Renee Gonzalez from the USA
Why did you choose the Master’s programme in Applied Cultural Analysis at Lund University?
"Essentially Latin American studies is a much focused form of cultural studies. So for my Master’s, instead of narrowing down my focus, I kind of went back out. I knew I wanted to do a Masters and I knew I wanted to do something related to culture studies, anthropology and ethnography. I also knew I wanted to live abroad. I had studied and lived extentially in Latin America so I wanted a new perspective, which is why I focused on applying for programmes in Europe. I found the MACA programme, a dual programme between the University of Copenhagen and Lund University, and I liked the advantage of getting two countries for the price of one. So that is why I was attracted to the programme."
Why did you choose Lund University and not the University of Copenhagen?
"I applied to both the University of Copenhagen and Lund University, but I am glad I got in on the Swedish side, as it is a lot more multidisciplinary. You have people come in from all different backgrounds – people who studied straightforward anthropology, people who did history, people who did some sort of cultural studies and people who went to business school. So it’s a good mix."
Why did this particular programme appeal to you?
"I like the idea of the multidisciplinarity of it. The programme borrows a lot from traditional studies in anthropology and ethnography, but it has this more contemporary approach to problem-solving and critical thinking that borrows from a lot of disciplines. Like in my thesis I used a lot of economic analysis. You take a lot of different areas of studies and approaches to study."
Why should someone choose this programme?
"This programme gives you a great opportunity for professional growth as well a personal growth. And that is because they take so many different disciplines in consideration and I think that provides for a more well-grounded educational experience. And so, you take these critical thinking skills that you have acquired through working, or your previous education background, and you really take them to another level. Part of it taking it to another level is the fact that you are able to study in both Sweden and Denmark, so you get a good mixture of both."
Did you gain any practical experience?
"We never have classes in our last year. Sometimes we have check-points or seminars with discussions. The last year is really dedicated to doing a work placement that functions as practical experience but also data collection for your thesis. And then you write your thesis. I am writing my thesis about craft beer in Denmark and the US, and therefore spend my time working for a Danish brewery."
What was your favourite course?
"The best course that I took was a specialisation course where we did a journal article. I thought that was great, because a lot of people in our programme do end up going to academia. So if you have never written a journal article that is a good exercise in disposition. I really liked it because we read a lot of really interesting articles and then we would talk to the professors who wrote them to kind of pick their brains. And I think that is one of the texts I am most proud of producing. So, I just think it was a really good exercise. Also the way the class was structured was great, as we got some guidance but also had to figure it out on our own. We were given the tools to write something. That was probably the best course we had. We also got to peer-review each other’s work, which is a really great example of that there are a lot of different writing styles and approaches to problem solving. None of them are wrong, and none is greater than the other. It all goes back to the idea of the multidisciplinarity of the programme. There are a lot of ways to reach a conclusion, and there are a lot of different conclusions."