Azelia Lim: Food and Packaging Innovation

Hi! My name is Azelia Lim, I’m currently a Master of Food and Packaging Innovation student at the University of Melbourne, and this is my story.

It all began in late 2012 when my parents sent me overseas to continue my tertiary education. Having just completed my South Australian Certificate of Education (SACE) offshore at a private institute in Malaysia, I had little to no idea what I wanted to study and where.

After seeking advice from my friends and family, and conducting my own research, I decided that pursuing a Bachelor of Human Nutrition in Australia was the best option as I had an interest in food, nutrition and health. Moreover, my two older sisters and many other relatives were already residing in Melbourne, so moving there seemed the most convenient.

It wasn’t long after my decision-making process that I found myself boarding a flight from Kuala Lumpur, Malaysia to Melbourne, Australia. There I was, a then-18-year-old girl who had just completed Year 12, ready to take on the Land Down Under, 6360 kilometres away from home.

Despite already having half of my family residing in Melbourne, I couldn’t help but feel a wave of nervousness. “Will the people there ever like me? Will I ever fit in?” These thoughts came running through my head as I journeyed eight hours to my destination. However, the thoughts soon disappeared the minute I arrived as I was greeted with smiles throughout the day and throughout the years.

Melbourne’s warm culture made me feel more than welcome, and I never had to change who I was to “fit in”. From exchanging conversations with overly friendly strangers on the street, to smelling freshly brewed “Melbournian” coffee down the road, and not to mention, exploring the “hipster” alleyways and “instagrammable” graffiti walls just about anywhere, I cannot imagine what life would be like out of this wonderful city.

Exploring graffiti walls along the streets of Fitzroy, Melbourne

After completing my bachelors degree, I came to a realisation that pursuing a career in human nutrition was simply not enough. While the rest of my peers went ahead to pursue a masters degree in a related field, I, instead, was interested in food innovation and how I could use this concept to feed an ever-growing world population.

After conducting much research, I came to a conclusion that the Master of Food and Packaging Innovation at the University of Melbourne was the perfect course for me. The course not only enhances my knowledge and skills in food innovation, but also other aspects of the food system such as food chemistry, food safety and food packaging. The marketing and management aspect of this course has enabled me to enhance my business acumen – an important component required for food innovation. Furthermore, the industry internships offered in this course also enabled me to learn the know-hows of food innovation from one of the world’s leading fast moving consumer goods (FMCG) company, Mondelez International.

Class photo from the Procurement and Logistics summer intensive program which I had undertaken as part of my masters degree

Apart from study life, I am also actively involved in the Graduate Agriculture and Food Society (GAFS) - a society for all postgraduate agriculture and food science students. Through GAFS, I’ve been able to enhance my leadership skills, and it has provided me with an opportunity to meet Australia’s leading people from the agriculture and food industry.

Graduate Agriculture and Food Society (GAFS) Committee 2016

With only six months left before completion of my masters degree, I cannot help but wonder what life would be like out of university. Although the thought of finally leaving university seems so surreal and somewhat daunting, I am excited to see what the future holds for me as I journey through the “real world”.

My experience at the University of Melbourne will always stay close to my heart, and perhaps the one thing that got me through it all was following my passion for the things I loved the most. So, fellow viewers, if you’re unsure about the future and don’t know where to go, always remember to follow your heart, and most importantly - do what you love, and love what you do.

This story originally appeared on the Discover: stories from Faculty of Veterinary and Agricultural Science.

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