I’m Chrisyl. Studying Anthropology at Brunel has been a life-changing experience – and I do not mean that lightly!
When I was studying for my A Levels and deciding about what I wanted to study at university, I simply thought about the things that I genuinely had interest in… travelling, people and culture. This was when I stumbled upon Anthropology.
Simply put, Anthropology is the study of culture. But when you delve deeper into this discipline, it is far more than that. It encourages you to change the way you see the world, in a way that genuinely makes you a better person. If there’s anything that one can gains from education, it is to learn how to be a good person. I no longer judge the rest of the world from my close-minded, Western outlook – but instead, appreciate everything that the world has to offer!
The other aspect that Anthropology encourages is that it makes you question EVERYTHING! You begin to slow down, and analyse your everyday life and the life of others, anthropologically – questioning all the infinite details. Take your everyday schooling day for example – Why are the bathrooms gendered? Why is a classroom structured in the way that it is? How do educational institutions encourage discipline?
If you’re worried about careers – here’s my advice. I picked the degree that I knew I would enjoy. Your Bachelor’s degree does not have to be something that is life-draining, you CAN choose it with the aim of enjoying it!
Most people graduate and start their careers in fields completely unrelated to their degrees. A lot of people also find themselves studying something completely different from their Master’s. Unless you want a fast-track journey into becoming a lawyer or a doctor, the subject of your first degree doesn’t actually matter. And even then, there are fantastic lawyers, doctors, financial advisors, and writers that have a background in Anthropology! Take Gillian Tett, the editor-at-large for the Financial Times, or Ann Dunham, Barack Obama’s mother – both were practicing Anthropologists!
You’re also probably thinking why Brunel?
Well, I didn’t actually intend to go to Brunel. I applied to UCL, SOAS and Goldsmith’s. I got into Goldsmith’s and spent a month there realising that I did not like it – it just didn’t feel right. I thought about re-applying to UCL and SOAS, but I remembered feeling so lost roaming around the huge buildings across London (most of the London Universities do not have a campus, and so the buildings are located all over the city).
I then looked to Brunel, after discovering that they were the only one of 4 universities in London to have a ‘proper’ campus, and the ONLY university in the UK to offer a placement year in Anthropology. I went to an open day at Brunel, and felt right at home. Everything was within an arm’s reach – Venue, the campus club; Loco’s, the campus pub; and about 4 different coffee shops and cafes! A campus university is particularly great if you want to make friends with people who are studying other courses.
But here’s the selling point… the Brunel placement year. I spent 3 months travelling Mexico, with my best friend. Yep, this dreamy version of a university placement year was my reality! In Anthropology, you can literally study anything anthropologically, anywhere. So, on a whim with my course mate, we randomly picked Mexico.
We spent 3 months volunteering at hostels (in exchange for a place to stay), whilst travelling the entirety of Mexico – from Sinaloa, to Guadalajara, to Mexico City, to Oaxaca, to Chiapas, to Cancun! Just look at the photos if you don’t believe me!
I also have course mates who went to Kenya, South Korea, Italy and Arizona! And, what’s better – this experience credits my overall degree classification in Anthropology and Professional Development!
On a final note, I want to celebrate the Anthropology academics that work here at Brunel. Because we’re such a close-knit department, the personal tutoring system is incredible. I have struggled with mental health for as long as I can remember, but having a personal tutor to talk to has positively impacted my time at Brunel. Most of our academics have about 3 or 4 tutees per academic year, which means they get to know you extremely well and they will DEFINITELY reply to your emails (unlike some of the other bigger university departments). It really is so homey here at Brunel.
To this end, I would like to welcome you to the Brunel Anthropology Department. You won’t regret it!