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Open Access Publications from the University of California


Welcome to the Berkeley Undergraduate Journal, a biannual publication dedicated to publishing exemplary undergraduate research in the humanities and social sciences.


International Physician Migration: A Comparative Study of Healthcare in the US, UK, & India

Physician migration patterns are a phenomenon that affects the healthcare system within developing countries, but there is no strong evidence to show why doctors migrate to the West after getting an education from elite Indian medical institutions. This study aims to explain why physicians from India choose to leave given the different push and pull factors. Prior research shows that better opportunities for higher education, socioeconomic status, upward mobility, and equitable healthcare systems contribute to why physicians are attracted to the US and the UK. This leads to the next main question: which country do doctors prefer after moving away from India, the US or the UK? With further investigation through interviews, it becomes evident that there is no actual preference for one country. Each country has unique assets within the types of healthcare and lifestyles offered. Physicians note that social networks, support systems, and recruitment are all reasons for moving to the West. Female and lower caste/class doctors with adequate resources who left India discuss that they were able to feel more valued for their merit outside of the country. Some upper caste/class physicians were privileged enough to have more autonomy when deciding where to go; for them, the West was just another option. Upper-caste narratives also shed light on the politics they fled from, such as the medical education quota system for undergraduate and postgraduate institutions. To summarize: physicians didn’t worry too much about the destination. Rather, they just wanted to leave India.

UC Berkeley Students’ Psychedelic Experiences: A Qualitative Analysis

There has been an emergence in psychedelic science in recent years, in both basic and applied research. Clinical trials have shown psychedelic drugs to be exceptionally effective in treating psychiatric illnesses such as post-traumatic stress disorder (PTSD) and depression, while other research suggests they may be effective in treating a range of other indications in the future. Outside of the lab, study of illicit psychedelics and college students has shown that use of these drugs does not correlate with higher rates of mental health problems. However, studies like these fail to understand the scope of students’ experiences and may ignore potentially rich perspectives uncovered by qualitative methodologies. Thus, I interviewed 10 students currently enrolled at UC Berkeley in order to understand their psychedelic drug experiences. I found that UC Berkeley students have a wide variety of rich experiences with these drugs, including: 1. empathogenic effects of “classic” psychedelics directed towards peers, 2. connectedness with nature, 3. healing from family trauma, 4. increasing authenticity, 5. continued use defined as a self-directed “journey,” and 6. improving students’ capacity for presence. Adverse reactions brought up by some interviewees included panic attacks, existential distress, and suicidal ideation. Overall, I found that naturalistic use of psychedelics by UC Berkeley students may occasion positive experiences worthy of future research.

Sexual Slavery in Islam and through the Islamic State

The paper is inspired by Edward Said’s Orientalism, where it is emphasized that the Occident feels the need to liberate the Orient. The reasonings of why Islam is perceived as the Orient today will be discussed, which will lead to a discussion of the Islamic State of Iraq and Syria’s (ISIS’) oppression of the Yezidi women in Iraq and Syria. In a New York Times article, “ISIS Enshrines a Theology of Rape,” Rukmini Callimachi reports several accounts of Yezidi women who successfully escaped the Islamic State of Iraq and Syria, where they were raped in the name of religion. The Islamic State of Iraq and Syria claim that sexual slavery is supported by the Quran, the holy book of Islam. Based on their claims of Quranic support, “the Islamic State [of Iraq and Syria] codifie[d] sex slavery in conquered regions of Iraq and Syria” (Callimachi, 2015). Therefore, ISIS’ claim that Islam allows such an inhumane behavior towards females will be questioned while exploring Islam’s actual stance on the subject of sexual slavery. First, the Islamic stance on sexual slavery will be explored, the emergence of the Islamic State of Iraq and Syria will be examined, followed by a thorough investigation of the perception of sexual slavery in Islam by the Islamic State of Iraq and Syria, ending with a comparison and contrast among the two stances.