Last Updated on August 9, 2021 by A. Scott, BSDH
Where are you originally from?
I grew up in Indiana. Go Hoosiers!
Have you always worked in the dental field? If not, what other fields? Any other degrees acquired before turning to hygiene?
Yes, I have always worked in the dental field! I received my Bachelor of Arts in Biology from Franklin College in 2010. I worked for a year at a dental laboratory before deciding to further my education and enroll in dental hygiene school.
In 2013, I earned my Bachelor of Science in Dental Hygiene from Indiana University South Bend. I worked for four years as a dental hygienist before deciding to pursue graduate school.
I attended IU Richard M. Fairbanks School of Public Health and received a Master of Public Health (MPH) with a concentration in Health Policy and Management in 2019.
Before moving abroad, I also had the opportunity to work as an adjunct clinical instructor for Indiana University, South Bend and The Ohio State University.
What country did you or do you work abroad in? From which years?
In March 2020, I moved to Singapore in Southeast Asia. Now I am practicing as a dental hygienist in Singapore.
What inspired you to move abroad?
My husband and I were looking for a new adventure. We wanted to live and work abroad while getting to travel and see new places.
What did your family say?
My family has always known that I have a passion to travel. They were very supportive.
Were you afraid?
I think I was more nervous than afraid. I have traveled all over the world and felt prepared for our move to Singapore. It is a very safe country.
What is/was that region known for?
There are lots of great things Singapore is known for! When we did our research to move abroad, it checked all of our boxes!
- Safety and security
- harmonious multicultural society
- education system
- convenient public transportation system
- stable and corruption-free economy
- tropical weather
- ideal country to conduct business
- multitude of delectable cuisines
- exposure to career opportunities
- ease of travel to neighboring countries
What practice did you work for and in which specialty? Makeup of staff, etc?
The practice I work for focuses on holistic dental care for the entire family. The practice includes cosmetic dentists, general dentists, an orthodontist, dental assistants, and dental hygienists in Singapore.
What is/was your social life like?
Although my social life in Singapore has been unique due to the ongoing global pandemic, there are lots of things to do here. I like to spend time with coworkers, try new food at the hawker centers, visit iconic landmarks, and check out the shopping malls.
What did you most enjoy? Least enjoy? Why?
I love the outdoors. We have enjoyed lots of hiking, trails, and nature. The humidity has been the hardest adjustment for me.
What were the patients like? Any exceptional experiences? Good or bad?
The patients are awesome! I have had all good experiences so far. The majority of my patients are from the expat community. It is cool learning what their professions are and how long they have lived in Singapore.
How did the experience change you as a person? Professionally? Personally?
Professionally, I learned a few ways to talk about dentistry or practice dentistry in a way I may not have otherwise done back home. My exposure to all walks of life has expanded my knowledge on how a variety of people can perceive dental care.
Personally, I have gotten to know some amazing people at my job and have learned about their backgrounds, religions, and languages.
It has been a blast being able to talk about my passion for dental hygiene with patients from all over the world.
Do you still practice hygiene? Why or why not? Any plans to leave hygiene?
Yes, I am currently still living and working in Singapore. I would like to pursue a doctorate degree and possibly broaden my career as a professor.
Do you have any other projects or businesses on the side?
No, not yet. I have been blessed with opportunities to volunteer in Costa Rica (2012), Haiti (2013, 2015, & 2017) Belize (2017), and Cameroon (2017) for dental and public health trips.
I could see myself looking for an opportunity to work on a global health project in the future.
What did you (or will you) do to move on with your life?
I plan to further my education and earn my doctorate degree in health science with a concentration in global health.
Do you have any regrets?
I do not have any regrets at this time. We are absolutely loving Singapore and everything this country has to offer. Even if we decide to pack up and move home one day, we will be grateful of this wonderful adventure!
How would you like to be remembered?
As a super funny, hard-working person with a passion for volunteering.
Any wisdom you would like to pass on to future internationally practicing hygienists?
Go for it! Don’t live vicariously through other hygienists practicing abroad. Reach out to others, network, join expat groups and get in touch with dental offices to see if they are hiring foreign trained dental hygienists!