In the pursuit of my dreams, I was often reminded of a quote from Alice in Wonderland. It was the Cheshire cat who said, “Every adventure requires a first step,” my first step was to create a profile with the NDEB. This required getting my credentials verified, and my candidacy approved.
Doesn’t sound very dreamy or adventurous, does it? Well, you’re right. It wasn’t.
The NDEB has a comprehensive list of documents that one must carefully put together to make sure there are no delays in an already long procedure. I was lucky that my academic institution back home, Manipal University, was instantaneous in sending a Confirmation of Degree form and Official Academic Record requested by the NDEB in a sealed, stamped envelope to their main offices in Canada.
The next step was to send in a list of documents from my end, including my original dental degree and internship completion certificate. Just like you, I was very anxious to be sending in my originals. The mere thought of what I would do if they got lost in an international courier, or if they didn’t make it to the right address or back to me, was terrifying. Nevertheless, I had to bite the bullet and have faith in the process. I took coloured photocopies of my originals, got them notarized (to have some form of approved document of my dental degree on me), took one long last look at my hard-earned degree and internship certificate, and prayed to all the gods in the universe for their safety, while crossing all my fingers and toes, and sent my paperwork through a blue dart.
Then eight months, three days and several hours later, the documents had been accepted and my profile approved! Within two weeks of approval, my documents had found their way back to India and were safely in my hands. Better late than never! I had decided to take the AFK as soon as possible and study in Canada instead of staying back and studying at home. With my PR stamped and profile approved by the NDEB, it was now time to hop on the first flight!
Arriving in Canada was a surreal experience. I landed in October 2019 with crisp weather and beautiful brown leaves on trees, courtesy of the fall season. I had been lucky to have an aunt living here in Mississauga, Ont., for many years who graciously took me into her home for as long as I needed. I spent the initial days understanding the public transport system, getting a library card, SIM card, and discovering the neighbourhood. Following this, I started taking classes and began preparing for the AFK exam. But first, to get some inspiration and feel connected to Canadian dentistry, I decided to visit an acquaintance who was a practising dentist. That was a conversation I will never forget.
Dr. Pallak Razdan is a dentist and the Social Media Director at EDMS Dental. She is a contributing Prep Doctors’ writer focusing on her journey to Canada, the NDEB equivalency process, and a broad scope of Canadian dentistry.