A fresh perspective
A specialist dentistry placement with us will set you apart from anyone who chose to play it safe and stay in the UK. In our partner hospitals you’ll gain valuable insight into how dentists in the developing world adjust to common problems like under resourced wards, lack of modern equipment, high patient numbers, and more.
YOUR ELECTIVE, CUSTOM-MADE
‘We can make it happen’ - words we live by. Advise us on the areas of dentistry that are of particular interest to you and we’ll create a bespoke experience down to the very last detail. Note that these experiences are far from ordinary; they are meticulously tailored placements specially designed to meet your individual requirements. Once you’ve signed up our Elective Experts will do everything from overseeing visa administration to organising your hospital placement and beyond. Our specialists also manage and regularly visit our overseas operations, meaning they’ve got their expert eyes on every aspect of your placement.
This is your chance to expand your knowledge base and gain highly particular skills that you simply won’t be able to get in the UK. To do this, you’ll work with specially designated in-country supervisors to examine a cross-section of conditions that are extremely uncommon, sometimes even non-existent in the UK. As healthcare is relatively expensive in the developing world and distances to the nearest hospitals can be too far for many patients, you’ll also come across cases that will be at stages far more advanced than you’re used to. This means you’ll get involved with everything from extractions to treating extreme cases of decay and beyond.
ON THE GROUND
When you’re on the ground our hospitable teams will provide support 24 hours a day. Our crews work in our private, fully catered, security-guarded houses that are exclusively for the use of Work World students. You’ll also be given a login to MyTrip, our online elective information and application tool. Our sole purpose is to create tailored healthcare placements of an outstanding quality, which is why we’re proud to offer the best dental electives available. Take action now and take yourself further than you ever thought you could.
Immerse yourself in the local culture and don't be afraid to try new things
David Li, Griffith University 2016Read more
Every Thursday night is like Christmas, with so much good food and drinks.
Kevin Zhang, University of Melbourne 2015Read more
Patient outcomes can be challenging. You quickly learn to accept that way of doing things.
Abhayjit Dhillon, James Cook University 2014Read more
It was great to have other dental students around, to share stories and experiences with.
Brendan Clarnette, University of Queensland 2014Read more
I feel that I have only seen the tip of the iceberg of what Nepal has to offer.
Graham Wong, University of Queensland 2014Read more
Destinations where this elective is available
Tanzania - Arusha
The energetic city of Arusha can be found just inland from Africa’s magnificent east coast. There are countless opportunities for fun both in and beyond the boundaries of the city. But if you’re interested in spotting lions on safari, observing Kilimanjaro from the summit of a nearby mountain, or scuba diving in the deep, Arusha may well be for you.
People living in developing countries often deem oral health less of a priority. As such, advanced pathologies and extensive decay are common, and as patients from rural areas often cannot afford to keep returning for care, extractions are often the only form of treatment available. You’ll also observe, and in some cases treat, dental caries, periodontitis, orthodontics, all minor, and some major surgeries. The busy departments we work with can see up to 380 patients per month, meaning you’ll have ample opportunity to get the experience you need.
Practicing dentistry in Arusha isn’t just about the fantastic clinical experience you’ll get. You’ll also be stepping into a new world of culture, customs and cuisine that will provide a lifetime’s worth of memories. There’ll never be a dull moment in the city, where lively food and craft markets, bars and restaurants can be found around every corner. Arusha also has vast plains where on safari you'll see cheetahs, wildebeest, lions and zebra roam free. Spending a weekend on a palm tree-lined beach before enjoying sunset cocktails on the beautiful paradise island of Zanzibar is also a must.
Gaining experience through a placement in the city of Arusha will provide an invaluable insight into the Tanzanian healthcare system. But you’ll have to travel to the country’s more remote reaches to understand the extent of the challenges faced by local professionals. This add-on will afford you the opportunity to live with the Maasai tribe in a traditional hut with our host family. In the mornings you’ll spend time at a local clinic where you’ll treat walk-in patients with both traditional and modern remedies. Afternoons will be spent with your personal guide who will introduce you to Maasai culture including trying on traditional clothing, watching dances, hiking to sacred tribal sites, and watching goat sacrifices.
