"I feel passionate about using my expertise to eliminate food waste"

The University of Helsinki has an interdisciplinary master’s programme that offers a multifaceted view on food and how it influences us. We talked to two students, Isabell Schreck and Kenia Fita Capdevila, about their experiences in the Master’s Programme in Human Nutrition and Food-Related Behaviour.

Who is the Mas­ter’s Pro­gramme in Hu­man Nu­tri­tion and Food-Re­lated Be­ha­viour for?

Schreck: “I think it’s for people who want to understand the diversity of nutrition. The strong multidisciplinary approach has enriched my thinking. I study in the human nutrition track, which has helped me understand the connections between nutrition and diseases.

There are many opportunities to connect your studies to real research. I am currently finishing my master’s thesis that constitutes a part of a dietary intervention study.”

Fita Capdevila: “I study in the food-related behaviour track, which focuses on the sociology and psychology of food. It is for someone who wants to understand how and why the food system works as it does. The programme structure is flexible, so you can adjust it to your interests.”

Why do we need ex­perts in Hu­man Nu­tri­tion and Food-re­lated Be­ha­viour?

Fita Capdevila: “The programme answers the growing need for multidisciplinary research. I think that one of my biggest advantages after graduation is that I’ll have a holistic understanding of the food system and can connect the different parts of it. I am passionate about sustainability, and food waste is a problem that is created when the different parts of the system do not work together.”

Schreck: “We need people who understand nutrition as a whole: how the food we eat affects our body and our mental health. Food is not only energy intake, but it is also social and emotional. I think that we can create wellbeing. There are so many options to choose from after graduating – you could use your knowledge in food companies and organisations, or even the digital wellbeing sector.”

What is it like to study and live in Helsinki?

Schreck: “I like to stay active in my free time. I teach classes at the university gym Unisport, and last year I bought a garden plot with a little cottage in Helsinki. I grow my own veggies and berries now. I have also been involved with our student organisation and made friends when organising parties and other events.

Over the time that I have studied at the University of Helsinki, I have noticed that the academic hierarchy is very flat. The lecturers are truly interested in students, and the environment is very friendly and open.”

Fita Capdevila: “I have found an amazing community here. I volunteer for a non-profit organisation that distributes food that would otherwise have been thrown away. I also spend time with my friends. I was surprised that people here walk a lot – even when it’s snowing. I love the Finnish winter, it was so beautiful this year.

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Mas­ter’s Pro­gramme in Hu­man Nu­tri­tion and Food-Re­lated Be­ha­viour

In the Master’s Programme in Human Nutrition and Food-Related Behaviour (HNFB), you focus on human nutrition and food-related behaviour from the perspective of public health nutrition, nutritional physiology, and social sciences. You gain an understanding of the significance of nutrition to human physiology and health, learn to analyse the physiological, psychological, social, and cultural aspects linked to food choices, and recognise the diversity of food and nutritional issues and ways to influence them. Themes based on Sustainable Development Goals – such as good health and wellbeing, zero hunger, equality, ecological and cultural sustainability – are embedded throughout the programme.

The programme includes two study tracks – Human Nutrition and Food-Related Behaviour – one of which you choose during the application process.

For more information, visit the website of the Master's Programme in Human Nutrition and Food-Related Behaviour.