one Australian capital city. This country town feeling has both positive and negative aspects; people are quite friendly and always willing to help you out if you need directions on the street, or the bus, or the bike! On the negative side, outside of an international environment, it can be a little difficult to get to Danish people as some are quite reserved or insular. I’ve found that the majority of Danish people who are outgoing and willing to interact with internationals are those who have either lived abroad, travelled a lot or already have some international friends. 

Denmark has a lot of systems in place that can be a little overwhelming when you first move here, but stick with it, the systems soon become your friend! It’s really refreshing to live in a country where everything works well, there’s a high standard of living, but the people are still down to earth and friendly. I feel that there’s a lot of similarity between the friendliness of Australian and Danish people, so maybe that’s why I feel so at home here. 


4) What is the biggest cultural difference for you? 

I want to say rye bread and liver paste, but no, the biggest cultural difference would probably be how socially even Denmark is compared with Australia. This can be seen in the classroom, where there is not a huge social divide between students and teachers; students are able to freely give their opinion and talk to the teacher as an equal. I really appreciate this because it brings about lively discussions! This is something that I haven’t experienced in Australia and would probably be considered disrespectful. 


5) What is your dream job(s)?

My vision is to make a living from a variety of projects in different areas related to nutrition and health. My dream jobs (definitely plural!) involve setting up my own businesses, consulting and travelling. This process has already started where I’m working with some very passionate and resourceful people. 

I have a project called Eatable that was started together with a friend, Em Maidment, in Australia in 2013 that focuses on food intolerances. We’re building an online community for people with food intolerances and use eatable.com.au as a platform for this. 

Buggies is a project that started as an assignment in May 2015 while studying assignment for Health Communication and Qualitative Method in Module 4 of Global Nutrition and Health. Here two fellow classmates, Tine Niklasson and Monica Joy, and I are exploring the world of entomophagy, that’s the human consumption of insects. We have an information portal on buggies.dk and have already hosted events in Aarhus, Copenhagen and Odense. 

Remember, it’s never too early to get going on your dream project! Start now!