Originally from India, Akshay's interest in food packaging has landed him in Melbourne

I have always been interested in the food industry. Having done my undergraduate in horticulture, I felt like I needed to learn more about the processing and packaging of produce, rather than just about food production.

When I was looking at my study options, I came across the Master of Food and Packaging Innovation at the University of Melbourne. It was a cross-disciplinary degree and it focused on both the science and management-related aspects of food and packaging. This was exactly what I was looking for, and the best part was that it had an internship subject where students can gain experience working with food brands around the country.

At the Parkville campus where my classes are held

I still remember the day I boarded on a flight to Melbourne. It was my first trip to another country and my mind was filled with questions about how everything would look like in Australia. Once I landed in Melbourne after a 14-hour flight, everything normalised again. As I arrived at the end of the Australia summer, the weather was no different than what we had in Coimbatore, the South Indian city I’m from.

Once I cleared customs, the university organised someone to pick me up from the airport and drive me to my accommodation. My housemates were a law student from Ukraine and a PhD candidate from Kenya, who later became my best friends. The diversity of people and cultures in Melbourne is just amazing.

Friends from all over the world 

I started the Master of Food and Packaging Innovation in 2016 and before the study period started, I attended the university’s orientation week. This is where we meet people from previous cohorts and gained some valuable insights on how to effectively use our time at the university. Apart from our studies, the university also organises a lot of fun activities. Everything from food festivals, band performances and games are part of the list.

Thanks to my tutors and subject coordinators, they helped me choose subjects based on my career interests. I also organised my course structure so that my final semester would mostly be free so I can focus on my internship then. This modularity of course structure is highly useful and has helped me use my time efficiently. The university also records our lectures so if you’re unwell or can’t attend the class, you can listen to it online later.

The iconic Old Arts building on campus 

Melbourne is such a beautiful city and there are lots of places to visit too. I had the opportunity to watch the New Year Eve’s fireworks last year and it was amazing. And if you like nature, then a trip to The Grampians, the Great Ocean Road or Mount Buller is bound to satisfy you.

Overall, studying in Melbourne has been the complete package. Although it takes some time to get used to things in a different country, it feels just like home once you’ve settled in.

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