WorktheWorld Big Picture Competition Finalist!

Good evening everyone. On an unusually sunny day in this otherwise bitingly cold February, I’m sure I’m not the only one glad to be over the half-way point in the year. Whilst we all look forward to the slightly warmer months here in good old Manchester and daydream about our summer plans, here’s a snapshot of summer 2015 brought to you by Awais Ali, a 5th year student here who is a finalist for not one, but two categories of the Work the World’s Big Picture Competition.

I recently caught up with Awais to ask him a couple of questions about his time on elective.

J: Hey Awais, congratulations on being nominated for your elective photos, they look stunning! Have you always had an interest in photography?”

A: Photography has always been an interest of mine in an amateur sense. It’s pretty cool to capture moments that you can look back on and think “woah..”

J: They say a picture paints a thousand words but tell us the story behind the pictures

A: There are two pictures; the first is of a starry night and the other is of an interesting sport named Sepaktakraw! A friend and I spent countless hours at night trying to capture the stars in all their glory, this was one of over 100 pictures I took of the night sky – it was really difficult to capture. I had to perch in the middle of a palm tree forest for over 2 hours to get this image right! I lost my camera’s lens cap in the process…

The second picture shows locals playing a game best described as a highly intense foot-volleyball. These guys were enveloped in their own world as we were passing by on our way to watch the sunset, so I took the opportunity to capture the moment.

J: For those who are considering going on an elective, can you tell us why you chose to go one?

A: Extractions. I just wanted to gain as much experience as I could with taking out teeth and from what I had heard from those in the years above that an elective was the best opportunity to churn out loads of extractions and gain some great skills and confidence. The aspect of travelling was also very alluring. I enjoy travelling and continuously seek to increase the number of countries I visit, the communities I encounter and the adventures I stumble upon!

J: Why did you choose work the world to plan your elective?

A: To be honest, they are not the cheapest dental elective organisers out there… However they did sell us on the amount of support they would give, the accommodation they would provide, the infamous karaoke nights they’d rope us into and the activities they’d organise for us over the weekends after a hectic week of taking out teeth! A great choice in the end and I’d recommend them to anyone wanting to go on a dental elective.

J: Could you tell us a little bit about your experience doing dental work there?”

A: It’s completely different to the UK. They have their own way of doing pretty much everything. Consent? Correct Site Surgery forms? Correctly sterilised equipment?! All of these were difficult to find. However, once Majed and I become accustomed to the new way of preparing for tooth extraction, we quickly jumped in and took out plenty.

We’d spend some afternoons in the City Health Clinic which was most like our own ground floor clinics and other times at “outreach” clinics. Patients could just turn up at the door, fill out a registration form and then be seated. At times I’d inject the first patient with local anaesthesia and then ask them to sit in the corner whilst the next patient was seated and injected, by that time the first patient would be ready to have their tooth removed and so on! We each had a supervising clinician that would oversee and take-over if necessary.

J: Wow that sounds really fast paced. Moving onto your travels; I happen to be travelling to the Philippines this summer after my elective, what would you recommend I go see?”

A: Well you’ve definitely picked a great place to travel in. We spent 1 week travelling the Philippines and the highlights were: surfing in San Juan, driving a rental up and down the coast of Luzon Island (over 1000km), abseiling down a 142ft waterfall, sunrise fishing, watching an all children choir perform live in Tibiao, Whaleshark snorkelling in Oslob, swimming by the most beautiful waterfall I’d seen called Tagalog Falls, climbing to the top of Mt Arayat and lounging on the world famous white sands of Saud Beach in Pagudpud. Honestly the list goes on and there were plenty more places that we had “planned” to visit but didn’t have the time to.

J: That sounds amazing, thanks for answering my questions and congratulations once again. Before we finish, what advice do you give to those planning of electives?”

A: Plan and book early. Getting good flights – direct flights – is hard to come by for a cash-strapped student. Pick who you go with wisely; a small group is SOOO much better than a large more impractical one. You’ll get to do more of what you want to do with half the hassle! Oh and make sure you take every opportunity to do things, a lot of what made my trip memorable was the fact that 70% of it was not planned!


Thanks once again for your time Awais; I’m literally counting down the days until I can do all the amazing things you’ve laid out to do in the Philippines.


The links to the pictures are below. Again, Awais has been entered into two out of the four categories and the competition is to get the most likes on both Instagram and Facebook. The links are just below; please could you all show your support and vote! The deadline is Sunday 28th Febuary (this weekend).


Please vote for Awais by clicking & liking the links below to view his wonderful shots taken abroad on his elective.


Starry night amongst palm tree’s





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Over and out,

Jatan Kothari – 4th Year (BDS)
Dentman GOHF Representative