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25 January 2020

Dentistry student Isabel Chan gets her teeth into cultural London

Isabel Chan

In this short blog, Isabel reflects on her experience taking part in the Thriving in Cultural London module.

group of students at the skate park at the Southbank Centre
Students on a visit to the Southbank Centre as part of the Thriving in Cultural London module.

Isabel (Jie Yue) Chan is a first-year student on the Dentistry BDS in the Faculty of Dentistry, Oral & Craniofacial Sciences. In her first semester, Isabel took part in Thriving in Cultural London, an innovative new arts-based learning module which sees Dentistry students becoming immersed in London’s cultural offering and thriving from the very start of their first term at university. 

Dentistry and me!

Hi, my name is Isabel and I'm from Malaysia, which can be described as a melting pot of cultures (quite fitting for the theme I’d say!). I always liked crafting and making things as a child, and I started to take an interest in dentistry when I was 14 while observing my dentist perform an implant surgery and root canal on my Dad. I was drawn to the profession by  dentists ability to fuse science and fine manual skills. King’s has some of the world’s best facilities and researchers under its belt, and I hope I will be able to gain more exposure towards dentistry and its future advancements throughout my degree.

The Old Operating Theatre Museum
The Old Operating Theatre Museum

Learning through cultural London

In my first year as a Dentistry student at King’s, I’ve been taking a new module called Thriving in Cultural London, which has involved us roaming around London, taking in new sights and experiences with each week! Throughout the eight week course, we've experienced guided tours of the Southbank Centre, the Old Operating Theatre and Science Gallery London, as well as a visit to the Tate Modern, a dance class at Rambert, a modern dance performance at Sadlers Wells. We've also enjoyed 2 self-guided tours around London to find our own hidden gems. Even though these activities are different, they all share one similarity -  they push you to explore your surroundings and in turn your surroundings allow you to engage in an exploration of yourself.

My favourite activity in the module was the visit to the Old Operating Theatre. It showed me how far healthcare has advanced in the past hundred years, and I’m excited to see what the next hundred will bring! I liked how the museum shows the humanity and history of medicine through the rooms and tools involved. It really reminds me how all advancements were due to the needs of the patient, and it truly humbles me to be able to join a profession with such a history.

Isabel's dentistry inspired embroidery project
Isabel's dentistry inspired embroidery project

Thriving in the city

Through my experience of exploring London, I have opened myself to finding beauty in the most unexpected places; I’ve also to let London tell her own story through the marks that her history and her people left behind. If one could liken places to people, this experience taught me how everyone has a story to tell, if you have the empathy to take the time out to listen.

Engaging in creative activities alongside my studies helps take my mind off the immediate moment and reorganise my priorities. When I attended an embroidery workshop as part of King’s Heads Up! exhibition, the crafting reminded me why I wanted study dentistry in the first place, and helped me stay focused on my long term goal.