By Line Bager, Sinead O’Ferrall and Julie G. Franck
Forty new students wind their way through the corridors of the old Copenhagen hospital, down the stairs to the basement, out the fire escape and over the court yard. We are the MSc Global Health class of 2016 at Copenhagen University, and while we may not have mastered finding out lecture rooms at the CSS campus yet, we are certainly excited to be here.
Line and Sinead reflect on our first impressions as we settled into the course.
Sinead O’Ferrall, Irish, BSc Biomedical Science
It is like the start of a cheesy joke “an economist, a scientist and an nutritionist walk into a bar…..”
But that is what this course involves – an economist and nutritionist and scientist, not to mention nurses, public health graduates. I am sure I am missing some of the diverse backgrounds of my new classmates.
I am a science graduate having done a BSc in Biomedical Science in Dublin and Sweden. This course is not science. Yet it is. But it is so much more than that. The class diversity reflects the course’s broad subject matter and appeal. It takes all sort of disciplines to master the topic of Global Health. That is truly what stuck with me from week one. You need an economist, a nutritionist and a scientist to begin making any progress in solving Global Health problems and maybe even passing this course with your sanity intact.
I think this is also the biggest challenge in settling into this course. The broadness of the course, no longer can I hide in my lab coat and behind my conical flasks. I must venture into unknown territory of macroeconomics, microcredit, and demographic modelling. I have embarked on an adventure far from my comfort zone. But what an experience it has been, and we are only in our second week of lectures as I write this. So that makes me excited for what is to come.
I couldn’t be more overwhelmed, out of depth and so utterly excited for the weeks and years to come.
Bring it on!
Line Bager, Danish, BA Economics and Development Studies
Enthusiasm! …and then a lot of (academic) disorientation. That is what the first couple of weeks on the MSc course in Global Health has yielded for the new batch of students.
You may sit in the lectures, wondering whether you are really suited for this degree. But then you realise (with a sigh of relief I might add) that perhaps you are not the only one with that feeling. Despite the enthusiasm of the lecturer – who really wants you to understand that definition, and looks even happier the more questions you ask – it’s quite evident that for many of us this is uncharted territory.
In many ways, this frustration seems entirely appropriate for the subject that we have chosen; the new buzzword is multidisciplinary and indeed that is what this class is. With our many backgrounds we are supposed to be able to find new and innovative solutions to what traditional and narrow academic disciplines cannot.
Mostly, what I think this means is that those who choose to engage with global health issues are also those who have a particular energy and drive to tackle it head on. No doubt about it – people who are here are people who want to be here.
As we reflected, we quizzed our classmates about their first impressions and challenges they have met. The resounding conclusion was that the biggest challenge was also the biggest opportunity. The diversity of both the course and the class are hard to adjust to, such as the different teaching styles, but this is also what makes this course have so much potential.
From ourselves and on behalf of our classmates, we are looking forward to contributing to this blog on various Global Health topics as we ourselves learn about them over the coming months.
Thanks for reading.