Adrienn Jenei - Medical Anthropology MSc
8 March 2021
I joined the MSc Medical Anthropology course at UCL in the 2018-2019 academic year, right after finishing my undergraduate degree in Social Anthropology. I was looking for a programme that was interdisciplinary, combining studies of health and wellbeing in sociology and anthropology, with research in psychology, epidemiology, and public health. The Anthropology department in UCL is one of the best in the field of Medical Anthropology, and I was particularly drawn to it due to the specialisations of the teaching and research staff which closely aligned with my interests. The course offered so much more than what I expected; through the taught modules I was able to build a strong foundation in a variety of methodologies, such as co-production and participatory research, visual and sensory anthropology, and clinical ethnography.
Weekly research seminars and guest lecturers allowed me to learn about contemporary research and meet leaders in my chosen field. I was also inspired by my cohort - my peers included health care professionals, experts in health policy, third sector workers especially in international NGOs, and a variety of academic backgrounds. I was introduced to a lot of new ideas and perspectives through them, and I had a close-knit support system to help me throughout the year. The staff was very approachable with weekly socials and office hours which meant I had a lot of contact with them outside of the formal lecture setting. This meant I could ask a lot of questions, test out new theories. We had a lot of freedom in choosing the topic of our assignments which meant I could explore the questions I was always curious about in great depth.
I also want to highlight the amazing support I received from UCL’s Career service. Alongside the career support received in the Anthropology department, I took the opportunity to attend countless presentations about various possible career paths after my course including consultancy, third sector, and academia. They offer 1-to-1 appointments for individually tailored careers advice and I found all my volunteer and paid positions through their online directories. This aligned well with my course, which offered the flexibility I needed to volunteer for various mental health and youth charities in my free time. I was able to use this volunteer experience in my dissertation research which focused on the experiences of volunteer support workers in the third sector.
I was able to use my knowledge from the course, my research, and volunteering to find a position right after the MSc course in a charity in London. I started as a frontline worker, using social prescribing to improve the lives of people in later life. This work uses a lot of the same skills I gained during the course, including motivational interviewing and a holistic approach to wellbeing which considers material circumstances and cultural background. I quickly progressed to a management position as a systems designer, using qualitative and quantitative insight to reform the way the charity supports its service users. In the end, I am incredibly grateful for being able to do the MSc Medical Anthropology course, I gained a wealth of knowledge and I am well equipped to work in my dream career.