Tanzania - Dar es Salaam
Dar es Salaam is the second most expansive city in Tanzania. It is rapidly becoming an urban metropolis, but being a coastal city surrounded by game parks, mountains, and forests, the region has a wealth of natural beauty that begs exploration. There are stunning white sand beaches here too, which is not what people typically expect from our African destinations.
We are partnered with the tertiary referral hospital in Dar es Salaam and work closely with the dental department, which means you can focus your attentions on oral surgery, oral pathology and medicine, as well as preventative and community dentistry. Prosthodontics, periodontology, and cariology are practiced here too, so be sure to display your existing experience if you want to get more deeply involved. This placement will also give you opportunity to witness cases typical to Tanzania - for example many people suffer from dental fluorosis due to contaminated water and poor diet.
Dar es Salaam provides the perfect mix of opportunities that come from living in an up and coming cosmopolitan city, with the ultimate traveller’s paradise beckoning from across the water. Just an hour from the mainland Zanzibar’s white sands and turquoise waters are a mecca for divers, backpackers and partygoers. Travel inland and you will find amazing safari options at Mikumi National Park and Selous Game Reserve, or you can take advantage of the affordable buses to visit the Northern Safari Circuit and the famous Mt. Kilimanjaro.
To complement your city-based placement in Dar es Salaam this add-on will show you the challenges faced by Tanzanian practitioners in a more rural setting. Staying in a rural village located in the stunning foothills of the Viduna Mountains, you will enjoy the hospitality of a local family. Your mornings will be spent working at a busy healthcare clinic examining cases and observing the local specialists at work. You’ll spend time in the afternoons with your personal guide who will introduce you to the culture and customs of the local community. This will include cycling to sugar cane plantations, visiting a nearby waterfall, learning traditional drumming and dancing, and more.
Nepal - Pokhara
Pokhara is a vibrant city that allows adventurers to learn not only about a fascinating ancient culture, but also about how locals have adapted to an ever-modernising world. What’s more the entire experience will be set to a dramatic backdrop, as Pokhara is set in a valley at the base of the Himalayas. Wandering through the city itself is charming experience, and outside its boundaries you can go paragliding, hike through the snow-capped mountains, explore ancient temples, and go tiger tracking in the forests.
The Dentistry Department in our partner hospital in Pokhara receives an average of 40 patients per day in their OPD. Here you’ll assist in and observe a broad range of procedures like extractions, fillings, root canals, scaling, RCT, fitting braces and occasionally cleft lip and palate surgeries. The Head of Department is also a maxillofacial surgeon, so you’ll be able to tap into their expertise at your leisure. Your supervisors and other specialists will be on hand to impart their knowledge and wisdom throughout.
With the Annapurna Mountains piercing the sky in the distance, Pokhara is nothing if not beautiful. In the city itself you’ll find the pace of life agreeable, and trips to local temples, lakes, and a spot of hilltop yoga at sunrise will help keep you in a perpetually positive frame of mind. Of course there are bars and restaurants here too, some of which can be found on the banks of the peaceful Lake Phewa, which is a short walk from the Work the World house. Beyond the city limits things get a bit more adventurous with bungee jumping, white water rafting, safaris, paragliding through the mountains, and more.
On this once in a lifetime placement you’ll pick up some truly unique skills and information living in with a village community who dwell on the side of a mountain in the Himalaya. At a nearby health outpost you’ll work with a health professional to diagnose and treat walk-in patients. This will give you a unique understanding of the challenges faced by people in such rural communities. In the afternoons enjoy cultural songs and dances, visiting the village shaman, fishing, hidden temple hikes, and much more.
Nepal - Kathmandu
Kathmandu is the proud capital of Nepal. With both a history and a culture that span back thousands of years (and being surrounded by outstanding natural beauty) the city has a tangible atmosphere. The juxtaposition between old and new is ever present; motorbikes zoom down old dusty roads as the monks make their way to daily prayers.
Dentistry in Nepal hasn’t progressed at the same rate as it has in the developed world. This means Nepalese people have to travel great distances to be seen by someone with the right skills. Fortunately dentistry is one of our partner hospital’s specialties. Under their supervision you’ll perform and observe routine check-ups, abscess surgeries, restorations, pulpectomies, extractions and more. Your supervisors and other professionals will also present to you the challenges they face on a daily basis, educating you on how they’ve adapted to deal with them.
