I have always known that culture is a huge factor in a person’s decision-making process, but in this class I learned just how much that applied to their health decisions. I have grown up in the western world but I have also seen the world of African shamans, but for some reason it never clicked in my head that people would rather use a severed hyena’s paw than get a vaccine. This class made me think harder about the cultures and conflicts that surround medicine. It also have me a lot of insight that I will need to remember as I go into the medical field. I cannot simply ignore a patient’s wishes or beliefs; rather I should adapt and try to work with them and their belief system. I also learned that just because two people are from the same country, or even the same town, you cannot assume that their cultures and beliefs about the world are the same. Culture is a more complicated concept that I thought before this class.
I really enjoyed that this class did not take on a specific belief or viewpoint; it took different perspectives and made us think critically about what we thought. Many classes seem to try to indoctrinate students with information but this class made us choose our own beliefs and standpoints by showing us all angles of the story. I also liked learning about the countries we chose for the activity posts. I found it interesting because I have been to Ethiopia many times and half of my family is from Addis Ababa but I still had the opportunity to learn things that I had never imagined would happen in Ethiopia.
The only thing that I did not like or found strange was the fact that I had to put a lot more hours into this 200 level anthropology class than I did for my 300 level anthropology class.