What it’s like being a Social Anthropology student
Written by Ruby Goodley, a 4th year Social Anthropology student
Hello, my name is Ruby Goodley and I am a Fourth year BSocSci Social Anthropology student. I am completing my final year after spending an exchange year in Vrije Universiteit Amsterdam! I was drawn to Anthropology because, as a subject, it combines my interests in politics, history, languages, cultures and sociology. I came to study at Manchester for not only the department’s specific interest in the social aspects of anthropology, but also because the city of Manchester is rich in musical and multicultural history.
The BSocSci Social Anthropology course is designed to provide you with a grounding in anthropology in your first and second year, with the third year structured for you to specialise and interact with the areas of anthropology you have become interested in. Each year is made up of 120 credits, you are required to take 100 credits in anthropology modules and given the option of 20 credits to take a module in languages, University College of Interdisciplinary Learning (UCIL) or any other module in the School of Social Sciences. As you progress through the course your mandatory modules decrease and you are given more options! Typically, an anthropology student will have around nine-ten contact hours, which refers to lectures and tutorials. The teaching styles vary depending on the lecturer and anthropology students take a range of assessments, such as written exams, essays, group presentations, multimedia assessments (film, sound etc.). The bulk of the work you do in anthropology is your independent study, there is a lot of reading. However, you are given a range of support at Manchester, from the academic advisor, peer mentors, student representatives and lecturers office hours, you will not be stuck for help if you are feeling overwhelmed.
Manchester has made me fall in love with anthropology. Some of my favourite modules have been Regional studies of culture where we learnt about a lecturer in the department’s specific area of study. We studied from the anthropology of the arctic to the anthropology of Britain. This module made you really interact and learn about a specific cultural place. In addition, the anthropology of kinship, gender and sex alllowed me to question how adopted children relate to their parents, or what we perceive as gender cross-culturally. I have also taken British Sign language as one of my optional modules this year, which gives you a connection and way to interact with the huge deaf community in Manchester.
Beyond studying at Manchester, there are so many other opportunities offered through the university. There is an option to undertake a semester or year abroad in a number of different countries, which gives you a chance to engage with different types of anthropology and cultures. Furthermore, the anthropology department offers a chance to sit on the Active Anthropology Society Committee where you can organise events with peers, apply to internships in your first or second year, and recently there is an option to gain a work placement through the department. Outside of the anthropology department, the University of Manchester has over 400 societies, ranging from cheerleading to anime society, so you will not be stuck for choice!
In short, I have thoroughly enjoyed living in Manchester, not only have I learnt how to see cultures and the world from a completely fresh perspective. But, being in Manchester has helped me become more rounded, independent and happy about life. I hope you choose to come and study at Manchester too!