2017-01-18
New Straits Times - Jeremiah

Mr. Jeremiah Mak, an HKU Malaysian undergraduate student, is featured on New Straits Times on January 18, 2017.

News courtesy: New Straits Times.

Should I be an MD or a dentist? Here's what one Hong Kong University student chose

TO be a medical doctor or a dentist? That was my biggest dilemma in choosing the course to pursue in university. It's a long way away, a minimum of five years of undergraduate study is required.

So, I decided to take a 1.5 year of gap year after high school, shadowing dentists and medical doctors in both the general hospital and dental hospital back in Penang, Malaysia. It was then that I realised that being a dentist is what I can foresee myself doing in future. Why? Simply because it suited my character, a family guy who needs flexible working hours. Plus I dislike being on call!

The application process was a bit tough and stressful, as you know, The University of Hong Kong Faculty of Dentistry is prestigious and was recently just ranked No 1 in the world in 2016 and was ranked second in 2015.

It's an internationally-friendly place. All the courses are conducted solely in English and throughout your stay in Hong Kong, you will eventually pick up Mandarin and Cantonese by making local friends and acclimatising. The professors here are really helpful, knowledgeable and easily approachable. Whenever I have doubts in my studies, clinically or academically, they are always there to guide me.

The dentistry course in HKU is problem-based learning. Limited lectures serve as the guideline on what to read and you yourself have to look through the recommended textbooks, searching for the reliable sources on the internet for more information to prepare yourself better. It's not like the traditional spoon-feeding education system, there's no one CORRECT answer for any question. Professors will trigger you to think by throwing more questions and you have to find out the answers by yourself.

The best part of studying dentistry in Hong Kong is there is only ONE dental school in the whole of Hong Kong, which is the University of Hong Kong. The demand for dentists is high and the supply is never sufficient. As an international student, once I graduate I can start practicing in private clinics once I get the license without taking any entry examination because the dentistry course provided in HKU is recognised by the HKDC and HKDA.

As the dentistry course is a professional course, it mostly focuses on practical and clinical sessions, so it can’t afford to become a long exchange programme. There's a chance to go for a short exchange in the fifth year and sixth year, roughly two to three weeks. Students are free to apply to any dental school in the world by themselves.

My hall life was pretty interesting. I stayed in hall during my first year. I took part as one of the front stage actors in the drama club and performed during the anniversary dinner for my hall. It was a precious memory to me, teaming up with local hallmates and performing on stage with my broken Cantonese.

Meanwhile, I am also part of the HKU Student Ambassador Scheme for three years, welcoming exchange students and representatives from different universities around the globe, taking them around HK and sharing my experiences of living in HK.

In my free time, I paddle for the HKDA dragonboat team and go hiking with my friends and Malaysian mates. It helps keep me in shape and relieve some tension from studying.

I never feel homesick though I'm away from my family because there's a big Malaysian community in HKU and in HK. From time to time, there are events like the Mid Autumn Festival, gathering all the Malaysians and celebrating together! The Malaysian seniors are kind enough to share their stories and help out whenever I need help! It's like my second home in HK.

Jeremiah Mak

Bachelor of Dental Surgery,

Year 3 The University of Hong Kong

Read More : http://www.nst.com.my/news/2017/01/205162/should-i-be-md-or-dentist-heres-what-one-hong-kong-university-student-chose

Back