Alexandra Ramcharitar | BDS Dental Surgery | Fifth Year

Alexandra Ramcharitar from Trinidad and Tobago discusses her experiences in Birmingham and how she has adapted to the UK.

How did you feel before you came to University?

Really REALLY excited - it had been my dream to come to university in England since I was 7 years old. I was especially excited because of all the videos I saw of the beautiful campus and the many activities to do in Birmingham. There are no trains or big cities like Birmingham in Trinidad so I couldn’t wait to see what it was like being a ‘city girl’.

What does it feel like to be studying and living far away from home?

It’s really difficult, more so than I ever imagined. I had always been independent and didn’t think I would be very homesick as I felt so tired of my small island at the time. Then I came here and it honestly gave me such a great appreciation for where I’m from. I always took Trinidad’s warm sun, laidback lifestyle and amazing food for granted but now I have never been prouder to be a Trini. While that has been a positive, I’ve found that times when I’m sick or when I need to sort appointments and bills have been the hardest. There is no family to get you some soup or help ease the burden of daily chores anymore if you are unwell. The systems in UK are so different to what I or anyone in my family is used to so I was often so lost trying to sort admin type things. But this all is worth it because the growth I had as a person is something I never would have gotten if I stayed in Trinidad or near family. It teaches you to be strong, independent and resilient.

Why did you apply to do your chosen course in the UK and specifically at the University of Birmingham?

I chose Dentistry because I always loved biology and chemistry and wanted to do something where I could help people but at the same time I wanted good working hours that allowed a good family and social life. This coupled with my love for arts and creativity led me to the perfect marriage of art and science that is Dentistry.

I chose the UK because I was always a very avid football fan and thought it would be amazing to go see premier league matches all the time (little did I know how much tickets cost..) and since I was young I wanted to come here to a big city and see what it was like.

I decided on University of Birmingham because it was highly ranked for dentistry and the dental school was recently rebuilt in 2016 with brand new equipment. The facilities are so bright and cheerful with the blue and purple colour scheme.

What’s the best part of your course at Birmingham? 

One of the best things I have found about dentistry at UoB is the clinical experience. Having spoken to many other dental students and tutors I realised that while Birmingham pushes us hard and it’s intense work, it’s worth it in the end as other universities do not get half the experience we do. For example UoB requires us to complete 2 root canals to graduate.

Qualified dentists have told me that UOB graduates working with them are overall more confident in treatment and competent. The more experience you can get in dental school the better.

What advice would you give to prospective international students thinking about studying on the course?

I would advise them to look at the NSS (National Students Survey) as I did not know it existed when applying. Graduating students get to anonymously describe their experiences at uni and can give you a good feel of what to expect but take everything with a grain of salt as no one will have the same perspective as you do. Also, think about what you want from you University experience - do you prioritise clinical experience, the social atmosphere or academic side of things such as research experience? Use this as a guide to deciding which uni is right for you. No matter where you trust that you have amazing things to offer whichever university you go to and make the most of it!

Alexandra RamcharitarAlexandra Ramcharitar

Degree: BDS Dental Sugery