Jesse Vargas from the USA
Why did you choose the Master’s programme in Applied Cultural Analysis at Lund University?
“I originally intended to pursue a Bachelor’s in anthropology, but a series of events led me to focus my efforts toward psychology instead. I was presented an opportunity to study abroad during the last year of my undergraduate studies, and I chose Lund University as the host institution. During that time, I took a course on cultural perspectives on health, lifestyle and medicine which rekindled my fascination with ethnography by allowing me to explore the interdisciplinarity surrounding the study of health and the implications for both the individual and society. Upon my return, I began the search for graduate programmes and the MACA programme seemed tailor-made to my personal, professional and academic interests.”
Why did you choose Lund University and not the University of Copenhagen?
“My previous experience of having studied at Lund University was the primary reason why I chose Lund over Copenhagen. Lund is large enough to be a bustling place with countless opportunities to interact with others, but small enough where you don’t have to look too far to find tranquility either. In true Swedish fashion, Lund is ‘lagom’ (just right).”
Why did this particular programme appeal to you?
"Without a doubt, the MACA programme’s emphasis on application is what appealed to me the most. Throughout the course of my studies, I have come to understand the distinction between knowledge and actionable knowledge. While they are both useful to understand complex every-day phenomena, the clients you will work with expect knowledge they can act upon. The MACA programme trains you not only to produce it, but to deliver it in a useful way as well.”
Why should someone choose this programme?
“This programme is for anyone that wants to solve real-world problems for clients in the public and private sector.”
Did you gain any practical experience?
“The first year of our programme had me collaborating within a team and with a client on an issue that we were both facing: inclusive mobility. Through our project, we demonstrated that the concept of inclusive mobility had to be unpacked and taken apart, as its implications meant two different things from the engineering and cultural perspectives. We did this through teamwork, research design, empirical data generation and analysis and delivery: all crucial aspects to a successful project that you develop in MACA.”
What was your favourite course?
“My favourite course was Fieldwork and Project Management; this is the course that I described before. After working on a small team project with Lund Municipality the previous term, I was eager to begin this larger project with a traffic consulting agency. In this course, the entire life-cycle of a cultural analysis was emphasised: from the initial project pitch to hand-over of the deliverable to the client. Teams met periodically with course supervisors to provide status updates, but otherwise the execution and success of the projects were entirely in our hands. This emphasises the entrepreneurial aspect of cultural analysis as a budding field, and it reinforces self-sufficiency through teamwork.”