'It is a special moment, the point you wrap up your life as a student. I am glad to say I look back at a good year: this Master's programme has a quite demanding planning, but the atmosphere within the programme was good and lecturers were interested in students and open to questions and suggestions.' Read what Michou tells about Medical Anthropology and Sociology.
My name is Michou Benoist and I am from The Netherlands. Before applying to the Master’s programme Medical Anthropology and Sociology (MAS) at the University of Amsterdam, I followed the Bachelor’s programme Cultural Anthropology and Development Sociology at the University of Utrecht (also in The Netherlands).
I wrote my Master's thesis on incontinence. In a class full of people traveling to all corners of the world to do research on topics such as HIV, pregnancy and traditional medicine, you could say I was the odd one when I chose to do my research in a Dutch elderly care center on diapers and dirt. Still, it was a logical choice considering my interest in 'non-events,' moments of life that are not considered as important, or so private that they remain hidden. And, since it could be argued nothing is more private and routine than toileting, I saw it as a challenge to look behind that closed toilet door, and explore the role ideas on bodily control, dignity and privacy play in everyday life of residents and their care workers.
It is a special moment, the point you wrap up your life as a student. I am glad to say I look back at a good year: this Master's programme has a quite demanding planning, but the atmosphere within the programme was good and lecturers were interested in students and open to questions and suggestions. Lecturers represented a variety of interests and regularly invited guest lecturers to broaden their scope. Our class was nice and eclectic, with students with different backgrounds ranging from anthropology, sociology and psychology to nursing, medicine and dietetics. Following classes and having the occasional drink together, we found a nice mixture between studying and fun.
I mostly view my study period at the University as a start of something new. It is up to me to hang on to all the curiosity and enthusiasm I collected over the years. My advice to students would be to combine their personal interests and experiences and find themes and topics that you can relate to.
I hope to further specialize in the field of elderly and nursing. I would love to continue doing research and hope that the stories that people shared with me during my research can be of use. Although I am aware that jobs in research are not up for grabs, I know this is where my heart lies and I hope I will find a way to put my interests to good use.
For me, medical anthropology is the most applied specialisation of anthropology as this field enables you to combine the cultural layer of life, politics, gender and our embodied reality with psychology and philosophy. By matching a theoretical view with the experience of people, I feel anthropologists can play an important role at the intersection between patients and citizens, management, policymakers and medical professionals.