Practicum experience is an essential part of your education in dentistry. Sure, there are internships available in your home country, but why not broaden your global outlook by receiving some of your hands-on training overseas?
By participating in a dentistry internship abroad you’ll gain a better appreciation of global healthcare issues while providing an important service to a local community. As part of your internship, you’ll work directly with practicing and skilled dentists, so you can grow your own knowledge and skills while helping those in need of great dental care.
When you go overseas you’ll have opportunities to see how experts care for dental and periodontal diseases that are less common at home. This invaluable experience will provide you with insight and a competitive edge.
Working as a dental intern in a hospital overseas will lend you insight as to how dentists do their work in your host country. You’ll likely find it to be quite the contrast to what you’d experience at home, but that’s why you’re heading abroad anyway. During your internship, you’ll have the chance to shadow local and visiting dentists and assist in providing care to members of the local community.
Community Outreach Programs
Some internships involve tagging along with a team of health professionals who go into various hard to reach rural communities to set up and run temporary health clinics. This important community outreach work ensures that people who live far from hospitals can receive the care that they need. You’ll also have the chance to participate in educational projects such as demonstrating good tooth-brushing habits and leading discussions about dental hygiene.
Where to Go
Most dentistry internships abroad are in developing countries where the methods of dental medicine may differ from your previous experiences.
This West African nation has a great need for aspiring dentists like you. While in Ghana, you’ll have opportunities to experience how medical clinics and hospitals are very different from the ones you know. You’ll learn how oral diseases that are common here but rare at home are treated. Many programs have a community outreach element where you’ll have the chance to visit local communities to teach classes on good dental hygiene practices.
This island nation has much more to it than resorts set on picturesque Caribbean coastlines. It also has a vibrant and dynamic population ready to share their country’s beauty with you. While interning in the Dominican Republic you’ll be placed at a hospital or neighborhood dental clinic where you’ll be helping to provide an essential service all the while discovering what dental care looks like in a developing nation.
More than just a tourist destination, Thailand is a popular place to intern abroad for dentistry students. Hospitals in Bangkok and Chang Mai frequently partner with internship programs offering you the chance to get practical experience in a setting very different from what you might find back home.
Although Tanzania is well known for its wildlife safaris, this nation faces the challenge of having a shortage of medical personnel and up-to-date equipment. This is especially true in rural areas. While interning in Tanzania, you’ll shadow and assist dentists as they provide much needed dental help to local populations. You’ll gain unique insight and learn how to treat advanced cases that you might not encounter elsewhere.
While Spain has modern and readily accessible dental care, it is a good place to learn about the more subtle differences between dental care in the United States and in Europe. You’ll see how dentistry is administered in a country with universal healthcare. When you’re not in the clinic you’ll have many opportunities to experience life in Spain, from large plates of paella to flamenco dancing after midnight.
Planning Your Trip
How to Choose a Dentistry Internship Program
As long as you’ve been accepted to or are enrolled in a professional dentistry degree program, you’ll be eligible for most internships. The more experience and training you have, the more you will be able to do once the program begins. If you’re just starting out, you will be limited to shadowing qualified practitioners. Those with practical experience will often have the opportunity to work directly with patients.
Programs tend to last between two to six weeks. The longer the program, the more opportunities you will have to explore different specialties and departments.
Health & Safety
Many internship programs include insurance as part of the program fees. Beyond simple common-sense precautions, always heed the advice of your instructors to stay as safe as possible. It is also a good idea to learn more about any particular health and safety concerns by asking your program coordinators and learning more through the Department of State and the Centers for Disease Control.
Other Need to Know
Many programs require a working knowledge of the local language. This isn’t always the case, but it’s important to find out beforehand how much of your practicum will be in English. Some programs even include language instruction as part of the coursework.