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UBC Reports | Vol. 50 | No. 5 | May 6, 2004

International Dentist Polishes her Degree with UBC Patina

Gains greater experience with more training

By Hilary Thomson

When Lovedeep Kaur Randhawa accepts her degree in dentistry this month, it will mark the end of an educational journey that has spanned 23 years and half the globe.

After obtaining a dentistry degree in India, the 26-year-old moved from Punjab to Canada in 2000 and to UBC in 2002 to participate in the Faculty of Dentistry’s two-year International Dental Degree Completion program.

En route, she lived with relatives in Toronto where she met her husband, Jaspreet, an RCMP officer. The couple were married in 2001 and moved to Vancouver.

Randhawa knew something of Canadian culture from North American students who attended her university at home. She was surprised, however, to find samosas and other popular Indian food in local supermarkets.

“Vancouver is so multicultural. I didn’t feel like an outsider when I got here. It was easy to fit in.”

The oldest of three sisters, Randhawa’s education has been greatly influenced by her father, a civil engineer. Encouraged to excel, she started school at age three and consistently placed first in her classes. Last year, she placed in the top 10 per cent of her dentistry class.

“My family is a huge support for me -- I’m here today because of the way I was brought up,” she says. “My parents inspire and motivate me.”

There are many differences between Indian and Canadian dentristy, she explains. There is no insurance coverage for dental services in India and many people can’t afford treatment. This means general dentists do very basic dentistry with more interesting work performed by specialists who treat affluent patients.

“Here in Canada, the dentist is a primary oral health caregiver and there is greater variety and scope of care,” she says. “I now have much greater experience in the procedures I was trained in.”

Randhawa will work in general practice after graduation but her academic journey may not be over yet. She loves to study, she says, and may take further training as a specialist.

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Last reviewed 22-Sep-2006

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