My elective experience was one for the books – and not for the usual reasons that one might think. I personally believe from the depths of my heart that my elective groomed me in more ways than one. It helped me grow not only more confident in my clinical skills, but it also helped me in my own professional development. 


All the nerves

Being away from home and all things familiar, I was feeling a little apprehensive to think about how far from comfort I would be if I was having a hard time or feeling lost. But it was actually through this amazing experience that I really learnt that adapting to new environments and situations really isn't as nerve-wrecking as I made it out in my head to be. 

Michelle-Ling-and-bike

Te Ora Asburton

Everyone at Te Ora Ashburton was so welcoming, friendly, and even though I would inevitably make mistakes as a final year dental student, every single one of the staff members took me under their wing and mentored me. This experience made me realise exactly how precious it is to have a good community around you while you work because they truly make all the difference. They have the power to make a tough day better or they can make it a lot worse. And the staff at Te Ora Ashburton was definitely the former!

Throughout my stay in Ashburton, I lived with a couple who are without doubt some of the kindest people I have ever met in my life, and without the generosity of MAS, I would never have been able to meet them – and for that, I am truly grateful! If I had not had the support of these two people during those five weeks away from all my comforts and familiarities, I would certainly not have had as sweet of a experience. They showed me and taught me so many life lessons, and I feel so blessed to have been invited to be a part of their family for those five weeks!

I would highly recommend my time in Ashburton on my placement. Sure, at times it would get challenging, there were definitely moments I felt like throwing the mirror up in the air and taking a break, but the clinical experience is absolutely priceless. Thank you so much Te Ora Ashburton, Otago School of Dentistry and MAS for this amazing opportunity!


Michelle Ling

5th Year Dental Student - Otago University School of Dentistry


Michelle is a fifth year dental student currently undertaking her Community Service Learning (CSL) placement in Ashburton. She enjoys bringing out her imaginative and artistic side in her free time and has a strong interest in learning and exploring new things. 

Michelle thanks the Otago School of Dentistry, the staff at Ashburton Dental Centre and MAS for making all this possible. 

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