I first learned about the London School of Hygiene & Tropical Medicine a few years ago. Though I was pretty much fresh out of undergrad, I was intrigued by the historic institution in the beautiful art deco building. On first read, the School’s ornate name quickly stuck in my mind.
In 2009, I had the privilege of meeting a researcher in East Africa who was a graduate of the School. When I asked for advice on the best place to study Global Health, he unreservedly said LSHTM. I figured an alumnus would be biased, but he happened to work for an American school of public health at the time. And a pretty good one at that! I couldn’t help but take note.
Since then, I have wanted to come to London for many reasons: to experience a world class city, go to one of the best schools in the field, and most importantly, connect with classmates from diverse backgrounds. Even though formal classroom learning is incredibly important to the graduate experience, it forms only one piece of the “education puzzle.” The other pieces are comprised of informal discussions, knowledge sharing, and new friendships with peers. Ultimately, I wanted my academic experience to be as multicultural as Global Health is in practice.
A few months into my studies, and I can confirm that I made the right decision in coming to LSHTM. It is every bit as international as I could have hoped. The best example lies in my health services seminar. Every Friday I have the opportunity to debate hypothetical scenarios with classmates from the Philippines, China, Japan, Pakistan, Iran, Colombia, Tanzania, Kenya, Nigeria, Canada, the United Kingdom, and many others.
London School students not only come from all over the world and from various professional backgrounds – they also share in the sort of open-mindedness and sociability that allows for honest, lively discussions. Whether it’s discussing a country’s health system or the social determinants of disease, each interaction benefits from rich personal anecdotes and informed opinions.
Though the MSc. year is relatively short, I’m excited to share these next several months with such an extraordinary group. I hope to make the most of it!
(credit: Jeffrey Matthews)