In the summer of 2021, Clara Siregar attended a webinar highlighting a partnership between Boston University Metropolitan College (BU MET) and her home school, Indonesia International Institute for Life Sciences (i3L), a private university in East Jakarta, Indonesia. It was her last year at i3L, where she was earning her bachelor’s degree in food science. The program allowed recent i3L grads the opportunity to pursue a master’s degree in Boston. “I never considered studying in the United States,” Siregar says, “but I attended their webinar and got interested in the amazing BU programs.”
Siregar was looking to pursue a master’s degree that would build on the skills she’d developed during her time as an undergraduate while also allowing her to explore the entrepreneurial side of food science and product marketing. The Master of Arts in Gastronomy at BU MET, one of several graduate degrees made available to recent i3L graduates, provided an ample opportunity to do just that.
When Siregar started her master’s degree at BU in January 2022, she joined a diverse community of students that included food industry professionals, community activists, career changers, and, like Clara herself, recent college graduates.
Gastronomy Program Director Dr. Megan Elias, who teaches Food History (MET ML 622), one of the four classes Clara opted to take in her first semester, remarks that international students like Ms. Siregar are vital to expanding the borders of class discussions. “I have been delighted to see Clara exploring the history of women’s culinary work in Indonesia under Dutch imperialism. We will all learn a lot from her work, which uses sources in Indonesian not accessible to many of us,” Dr. Elias says.
Clara is most grateful that the program allowed her to pair her interest in business with a passion for gastronomy. Her favorite class is Ecommerce (MET AD 648), which teaches methods for businesses to successfully improve sales through the use of internet platforms and web technologies. Siregar enjoyed learning from Trish Babb, the course instructor, who introduced her to the application of electronic commerce across industry sectors. “The teacher really wants us to understand the subject, and not just get good grades,” she remembers thinking.
Clara plans on staying in the United States by obtaining Optional Practical Training once she graduates, which will allow her to pursue her gastronomy passion professionally, here in the US. She’s enthusiastic about the rest of her time in Boston and looks forward to the coming summer, when she will be able to explore more of the city and its great food, community, and culture.