The sense of school life

Recently, I have received many emails from perspective students asking about the school; curriculums, assignments and so on. I would like to briefly explain what I have learnt so far at this school.

September to December is called term 1. We covered the foundations which are used in Public Health Research such as statistics, epidemiology, qualitative research methods and economics, These were compulsory classes with approximately 100 students. In all honesty, this was not the most exciting term for me. First, I have an allergy to the word “compulsory”. Second, these classes were more theory based and not that much practical. Coming from a very practical background of medicine, I felt slightly frustrated.

After a long Christmas break, the fun part began. We could take two intensive courses per month from January to February. The school allowed us to choose from more than 50 classes such as health economics, epidemiology of communicable disease and advanced medical statistics. It was difficult to choose the two courses because every course was appealing. I picked health promotion as well as conflicts and health. Having spent my first 7 years in an area where there were many conflicts, I have always had an interest in the relationship between conflicts and health. The corse covered theories behind conflicts and issues caused by disagreements.

One of the articles I found very interesting was an article by Paul Collier , the author of “The bottom Billion”. In the article, he states that the cause of civil wars is not grievances such as differences in religions but instead greed such as money. Greed legitimizing grievance but the grievance is not a direct cause of a civil war. He mentioned about the civil war in Sirra Leone over diamonds as an example. Even though many people think that the reason for civil war is grievance, the author believes that they used grievance to recruit soldiers and obtain international attention. The real cause of the conflicts was greed which were diamond. Those were part of the topics we learnt from term 2. Interesting, right?

During February and March, we could take two intensive courses per month again. I took economic evaluation and management. Both classes had group work assignments as one of he main evaluations. It was very interesting to work with people from different backgrounds such as finance and academic. I went to medical school straight after graduating from science in high school. Hence, most of my friends from high school and university were science people. In the management class, we did case study of management issues of an international aids organization. During the group work, I encountered situation that people from different background were able to shine a light on the problems involved several times.

Now I am enjoying a month long Easter Break. This is the longest break in 8 years for me. It is nice to have a long break but at the same time, I am excited to go back to school in 2 weeks.



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