Karim Al‑Khatib talks about fourth year

A day in the life

Karim Al‑Khatib talks about fourth year

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I feel like I have experience running my own clinic. I’ve had to treat such a wide range of patients, updating their files, doing their treatments, and booking their appointments.

So much opportunity

Karim Al-Khatib discovered Dal’s Doctor of Dental Surgery (DDS) program after immigrating with his family to Halifax from Jordan. “I applied to Dal while applying for my medical licensing exams,” he says. “Then I interviewed for a spot in the DDS program after I finished three prerequisites.”

Karim’s parents decided they wanted to live in a big town with a small town feel, close to the water, with good schools. “I’m lucky they chose Halifax. It’s been the best thing that’s happened to us,” Karim says, adding that he became a Canadian citizen in 2008. “There’s so much opportunity in Canada.”

One opportunity he's taken advantage of was Dal’s DDS program. “It’s competitive—so many people have heard about the hands-on experience you get here. I’m lucky to have gotten into the program I wanted.”

By the time students are in fourth year, that hands-on experience comes in a number of ways—in the clinic and in elective courses. Karim opted to do maxillofacial surgery for his elective.

“Dal’s Oral Surgery Department is top-notch,” Karim says without hesitation. Half a day per week, he’s at the hospital, meeting patients and assessing their cases in consultation with surgery residents. “I’ve gained that much more experience, first assisting the residents in the operating room, and then doing procedures on my own.”

He also appreciates the hands-on clinical experience with his 60 patients. And he’s also on call in the after-hours emergency clinic. “I’ve benefitted from the experience of being called first and doing the triage,” he says. “Later, I won’t be nervous, because I’ve done it before.”

Managing his patients in the clinics is simplified, thanks to technology provided by the Faculty of Dentistry. “The laptop you get when you start the program lets you access and easily update patient files,” Karim says. “So you graduate also being computer literate.”

“I couldn’t speak more highly of the program,” Karim says. “It’s really well organized, and I’m so happy with the amount of hands-on experience I got right off the bat. The camaraderie, too, with classmates and with profs—they’re very approachable. It’s been a wonderful experience.”