Deciding on where to study dentistry is a huge decision. While the Dean of Dundee’s Dental School, Professor Mark Hector, is proud of our excellent teaching and world leading research activity, where “our students enjoy a supportive and friendly environment that responds to their needs and respects cultural diversity,” what do students themselves think ?
Niall McGoldrick is in Year 5. Although home is in Northern Ireland, he knew a little about Dundee when he was still at school as he has family working in the University.
He decided to study dentistry here, however, because we are consistently rated one of the UK’s top dental schools. Niall also really appreciates the lifestyle in this small Scottish city - where students account for around one-fifth of the total population.
Kamal Madhok, a fourth year student from Glasgow, echoes this. “Dundee is a small city and so it’s easy to get around; there’s a very friendly atmosphere – and you can almost get to know everyone within a semester, “ says Kamal. “We work hard and play hard – there’s a great social life here.”
Kamal considered studying in Glasgow, Newcastle and Cardiff – but opted for Dundee because the Dental School has both fewer students and a leading reputation. The 2012-2013 student total is 411, compared with 200 in every year at Britain’s larger dental schools.
“There is a tight-knit campus community,” explains Niall McGoldrick, who was President of the Dental Students Society during his fourth year. “The University societies are really good - it was nice to get involved with people from different cultures and backgrounds, to get behind causes and to take part in all the University traditions.”
Our Dental Students are very active fundraisers – often focused on their chosen professional fields such as the cleft lip palate charity SCALP and the Ben Walton Trust which raises awareness of mouth cancer and helps fund research.
Anja Visser is the 2012-2013 Dental Students Society President. She’s from Namibia, though her family now live in Lincoln, England. She decided to pursue a career in dentistry during work experience, which she found inspirational. “I then looked at Sheffield, Leeds and Glasgow – but I just found Dundee had the nicest campus and the nicest facilities.”
This is backed by Charlene Kasaven, from Chatham in south-east England. “There is a better teacher-to-student ratio than many other dental schools; the clinicians are excellent plus Dundee is good place for further research.”
Abubaker Qutieshat, from Jordan, is studying for his PhD, with a focus on restorative dentistry. He had never been to Scotland - and chose Dundee because of its international reputation in research. On arrival, he discovered a city that was ideal for him.
“It’s a very calm, quiet city,” explains Abubaker. “You can write a novel in Dundee or compose a musical masterpiece.” In his spare time, he actually enjoys river fishing - so with so many rivers and lochs within an hour of Dundee, “it’s the perfect environment for a fisherman. It’s like going to Brazil for a football fan !”
Tamer Aljamaan and Nawaf Almustafa, both from Saudi Arabia, are also studying for their PhDs with a focus on prosthodontics. They both enjoy the Dundee life and have even got used to the Scottish winters. On the work front, they appreciate the ease at which they can engage with senior academics. “ It’s a very proper environment for us to live, study and achieve a good result; there’s also a lot to do in terms of entertainment,” says Tamer.
And Dundee is also a diverse city. “ Over here, people respect everything – they have a good understanding of our culture and our religious holidays,” says Nawaf Almustafa.
The Dean of Dentistry is proud of the Dundee Dental School – its facilities, its staff and its students. And he’s not alone.