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UMSOD Student Travels to Singapore

Written by Adam Zewe

Kevin Adams, DDS '13, has experienced dentistry on two continents. He recently returned from a two-week academic externship to Singapore, a small nation in Southeast Asia. The country has held a strong appeal for Adams since his first visit in 2009. "Singapore really is an oasis. The country probably has some of the best food on the planet. It's also one of the cleanest places I've ever been to," he remarks.

Adams spent his externship at the National University of Singapore, Faculty of Dentistry. The facility was very similar to UMSOD in terms of technology, but the schools differ in how they provide dental education, he explains. For example, Singaporean students enroll in dental school after graduating from high school. Each student is responsible for recruiting his or her own patients. In addition, all students must complete two years of public health dentistry after graduation. "I was actually surprised by the similarities. I thought it would be a lower level of dentistry, but it matched ours pretty well," states Adams.

He participated in classroom discussions and shadowed students as they practiced in the clinics. Adams was impressed by how well the Singaporean students collaborate, with each 30-member class working together to establish schedules and assign dental chairs.

Adams also spent time exploring the vibrant city, where tropical heat and oppressive humidity are common each day. He enjoyed sampling the Asian and Indian dishes prepared in outdoor markets, like Hainanese chicken, an addictively spicy chicken and rice dish that is the national meal of Singapore.

Learning and living in a foreign country gives Adams confidence in his chosen profession. "The trip made me realize that dentistry really is a global profession. It's a trade thatýs highly valued everywhere in the world," he concludes.

Fast Facts, Singapore:

LOCATION: Southeastern Asia, islands between Malaysia and Indonesia

AREA: 269 square miles, slightly more than 3.5 times the size of Washington, D.C.

HISTORY: Singapore was founded as a British trading colony in 1819. The country achieved independence in 1965 and subsequently became one of the world's most prosperous countries.

CLIMATE: tropical, hot, humid and rainy

OFFICIAL LANGUAGES: Mandarin, English, Malay

POPULATION: 5.3 million

MAJOR INDUSTRIES: electronics, chemicals, financial services, petroleum refining, rubber processing

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