You were the first one to sign your friends up for that 10K and you tell everyone about your latest organic concoction in the kitchen. If this sounds all too familiar, perhaps it’s time to go from health nut to legitimate nutritionist. Combine your love of fitness and food and complete a nutrition degree abroad! A key nutritional principle is understanding the cultural and social aspects surrounding food, fitness, and health, and by immersing yourself in another culture, you will surely experience it firsthand. Order a two-for-one and head abroad to earn one of the many available degrees in nutrition.
Why Earn a Nutrition Degree Abroad
Food is one of the most visible and complex aspects of society. The food people grow, prepare, and eat, and the nourishment it provides, gives huge insights into a culture. By earning a nutrition degree abroad, you’ll learn the essential foundation needed for a career in nutrition almost anywhere in the world, while enhancing your knowledge of the interactions of food, health, and culture.
If your goal is to work abroad in the future, pursuing a nutrition degree in the country where you want to live will help you immensely. One advantage of earning your nutrition degree abroad is that you’ll become privy to the nutrition lingo in your locale. You’ll learn the ropes when it comes to credential and licensing requirements (which can vary dramatically), and you’ll make valuable connections to local professionals. Plus, you’ll get to try out new delicious local ingredients, and Instagram all about it.
Even if you plan to return home after completing your nutrition degree abroad, the new perspectives you will gain will enhance your ability to work with individuals from diverse backgrounds and viewpoints. You’ll also be able to bring a fresh take on nutrition to your neighborhood by incorporating healthy practices from around the world. Take a tip from the Japanese and throw some seaweed in your stir fry, or do as the Dutch do and hop on your bike. Earning a nutrition degree abroad will not only totally expand your personal worldview, but you’ll increase your nutrition knowledge by leaps and bounds.
The best place for you to earn your nutrition degree abroad depends on your interests. Since nutrition can be such a broad subject, narrowing down your focus a bit can help direct you to the best location for what you want to learn and how you want to use your nutrition degree after graduation.
Despite the bad rap the United States gets for its “Standard American Diet” (S.A.D., indeed), there’s also a huge local food movement making waves throughout the country. States like California have been known for a unique local food culture for decades, and many cities throughout the U.S. have now revamped farmer’s markets to help people explore local delicacies. Keep in mind, if you want to work as a nutritionist in the United States, licensing requirements vary by state; most nutrition degree programs will train you to pass the licensing credentials for the state where your school is located.
For more of a culinary spin on your nutrition degree abroad, try Italy or India. Indian spices don’t just taste delicious, they also possess health benefits. Turmeric, ginger, and red pepper are known to lower cholesterol, and onions and garlic may help lower heart disease. Win-win! In Italy, nutrition students can learn about agritourism, the slow food movement, and the the emphasis on growing and eating regional foods. You might even consider adding on a one-year certificate in culinary arts to complement your nutrition degree in italy (there’s a lot of wine to taste, and it has health benefits as well!).
Although nutrition is mostly about food, there’s also natural overlap with fitness and health science. Australian universities are known for their focus on science, and Aussies are super active and take their health seriously. Therefore, Australia has a number of fitness and nutrition degree programs to choose from that will give students the strong foundation needed to pursue a career in nutrition. Why not put theory into practice with some surfing, hiking, and snorkeling between classes?
Nutrition Degree Programs
It’s time to eat your superfoods and start studying! The many licenses, credentials, and nutrition degree programs out there are enough to make your head spin. To put it simply, a bachelor’s degree in nutrition is typically needed to pursue a career in nutrition. For more specialized careers, a master’s degree or higher level degree may be required. In addition to the minimum schooling required, many employers also require specific credentials, which often include an exam as well as hands-on training hours in order to earn it.
A bachelor’s degree generally takes about four years to complete, but is worth the investment if you want to become a nutritionist; it’s the baseline you need to be able to practice in the field. Many universities offer undergraduate degrees in nutrition, but consider expanding your search to include degrees in food science, biology, or psychology too. All of these related fields are appropriate degrees to build your foundation in nutrition principles. A typical nutrition curriculum will include courses in food science, nutrition counseling, and nutrition theory.
If you already have a bachelor’s degree in nutrition, a master’s degree will allow you to specialize in a specific area, such as disease management and eating disorders, or even teach nutrition courses. During a two-year master’s program, you’ll learn about medical nutrition therapy, molecular biology, and public health. Most likely, a statistics or probability course will also be required for a master’s degree in nutrition, so load up on those brain foods!
Benefits & Challenges
Understanding the numerous and varying credentials and licenses might drive you bananas at first. But don’t fret! Throw that banana into a smoothie with a little matcha powder, and do your homework before you enroll in a nutrition degree program abroad. A credential you earn in one location may not be valid in another (which is all the more reason to go where you want to practice). However, once you focus in on exactly where and what tickles your tastes buds, it’ll be one smooth downhill bike ride.
Studying nutrition in another culture will give you unparalleled first-hand knowledge. How do the French eat cheese and wine while maintaining overall health? What’s all the rage about the Mediterranean diet you’ve been hearing about? How bad does the durian fruit really smell? In order to truly understand a society’s interaction with food and how it impacts culture (and vice versa), you’ve got to go and see it for yourself. By immersing yourself in another culture, you’ll gain communication skills as well as the ability to interact with those that are different from you: two skills that will enhance both your professional and personal life.
As cheesy (no pun intended) as it sounds, you’ve always wanted to help people lead healthy lives, so take it to the next step! Embark on a career as colorful as the rainbow of fruits and veggies on your plate by pursuing one of the multitude of degrees in nutrition abroad.