Lisa Saski - Medical Anthropology MSc
8 March 2021
My name is Lise Sasaki. I obtained my MSc Medical Anthropology degree at UCL in 2017. Before this, I was a student at Sophia University in Tokyo, Japan, studying for a BA in Anthropology. Growing up in several countries, mostly in the Pacific Islands, I always had the urge to understand the various perspectives of not only ourselves, but also of each other. The Medical Anthropology courses at UCL were diverse and enriching, and the small scale classes for graduate students were a wonderful way to learn and build relationships with fellow students and lecturers.
Learning from psychiatrists and psychologists, to experts in global health and of course, anthropologists, the multidisciplinary approach at UCL allowed me to gain a broad understanding of medical anthropology. I also valued being introduced to a group of international students with various expertise and personal experiences. Learning the fundamentals of Medical Anthropology and progressing through to advanced clinical ethnography, I was able to compare personal understandings of illness in natural and spiritual terms against scientific or medical interpretations, drawing on my own experiences in the Pacific Islands and Japan.
I especially enjoyed the Medical Anthropology seminars where students were given the chance to listen to and engage with diverse contemporary researchers from across the world. UCL Anthropology promotes a friendly atmosphere and there is always someone to support you. While the educational environment is excellent with exceptional resources and the MSc grounds students in contemporary anthropological debates, I felt that it was the department’s warm social environment that truly encouraged my motivation towards the degree and my further scholarly journey. After my degree, I was involved in the UCL Anthropology of Smartphones and Smart Ageing project as a local research assistant in Japan as well as being employed as a research assistant at Osaka University. The immense support from UCL continued after my graduation, and now I am on my way to enroll as a PhD student at the Department of Anthropology of the University of Toronto.