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Leaving Singapore to study orthodontics at Sydney

18 November 2020
Meet Andrew Zhang, a current postgraduate dentistry student

Andrew is the only international student and one of only four students in his orthodontics cohort. Learn how he settled into life in Australia and his experience of the program so far.

Orthodontics student Andrew Zhang in clinic

Andrew Zhang, Doctor of Clinical Dentistry student from Singapore and orthodontic registrar at Sydney Dental Hospital.

Andrew admits he didn't always have plans to specialise when he was going through dental school. After graduating in 2014 and practising as a general dentist in Singapore for four years, Andrew wanted to broaden his horizons.

"I was drawn into the aesthetic concepts behind orthodontics, where we actually take a step back from treating the dentition and look at areas such as craniofacial growth and facial harmony and balance," he said.

The University of Sydney orthodontics program was always a top choice for Andrew. He was drawn by its international reputation, renowned academic staff and vigorous clinical training. Australia's climate, beautiful scenery and laid-back lifestyle also helped his decision.

"I came here initially feeling a bit apprehensive about getting out of my comfort zone and not having any friends here," but Andrew said he has felt very welcomed from the start and has found it fairly easy to meet people, both at university and outside.

"One of the perks of living in a cosmopolitan city like Sydney is the ease of meeting new people," he said. "Studying overseas has allowed me to experience life in a different country. I have been able to get to know more about the local culture and people."

The highlight of his university experience so far has been attending conferences both in Australia and overseas in the US and Singapore. "At Sydney, we're encouraged to participate in conferences to learn about the most up-to-date research and developments in the field of orthodontics as well as to broaden our social network with fellow colleagues globally."

Studying at Sydney has also helped Andrew to develop an open mind about his practice. The supervised clinics, didactic and research aspects of the program are taught by a range of academics and clinicians. "We are therefore exposed to a myriad of different schools of thoughts and treatment philosophies," he explains.

Soon to be graduating, Andrew says he had initially planned to return to Singapore to work as an orthodontist, yet more and more he wishes to keep his options open. "As to where I am heading, I am still currently undecided."

Interested in specialising?

The University of Sydney School of Dentistry offers a range of clinical programs for dentists with at least two years of experience working as a general dentist. Specialist courses include:

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