TWL

Hannah Son

Hannah Son Profile Pic

Hannah Son was originally born in South Korea, before moving to Cardiff, Wales with her family when she was three months old. Hannah wanted to be a dentist from a very young age and attended King’s College London for five years, before returning home to Wales to start her career in dentistry.  

Hannah states: 

"I originally moved to Wales as a very young child as my father’s family had opened a business here and needed help managing it. My family the decided to settle permanently in Wales as we all enjoyed the culture, schools and lifestyle so much. We did regularly travel back to South Korea to see family, but Wales has always been my home.  

"I first became interested in dentistry as a child when I had to visit a dentist while in South Korea. He specialised in treating young children who were afraid of dentists by using amazing communication skills to put children at ease, with toys and balloons to help relax them. I was always really nervous about going to the dentist as a young child, but his approach really changed my perspective of what a dentist could be. This positive experience really inspired me and made me see dentistry in a different light. With this affirming experience and lots of encouragement from my family, I became set on working towards becoming a dentist. 

"Deciding to attend Kings College in London was quite an easy decision, as it has a great reputation as a top university. While I really enjoyed my time in London, I found that it was a lot more isolating and busier than the type of places I grew up in. After five years, I was ready to return to Wales and be in an environment where people would say “good morning” to you if you are out on a walk or have a friendly chat with you if you are waiting at a bus stop.  

"I also had professional reasons to return to Wales, as I had heard about the Port Talbot dental teaching unit, which offered excellent foundation training. I had an amazing time there and it was truly the best environment for me to complete my foundation year. Following this, I carried out DCT1 split between Cardiff Dental Hospital and Merthyr Tydfil Prince Charles Hospital in restorative and oral and maxillofacial surgery. As I enjoyed my year so much, I stayed on in the same hospital in Merthyr Tydfil to undertake my second dental core training year in oral surgery. This has now led to my current position, as a Welsh Clinical Leadership Fellow. 

"While I didn’t know much about the position before I started, I had heard from a colleague about how amazing this position was and the opportunities within the role. I was also told by my consultants that this role would be beneficial in terms of developing different skills, outside of clinical work. While the interview for the role was quite intense, I found it an incredibly valuable learning experience. 

"Something I love about working and living in Wales which I feel is unique, is the close professional and personal relationships with my peers and the wider team, which has allowed me to really make the most of each training year. All teams that I have worked with during each training year have been hugely supportive, and really helped me develop as a clinician. 

"In my current role, I have found that there are certain skills you must develop to make the most of this year, such as innovation and leadership skills. Coming into this role has pushed me out my confidence to develop these skills and this has been really refreshing. I’m naturally the kind of person that tends to listen more, rather than put my ideas forward, so it is good to be in an environment where I am encouraged to speak up and think of new ideas.  

"I currently live in St Mellons, which is just east of the capital city of Wales, Cardiff. I really enjoy living there and find it is a nice area as it is away from all the busy towns and streets but is still close to the cities. So, it is great to have both the quiet area and a capital city right on my doorstep. 

"I am also lucky enough to have my family live close by, which gives me an even bigger reason to stay within the area. I really enjoy spending time with my family, going out and trying new restaurants, as well as going shopping, watching movies and even attended a ballroom dance class recently. There is always something new to try and it helps that everyone in Wales is just so friendly and nice. I love going on walks with my family, getting out into the fresh air and exploring new sites and places.  

"Looking forward to the future, I am hoping to specialise in oral surgery, but would also like to continue to work part-time in a non-clinical role, as I am enjoying this year so much. 

"I would highly recommend Wales to anyone who is thinking about coming here to train or work. The close-knit community, network, support and positive environment make it an amazing place to train, work and live." 

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