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  • Writer's pictureJessica Beresford

Intercalation Stories - MSc International Disaster Management

Doing a Masters as part of a totally different institute (the Humanitarian Conflict Response Institute), studying a totally different programme may feel counter-productive as a med student. In some ways it is - it’s not going to hone down speciality skills or get you hands on experience. But, what it did do, was remind me how much else there is out there to learn - what makes the world spin, and how we can help others on an international scale. 

As someone interested in humanitarian work, politics and creativity, this Masters gave me space to explore parts of myself and my learning that I’d sidelined throughout med school. I started to delve deeper into international politics, history, the climate crisis, communication via the arts, supply chains, ethics, morality and a variety of other topics - which made me feel I was more in touch with myself and the world around me. 

With a massive range of topics available, you can make the course more closely or loosely aligned with medicine depending on your interests; I took a health mobilities module which explored health inequalities and the movement of supplies (and people) in the current world, but I also took a module called the Anthropology of Violence which explored the mechanisms of violence particularly against women and the corresponding methods of resistance. 

The timetable throughout the week is much more chilled than medicine, but don’t be lulled into a false sense of security - spoiler alert - a Masters is NOT an easy ride. We did 8 essays, 8 projects and a dissertation across the year, which is almost double what is required on some of the BSCs, and it runs through summer which can be a bit of a drawback if you wanted to use this time to travel. (It also costs a bomb so remember to work out your finances beforehand) BUT, it is manageable if you use your time wisely and work part time, and I managed to get away for 4 weeks over the summer!

 I would recommend this course to anyone who wants to explore wider worldly and disciplinary interests whilst still being able to link it back to health work. If you want an easy breezy year this is probably not the one for you, but the workload through the weeks is super manageable, there’s still lots of time to relax, and you’ll gain a whole new outlook on the world and where your work fits into it.

Feel free to message me if you have any questions! 

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