Boredom is impossible in Kathmandu. There is so much to do you could spend a year here and seeing everything would still be unlikely. The city is peppered with temples and holy shrines, and walking between them all will prove to be an enlightening experience. Head to the Bhoti River gorge to launch yourself from the platform of the highest bungee jump in the world, ride elephants on safari in Chitwan National Park, take to the skies and observe the landscape below as you paraglide through the mountains, and head to the bars and clubs of Thamel to experience a distinctly Nepalese night out.
To complete your understanding of healthcare in Nepal, it’s crucial that you spend time in more rural locations. This add-on presents you with the chance to live with one of our welcoming host families in a truly remote mountain village. The mornings will have you working with a resident specialist in a community health outpost treating patients with the bare minimum of resources (this is really an eye-opener). In the afternoons you’ll learn how to cook traditional Nepalese food, milk buffalos, watch traditional songs and dances, visit nearby villages and more.
Philippines - Dumaguete
Dumaguete is a rapidly modernising city that just so happens to be surrounded by a tropical paradise. On one side there’s untamed jungle, and on the other, a vast expanse of beautiful blue-green sea. The diving in this region is nothing short of amazing, and trekking through the jungles is an absolute must. If you choose Dumaguete, be sure to try the local cuisine, as there are master chefs disguised as street food vendors all over the city.
The city’s hospitals and clinics, with which we have deep personal relationships, are the tip of the experiential iceberg — you’ll have the chance to ride in a dental minibus to observe street side extractions and even take part in dental procedures in a local prison. Gingivitis and critical tooth decay are also real problems in Dumaguete, so you’ll pick up the skills required to treat these issues, as well as gaining an understanding of why they exist in such high numbers.
Dumaguete is an up and coming centre of sophistication in the Philippines. It’s home to three universities, making it a hotspot for youth culture. This means contemporary bars, trendy restaurants, excellent surfing, and more. Further afield you can trek to the adventure reserve set deep in the heart of an untamed tropical forest (think waterfalls, wild animals and wilderness). Or spend the day observing whales and dolphins off the coast of Bais island. To get there take the canoe ferry to the coast at sunrise, switch boats, and then cruise the crystal waters with these ancient aquatic giants.
Staying with a host family in a rural region that has very limited access to healthcare, let alone high quality dental facilities, is a rare prospect. However, we have secured a restricted number of places for our students to travel to an island to work in local clinics. The experience will help you develop an understanding of the problems faced by local healthcare professionals, and how they’ve innovated to cope. In the afternoons you’ll be introduced to local culture and take part in activities like BBQs on the guardhouse patio of a protected reef, crab collecting among the mangroves with the locals, and much more. This truly is a once in a lifetime opportunity.
Philippines - Iloilo
Iloilo is so much more than your typical tropical island paradise. Staggering natural beauty surrounding the city (think palm trees, beaches, mountains and jungle), while both modern and traditional restaurants, bars, and shops line the streets. When you’re feeling hungry you’ll find that the city’s roads are punctuated with street food vendors found between the museums and ageing churches.
If you choose Iloilo you’ll enjoy an immersive one-on-one mentoring placement. You’ll also have a mixture of clinical sessions in the mornings, and work at a school or nursery in afternoons in term-time. As a result of this community outreach and the positive nature of the team of specialists working here, the department has an excellent reputation among the city’s people, which by extension you too will enjoy. As sugar is such a huge part of the Southeast Asian diet, you’ll come across plenty of advanced stage conditions even in young people, so be prepared for extractions aplenty.
Iloilo is in the perfect place for adventurers to set themselves free in an Eden-like paradise. With one of the happiest populations on the planet, incredible beaches, delicious food and more you’ll never want to leave. Massage centres and hot rock spas will be your friends after a long day on the wards, and outside the city you can head into the wilderness to experience being ‘cooked alive’ in a kawa hot bath. Whale watching off the coast of Cebu is also excellent fun, as is he island of Boracay, which has award-winning, palm-lined beaches and beautiful diving.
