It was change that Caroline craved when deciding where to study dentistry. She was aware of JCU Dentistry’s excellent reputation, and she was also attracted to the tropical lifestyle on offer in the regional city.
“Cairns was on my radar because I wanted to move away from Sydney. I liked how close the accommodation was to the campus, it was only a 10 minute walk,” she says.
“When I was looking at universities in Sydney, I travelled to all the open days, and it took me an hour just to get into the uni. I talk to my friends in Sydney now, and they don't even know who is in their cohort, whereas here in Cairns we are all so close.”
For Thomas, rural dentistry was always the priority, with JCU being an obvious choice.
“The practical experience you get at James Cook is what really attracted me, as well at the rural focus,” he says. “Being from a rural area, that has always been a priority for me. I’d love to go back to a rural area when I finish.”
And he won’t have any trouble convincing Caroline to move rural. “I would say I’ve been transformed into a farm girl after my time at JCU,” she says.
Placement in Tasmania
The couple recently enjoyed a placement experience at Launceston, Tasmania where they were able to hone their dentistry skills and take in some of the spectacular Tasmanian landscape and tourist attractions.
“Just being in Tassie itself was a wonderful experience – the scenery, the wine and the cheese. It's just such a lovely place,” Thomas says. “And obviously the actual placement was great. The supervisors there are very knowledgeable and very experienced.”
Making plans for the future
With the clock winding down on their final year at university, both Thomas and Caroline are making plans for next year and beyond.
“I have taken a particular interest in oral surgery over the last 12 months. Unfortunately, surgery is sometimes our only option. I find that being able to complete these procedures in a timely fashion makes them much more comfortable for both the patient and the dentist,” Caroline says.
“I think that an area of oral health that could be improved is better access to both services and education, as these are the foundations of healthcare.”