Medical tourism lures Otago Uni students

By Elizabeth Ah-Hi ,

640 Hits

LOVE THE SAMOAN EXPERIENCE: Heena and Rachel call Samoa home for 6 weeks while on a dentistry placement in Motootua.

LOVE THE SAMOAN EXPERIENCE: Heena and Rachel call Samoa home for 6 weeks while on a dentistry placement in Motootua. (Photo: Elizabeth Ah-Hi)

Visiting the dentist may be on the top 10 list of people’s biggest fears, but perhaps if your dentist was as sweet as Heena Desai and Rachel Chamberlain of New Zealand, it wouldn’t be so bad.

Medical tourism is alive and well in Samoa with the two Otago University students from Dunedin here in Samoa as part of a placement programme for their dentistry studies.

“It’s a bit like Samoa has been our home for six weeks. I don’t want to leave,” said Rachel. “We’re on our placement in a clinic behind the hospital. We are studying dentistry and have six weeks to work in a clinic.”

The girls have been staying at Lynn’s Getaway Hotel in Motootua and they have loved making it their home for the last couple of weeks. 

“They are just so accommodating at Lynn’s. They also cook our dinner for us. We are lucky in that when we come home, we don’t have to worry about cooking dinner.”

“There are heaps of students at our accommodation so it’s a very social place,” said Heena.  

“In the weekends, we go on trips together with a few other people. We went to Lalomanu for a night and stayed in a fale, which was a very interesting experience.” 

“We have been to Tosua Ocean Trench, which was an amazing place, it’s a bit scary, but if you hold on tight you’ll be fine. You have to do it, it’s a must do place. We spent a couple of hours there swimming.”

“We have been to Matareva for a day and yesterday (Sunday) we went to Return to Paradise and today (Monday) we are just beaching it.”

Both Heena and Rachel have enjoyed the dentistry aspect of their stay as much as exploring the island.

“Not all Otago dentistry students get to do their placement here. Most of them do them in New Zealand and only a select few get to come here,” said Heena. 

“This is the third year that they have taken in students from Otago University.”

Rachel added: “We love the dentistry aspect. It’s been really fun so far.’

“We have done some treatments for some clients, so we don’t just get to observe, we are also getting a chance to be hands on while we have been here. Like if it’s not too difficult like a simple extraction then we get to do them. We are lucky.”

© Samoa Observer 2016

Developed by Samoa Observer in Apia