Staying with the Ati tribe on an island in a rural village, you’ll learn the ways of the local people first-hand, both culturally and medicinally speaking. In the rural health centre and under resourced district hospital you’ll work with a number of patients with varying ailments at varying stages of urgency. In the afternoons you’ll learn the finer details of the townsfolk’s weaving skills, swim in waterfalls, hop from island to island in a local boat, spot giant sea turtles, and more. This experience will provide perspective to your city-based placement and shouldn’t be passed up.
Sri Lanka - Anuradhapura
Your experiences in the sacred Buddhist city of Anuradhapura will linger for a lifetime. The old city with its stupas, temples, and ancient palaces never fails to impress, and the new city is a lively centre of development with restaurants, bars, and bustling markets. The national park safaris and paradise beaches are the icing on the cake.
Dentistry in Anuradhapura will provide you with clinical experience like nothing before. From the moment you enter the Dentistry Department in our partner hospital you’ll begin to comprehend the issues faced by professionals in the developing world. There is a range of areas for you to work in depending on your areas of interest – OPD, maxillofacial, and orthodontics among others. The experience you’ll get here is unparallelled. During your placement, you might also decide to work in multiple areas – it’s absolutely worth drawing on the wisdom of the full range of specialist teams you’ll have the privilege of working with. Hit the green ‘ENQUIRE NOW’ button at the top right of the page to find out more.
Anuradhapura is home to more than 50 ancient Buddhist temples, shrines, and stupas. However, with Anuradhapura’s increasing development, the ‘new town’ has sprung up. Here you’ll find lively markets, charming restaurants serving traditional cuisine, and bars with live music, all run by welcoming Sri Lankan locals. Outside the city you’ll climb to the top of Sigiriya (Lion Rock) to admire the ruins of a grand ancient palace that once stood at its summit. Hot air balloon rides over Dambulla’s jungles and paddy fields at sunrise will take your breath away. You can also head to Wilpattu National Park for a safari, or, to discover the meaning of peace, make your way to the pristine, white sand beaches at Trincomalee.
An experienced guide will lead you into the heart of the forest to locate a remote village in which you’ll uncover the ancient art of ‘tree medicine’. You’ll spend your mornings with a master healer whose knowledge has been passed to him by his father, and his father before him. While in the village you’ll stay with our host family, and in the mornings you’ll work with the aforementioned healer to create treatments from tree barks and plants found in the surrounding jungle. Your afternoons will be filled with cultural activities like ox and cart rides, swimming in the local lake at sunset, and full body massages at Ayurveda spas.
Sri Lanka - Kandy
Sri Lanka’s eclectic culture can be traced back thousands of years making it a place of truly diverse beauty. Being a mix of influences from east to west, the food in Sri Lanka is as good as it gets anywhere in the world. There are plenty of mild and cool cuisine options, but if you like your food spicy, there’s no better place. Home to elephants, jaguars, leopards, whales and more, Sri Lanka is also a haven for wildlife. What’s more, the wilderness that the wildlife inhabits is nothing short of paradise.
Dental elective experience in Sri Lanka is entirely unique. You’ll get a sense of what’s in store from the moment you arrive on the ward. You’ll be able to get involved in multiple areas within your field, as the programme normally works on a one-to-one basis where students rotate between departments. You’ll gain experience in orthodontics, an outpatients department, a maxillofacial clinic, and beyond. You’ll also observe a range of late stage conditions. This is a result of patients seeking care at the last minute to put off relatively expensive healthcare costs.
Kandy, Sri Lanka is a place where you can truly lose yourself in experiences. There’s nothing quite like wading through a stream on the back of an elephant as the canopy leaves pass by overhead. Trawling the antique and jewel markets by the calm waters of a nearby lake will feel totally surreal, as will watching a Kandy-style dance show before visiting the famous temple that’s said to hold the tooth of the Buddha himself. Further afield you’ll find golden beaches, mountain hikes, botanical gardens that defy imagination, and more.
