My name is Dora and I’m in year three of the five-year dental program at University College Cork (UCC).

I could not be happier with my decision to come to Ireland. The way I see it, I’m spending 5 years living in Europe, getting a quality education, making amazing friends AND I get to go back to Canada with a fully accredited dental degree. Not only that, Cork is an awesome place to live and study.

The people here are incredibly nice, and there’s always something going on in Cork. Music festivals, culture nights, fairs, markets, the list is endless. There are also some pretty amazing cafés and restaurants; I have yet to eat somewhere (whether it be 12pm or 4am) that hasn’t impressed me.

Before moving here I had mentally prepared myself for it to be gray and rainy everyday. Although I still never leave the house without an umbrella (even when there isn’t a cloud in the sky) the weather has been so much better than anticipated. It’s sunny for at least a few hours everyday and I’ve hardly had to use my winter coat. Flying back home to freezing Canada for the Christmas holidays takes some mental prep.

UCC main campus is old and beautiful, but most dental and medical classes are held in newly constructed buildings. Now that I’m in third year, all of my classes, clinical sessions and labs are held in the dental hospital. Although the dental program at UCC is 100 years old, the equipment isn’t. UCC Dental Hospital recently renovated its restorative clinic with new chairs and I should be treating my first patient on one any day now!

I am really enjoying my third year so far. My classmates and I are thrilled to finally be putting all the theory we learned into practice. Almost all my classes are hands-on and in small group settings. Our instructors expect us to come to class prepared, and expect a high standard of work from the students however, they are very personable and encourage us to ask questions and learn from one another.

The Dental School has also started a mentoring program. Each student is set up with a dentist or professor in the dental hospital to whom they can go to if they need any guidance.

The UCC Dental Society (or DentSoc) is responsible for planning social, academic and sporting events for dental students… and they do not disappoint. Every year there is a Dental Ball, which is honestly the funnest night of the year.  I even had one of my friends from Canada come over for it last year and she’s dying to come back again!

I feel so fortunate to have such a strong connection with my Irish and international classmates, however it is especially nice to have the Canadian dent/med students around. I feel like I have formed friendships that will last a lifetime. It really helps to have a wonderful support network, especially being so far from home.

For those of you that are considering applying to UCC, do it! You will not regret it. Atlantic Bridge makes everything so easy, and if you have any more questions feel free to contact me. For those of you that got into the program, congrats! My only advice is to keep an open mind and stay positive.

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