Alejandra Toro Written by
from Colombia

MSc Nutrition and Behaviour

Hey there, my name is Alejandra and I’m a Master’s student from Colombia. As part of my course, MSc Nutrition and Behaviour, I had to undertake a work placement of 12 days. Although it sounds like a short time, I discovered that there is a lot to do and learn. This is the story of how I got the placement I wanted, what I learnt and how I overcame some obstacles.

How I got a placement with SportBU

After a few interviews in some NGOs I was feeling down because most of them couldn’t receive me at the time. Coming from a different country, it is hard to know where and how to apply for jobs in the UK due to the cultural differences in the professional area. Nevertheless, I found out what other students had done in the past and remembered that one student had worked for SportBU, so I contacted them directly and prepared for my interview. Since they didn’t really know what they wanted me to do, I designed a PowerPoint presentation full of project ideas I could do for them in just 12 days. This was an advantage because they weren’t expecting me to be so proactive – they got excited and we even came up with more ideas together and planned my whole placement. What I learnt is that showing interest and effort are key characteristics when finding a placement.

What did I do?

I accomplished quite a lot in just 12 days, from interacting with students, organising events and creating content that would be helpful for them. First, I wrote a couple of articles about nutrition and behaviour. The topics were diverse: from reading the traffic lights on food packaging, to calories, sugar cravings, sleep and how to create diet habits. I had fun writing them and I learnt a lot from reading and summarising information.

Drop-in session

I also organised a drop-in session, where people would go in for 15 minutes and I would give them nutritional advice based on what they needed. At first, I was nervous because I wasn’t an expert in the field. However, with the help of some teachers, I prepared an FAQ that included information about the most important topics surrounding nutrition. I also did a presentation and had some online resources at hand. The most important thing is to be prepared and have a positive attitude. Overall it went well – people liked it and so did I.

Nutrition workshop

The last thing I did for SportBU was organise a nutrition workshop. This was the biggest challenge because it required me not only to prepare relevant material, but also to find a way to make it interactive and interesting. To achieve this, I created an online game and had a prize at the end to encourage people to pay attention and enjoy the session. We managed to go through all the topics in a fun way and I finished my placement with gratitude and lots of lessons learnt.