Just as no two people have the same “dental imprint,” no two college experiences are the same. Degree choices, location, and course selections all play a vital role in shaping those pivotal and formative years of your life. When it comes time to decide the right educational path for you, do you find yourself teetering between your desire to attend dental school and explore the world around you? If so, enrolling in a dentistry degree program abroad may be just the ticket for that one-of-a-kind experience best suited to your individual needs.
Why Earn a Dental Degree Abroad
Dental degree programs often require a rigorous course load, complete with subjects from biology to mathematics and English to chemistry. Adventurous dental students may feel that the intense nature of dental school doesn’t allow for them to complete a semester abroad away from their normal professors, schedules, labs, and libraries. Now consider what would happen if you were able to find ALL of those things in one place abroad, for the entirety of your dental degree program. You’ll have no trouble being able to fully immerse yourself in a unique cultural experience while completing your dental degree abroad!
Many people choose to pursue dentistry degrees abroad in order to lower their schooling expenses and/or to cut down on the number of required years of study. If you intend to stay long-term in the same country in which you choose to earn your degree, dental degree programs can provide you with the opportunity to gain hands-on learning experience and valid accreditation in your country of choice, which will overall save you a lot of time and money. Now that’s definitely something you can sink your teeth into!
However, the requirements for accreditation and certification vary from state to state and country to country. If you’re looking to expand your horizons through international schooling, but intend to return to your home country afterward, be sure to check in with the proper institutions and boards in your own country to ensure you are truly getting everything out of your international dentistry degree. That being said, some countries, such as the U.S. and Canada, have reciprocity for certain degrees of study, so you may be able to attain a dental degree in one and live or work in the other, opening even more doors to future employment opportunities.
How does anyone decide where to study dentistry and spend the “best four years of their life” when the possibilities are endless? Looking for a place to bulk up on local history between cleaning sessions? The United Kingdom will more than meet your needs. If adventure’s more your style, Australia may be just the ticket. More of a foodie (who always remembers to floss after every meal)? Check out all that the United States’ culinary scenes and dental programs have to offer.
If you’re hoping to spend your days filling cavities and your nights cramming in visits to Parliament, national museums, and nearby castles, a dentistry degree program in the United Kingdom may be just what the doctor (or dentist) ordered. Be sure to take a look at the numerous dental degree programs available in London, which will afford you access to the likes of the London Bridge and Buckingham Palace in your spare time. Also, don’t forget to stop in at any of the dozens of free museums/galleries/parks and other attractions in the city while you’re there!
Is getting you to commit to a cultural tour more like pulling teeth? Maybe parasailing is more your jam? Check out dentistry degrees in Australia, where you can perform a root canal in the morning and then go surfing on the Gold Coast or people watch in Federation Square in Melbourne in the afternoon. Hoping to permanently relocate? Dentistry falls under the “General Skilled Migration” category for Australian visas, making it a great career choice for an easier transition to “Down Under” living.
Already from that side of the world and more eager to explore the delicious cuisines available in the United States? Check out any number of undergraduate dental degree programs throughout America. In New Orleans you can relax after organic chemistry with a heaping bowl of jambalaya or indulge in some late night deep dish pizza in Chicago after physics. And, on the plus side, many schools, specialty schools in particular, have low student-to-teacher ratios, meaning the chances are pretty high of getting to know your professors.
Dentistry Degree Programs
Whether you’re a fresh high school graduate looking to “dip your toes in the water” of molars and mouthwash or an experienced co-ed hoping to expand your knowledge of gingivitis and bicuspids with a graduate dental degree, you’re sure to find the right dentistry degree program abroad for you.
Undergraduate dentistry degree programs vary in length from about three years to five years. For some countries, such as the U.S., you will be required to take the DAT, or Dental Admission Test, (or something similar), which will test your knowledge of natural sciences and problem solving skills prior to admission. Hopefully passing becomes of one of your “crown”-ing achievements (even if they don’t give out a “plaque” for it); scoring high on the DAT would definitely help you make a good “impression” on your applications! In general, if you choose to study dentistry abroad through an undergraduate degree program, expect a heavy science course load with an emphasis on biology and chemistry.
The structure of dental degree programs will vary greatly from university to university, so it’s important to consider how you best learn as well as your potential career path when contemplating the universities you will apply to. After all, you don’t want to bite off more than you can chew. Some universities, such as King’s College London, with the largest dental institute in the U.K., offer both undergrad and post-grad degrees, with an emphasis on research. Other universities place a greater emphasis on lectures, seminars, and clinical practice, while providing students with a personal tutor to assist in their studies!
Benefits & Challenges
Obtaining a dental degree abroad does come with its fair share of challenges, most notably, ensuring that your program is fully accredited in your home country (or that the credits can be transferred to an accredited college at home). If your degree program is not recognized in your home country, it will mean even more schooling (upwards of an additional two to three years) upon your arrival back home.
Then there’s the added stress that dentistry degree programs aren’t just uber competitive in your country, dental degree programs are uber competitive EVERYWHERE. All dental schools have a finite amount of slots that they fill each year. Applying to more dental schools will increase your odds of getting in, but expect just as much, if not more, competition at English-speaking international dentistry degree programs, who tend to receive applicants from all over the world while reserving a good deal of these spots for their own citizens.
On the plus side, once you have gotten into your dream dentistry degree program, these programs can often be much cheaper than programs in your home country, particularly ones located in Eastern Europe (of which there are a number to choose), even with the additional years of study. And with student debt continually on the rise, price is definitely a factor to consider carefully.
While you may find that living in a different country can be cheaper than your own (especially in a smaller city), living abroad will also help you take advantage of (read: spend) that cash burning a hole in your pocket. Earning a degree abroad means lots of added opportunities for touring/eating/adventuring around your new home and exploring a new culture, which also means a whole lot more reasons to smile.
Don’t let your degree choice hinder your ability or desire to explore a new location or culture. Embrace (and combine) your passions to make your dream of becoming a dental professional/world explorer a reality by finding the right dentistry abroad program for you today.