This is an extraordinary experience in that Sri Lanka it the only programme we run that offers an opportunity such as this. Ayurveda dates back over 5000 years, and with a trained Ayurveda practitioner you’ll learn how to make this ancient ‘tree medicine’ from herbs and barks found in and around the forest. Living with our host family away from the clinic, in the afternoons you’ll take sunset swims in the lake, canoe down tranquil rivers, relax in an Ayurveda spa, and more.
Ghana - Takoradi
Ghana was the first ever programme the Work the World team opened, and today it remains one of our most popular destinations (with very good reason). Africa’s west coast, particularly in the area we’re based, is a perfect representation of how amazing West Africa can be. The area has a fascinating history, and has old forts dotted up and down the coast. At the same time there are long stretches of golden beaches and blue waters that are perfect for relaxing on and swimming in under the sun.
Clinical practice for dentists in Ghana is an experience that will not only provide exceptional practical clinical experience, but also one that will create a lifetime’s worth of memories. Averaging 25 patients a day, the dentistry departments in our partner hospitals will never prove dull. You’ll get involved with things like preventive health checks, extractions, and even undertake an observational placement in the ENT department if you choose. From time to time students are also able to head out into the community and conduct outreach work, meaning you’ll get a full breadth of experience from a single placement.
Takoradi is a rare example of an African city that exhibits nearly all of the region’s positive features. Beautiful coastline, large wild game parks inland, metropolitan cities, remote villages and more. Visit the Voltaire region to observe the incredible natural phenomenon of waterfalls flowing into one another, or head to the rubber plantations to get lost in the rows and rows of trees that seem to stretch on forever. If you want to see a completely different side of the country, head out to the leper colony in more rural setting. The bars and restaurants in Takoradi and the surrounding areas will prove entertaining too.
While it’s true that your city-based placement will deliver unparalleled clinical and cultural experience, to bring the bigger picture into focus, heading out to a remote African village is essential. Living with a host family you’ll be completely immersed in village culture. Nearby you’ll find long stretches of empty golden beach with not a tourist in sight. In the morning’s you’ll work in a local community pharmacy where you’ll gain insight into the struggles faced by health providers in such low-resource environments.
Peru - Arequipa
Peru is proving to be one of the most exciting destinations we travel to. This is the case both in terms of the amazing things there are to do in Arequipa (where we’re based), and the clinical experience on the dentistry placement’s we’re offering. With Amazonian jungle, one of the highest lakes in the world, weathered mountaintop city remains, and climbable dormant volcanoes, it’s easy to see why this destination should be on your radar.
A specialist team of dentists and dental aides staffs the dentistry department in our partner hospital in Peru. The team mainly practices curative care, however the practice of preventative care measures is on the rise. The hospital facilitates the governments free dental care programme for those unable to afford to pay for care themselves. This makes the departments you’ll work in one-stop shops for patients who need everything from extractions to fillings, oral surgery and beyond. Other common problems you’ll encounter will include cavities, misaligned teeth, and severe decay. Every day in this department will bring with it something new.
As far as South America goes, Peru is by far the most interesting country of them all. Arequipa, the city in which we're based, is a mix of history and modernity; many of the buildings are built from white volcanic stone and are hundreds of years old, in which modern businesses dwell. Outside the city and you’ll discover a world of wonder. Visit Colca to peer into the second deepest canyon in the world, battle white-water rapids on a nearby river, trek through the mountains to Machu Picchu, the Incan mountaintop city, and more.
Working in Arequipa’s hospitals will be an enlightening experience, no doubt. However, to get the most from your placement without feeling hindered, we strongly advise you to undertake our specially designed Intensive Spanish Course. With dentists in mind our Spanish school partners have designed a one-week course of one-to-one lessons taught in a beautiful garden in the sun. The afternoons will be comprised of clinical role-play sessions to prepare you for situations that are likely to occur when you’re on placement. What’s more, the course was designed to be enjoyable, which means boring grammar drills. Instead we’ll present you with fun and practical language that you can use right away.
From our blog
For many of us in the western world, the word ‘Ayurveda’ roughly translates to spa treatments, aromatic oils, and maybe some panpipe music. Is there more we can learn from the practice than massages alone? You better believe it, says Hannah Peck.Read more
If you plan on choosing your elective destination on the beaches alone, you’re doing it wrong.Read more