JCU dentistry student talks about his placement experience
Fifth-year Bachelor of Dental Surgery international student, Ryan Yue-Hin See (also a former OzTREKK student!), moved from his hometown of Toronto, Canada to come to Australia to study in the tropics with James Cook University in Cairns.
See said James Cook University’s unique rural and remote placement program was an unmissable Australian opportunity.
“I had a couple of offers available and JCU just seemed much more appealing than the other offers. I just wanted to study in the tropics. The facilities were brand new facilities and there was a big focus on rural and remote and underserviced populations. That really appealed to me and the kind of things that I am interested in. I knew there was a lot of work available, so I thought it would be a good experience,” he said.
He said the rural and remote placements that JCU Dentistry provide help to transition students into real-world practice and give them a chance to apply learned skills on real-life patients.
“A lot of personal development has happened in the last two years. I mean five years is a pretty long time so, a combination of up-to-date training they [JCU] provide at the union level and the exposures we’re given from the rural and remote placements and working with really great supervisors in the clinic,” said See.
See’s said due to the array of clinical specialists that JCU employs to lecture and teach students, he has gained a valuable array of new skills that will advance him in his future career.
“Most of them tend to be retired dentists and they bring a wealth of knowledge. They don’t tend to be Cairns locals because they are fly in, fly out. They come from all over the place really. Everyone has their own sort of thing—just a range of personalities, a range of skills and doing things. How to handle different situations,” he said.
See said he got the life-changing opportunity to complete a four-week international placement at JCU’s sister university in Sri Lanka.
“It was fantastic. It was just life changing really. The university was really generous and sent us and one of our senior lecturers back to his home country (Sri Lanka). So, he showed us around and the professors that we met were his old students, which was kind of cool to see that continuity. We saw lots of different things. Lots of stuff you would expect in southeast Asia and low socio-economic areas.”
On placement, See got the chance to explore Sri Lankan historical landmarks and learn the language.
“The professor—it being his home country—showed us around and we got to go sightseeing and have language classes as well. Lots of cultural exposure.”
See said one of the most memorable experiences he had in Sri Lanka was walking up Sigiriya.
“We hiked up a place called The Lions Rock. The locals call it Sigiriya. It’s this big monument similar to Uluru, and you have to climb up all these steps all the way to the top and at the top there used to be a castle,” he said.
Ryan See said that over the five years he’s lived in Australia it has become his second home and the support he has received through JCU has helped him integrate into the Cairns community.
“I love the lifestyle. I think more than anything else the people kind of make the place. It’s a bit cliché, but they have become my family over the last two years.”
See said each year has its own landmark, and if he was to give advice to a prospective JCU international student, he would tell them to go for it and take a chance.
Apply to JCU Dentistry directly from high school
If you’re interested in improving the health of people who live in tropical, rural, and remote places, then the Bachelor of Dental Surgery program at JCU might be for you. This five-year undergraduate degree provides students with the knowledge, skills and attitudes they need to become competent practitioners of dentistry. While it is a broad-based program including all aspects of dental practice, it also has a special focus on issues of special concern to the northern Australian region, particularly those relating to tropical, rural and Indigenous practice.
JCU Dentistry accepts applications from high school graduates or from those who have completed university studies.
Program: Bachelor of Dental Surgery (BDS)
Location: Cairns, Queensland
Semester intake: February
Duration: 5 years