Amber Ojak explains what life is like moving to Scotland and how Edinburgh differs to growing up in Yorkshire.
I was nine years old when I first came to Edinburgh with my parents for Hogmanay.
I had never been to Scotland before, and I instantly fell in love with the country. The traditional, mixed with the modern, is one of the greatest things about Edinburgh. And it just never ‘dates’.
I knew I wanted to live in Scotland from day one of my first visit. Hence why I chose to study at the University of Edinburgh.
The course Edinburgh offers is the oral health science BSc (Hons). It is one of the longer courses in the UK being four years.
These four years gave me some of the best teaching and hands on experience I’ve ever had. It was like becoming part of a dental family.
I learnt so much during my four years of study and would recommend this course to any aspiring dental hygienist or dental therapist, due to the support you get every step of the way, and even after you qualify!
Living in Edinburgh
I have now been living in Edinburgh for six years, and it has been one of the best experiences of my life.
In Yorkshire, I was surrounded by the peaceful countryside and small villages. Yet suddenly I was surrounded by the noise and bustle of the city.
One of the best parts of becoming a student in Edinburgh was that I got to live in four different areas of the city. Each experience was so different.
That’s what I love about Edinburgh, you can still be in the same city, but it can feel like a completely different place and experience altogether.
One thing that also struck me, was how friendly and welcoming Scottish people were. I have never felt like I was alone, and some of the friends I first met when I moved here, I am still friends with, now.
A good work-life balance
Coming from a small village with not much to do, moving to Scotland has definitely given me plenty to preoccupy myself with.
Its beauty is awesome; just down the road you have white sandy beaches, hills to hike, and lochs to explore. It amazes me daily!
I love the fact that you can escape the city within half an hour and be back in the countryside that I am familiar with. It gives me the best of both worlds, as it means I can enjoy the city but also go back to what I am used to.
Scotland has the most beautiful natural wonders and I sometimes enjoy going to explore these, to get a good work-life, balance. Experiencing the outdoors really centres me sometimes and lets me unwind from the stresses that working in the dental surgery can bring!
Dentistry in Scotland
Working in practice in Scotland has been an eye opener in the last two years. The majority of patients are so warm and welcoming.
I have had a few people question my accent a few times. But I always say luckily my accent doesn’t effect my quality of care!
Getting to know my patients has been a great learning curve, with many telling me stories about Scotland I’ve never heard of. Or recommending places to visit in my spare time.
I always used to be a little apprehensive about how patients may perceive me. But I have been so pleasantly surprised and now have a great relationship with so many of them.
One of the best things about working and living in Scotland, is going ‘back to my roots’. My ancestors, on my mother’s side are from Fife. And one of them was one of the first surgeons to travel from Scotland to India!
His diary (Alexander Kyd Lindesay 1801-1878), which records in detail his journey and experiences in India, is held in the National Library of Scotland.
I’ve been able to go and see this in person, as well as visit the family graves in St Andrews.
It is fascinating to learn about my family’s history. This perhaps explains, why I have never felt more at home in Scotland, than in any other country.