Sunday, February 02, 2014

Thoughts on PIDC Salem


Hello! I decided to be a little more honest and critical about my opinions of Penang International Dental College (PIDC) as a prospective dental academy.

As you may know, I am currently studying in PIDC, India, finishing my second years of study soon. In all my previous post, I had pointed out many times that despite whatever horrible things I wrote about my uni, I was not discouraging people from enrolling. You just have to weigh the pros and cons.

Now, I think if I’m asked by people if they should come to PIDC, I’d say probably not.
Why?

It just occurred to me, but if I'm always having more bad things to say, and that all the students have definitely regretted, at least once, for coming to PIDC, I'd say that speaks a lot. :P

I’m gonna just list everything in a pros and cons manner. (then again, please note that this is only my opinion from being in the uni for 2 years, and only experiencing the India side of it)

Repeated Disclaimer: This post is ONLY based on my experience in PIDC Salem, India. My opinions have changed since returning to Penang! (in fact, I'm quite happy here in Penang, haha)

Pros

1. Money
One of the main points why I’m here (especially since I’m not so well-off, and the medical field hardly offers scholarships, unlike engineering and business). It’s one of the cheaper local universities! If you compare it to IMU (RM600,000-ish), the fees of RM240,000-ish definitely sounds more acceptable. (point might not be valid anymore, though. See under cons)

You should also note that this won’t be the end of your expenses, because you’ll have to purchase lots of personal dentistry equipment, which are everything but cheap. They’re definitely cheaper to purchase here in India though. I can’t even start imagining the price for studies+equipment in IMU. .__.

During our vacation on the boathouse in Alleppey, Kerala

2. Living Abroad
Of course, India isn’t the glam-est country to further your studies in. But it really is an eye-opener to live in another country for an extended period of time! There really isn’t a better way to understand the culture of a place than this. If you ask me, my time here has been really humbling and interesting, especially when you see the difference of attitudes in the locals, compared to the people we’re used to.


3. Cadavars and Skulls. Real Skulls.
I feel like I have to mention this, hehe. Even though Anatomy is only a year 1 subject and is not all that important for dentistry. Plus we only get to handle Head and Neck specimens.

Cons

1. Money
Why I said this point might not be a valid “pro” anymore, is because I heard that they have increased to fees to RM300,000 for 5 years. That’s a 25% increase compared to what I’m charged for when I enrolled 2 years ago! Of course, other unis are probably upping their prices too, so you may wanna still compare prices before judging.

On top of that, I’m gonna be blunt and say that the management here are borderline money suckers. One, if you fail any of your subjects, to retake one paper, costs you RM5,000. If you failed a second year paper, that’ll suck more because you’ll have to fly back to India to finish off whatever subjects you couldn’t. Two, 80% attendance (I heard that it’s actually 50% now…) is compulsory for you to be able to appear for examinations. But you can pay them off. I don’t remember what the amount is though. I’m not sure if these two points are similar in other unis, but I felt like I should just make a note of it.

2. The Management
Uh. Mer. Gawd. I really think they’re inefficient. And idiotic. Probably because I had grown accustomed to Taylor’s College’s epicly efficient admins. But I can say that more than 50% of the time, I’m unsatisfied with the speed of their work, and the bloody excuses they come up with


The girl's hostel

Take for example, the wifi at the girl’s hostel has been down since I returned after my holidays in October 2013. The one in the boy’s hostel is still functioning though. What does the warden have to say about this? That some cable out there is down and it’s not their problem and they have written letters to the people in charge and they can’t do anything else beyond that. It’s gonna take 6 months before it’ll get fixed. Oh, but you can ask the other girls about how they set up their own personal connections in their rooms. It’s working well and a lot of people have fixed their own now. (she then gave me an estimated number that was laughable because the number of occupied rooms doesn’t even match up)

Oh really now Lady Warden? This company must be defying logic and making miracles to be able to provide us internet even though the cables that previously supplied our hostel wifi is down. Gosh, please I can see the contradictions all over your statements, I’m almost tempted to throw a Phoenix Wright in your face.

3. The Lecturers
This only applies to the lecturers in the dental departments (Oral Biology, Prosthodontics, Operative Dentistry, Dental Materials).

I was really really annoyed by their amazing time management skills, a trait shared by the 4 listed departments, where they don’t even prepare solid teaching schedules and then the fault/burden goes on us in the end.

4. The local’s attitude
Refer to point 2 and 3. It’s hard to explain how the local Indians are… but they are waaaaay more persistent than your typical market aunties and it’s just really hard to win an argument with these people… On top of that you have the language barrier, making your arguments less effective, or they’re your lecturers, by which you lose by default. (in most cases, not all)

5. Social Network and Activities (The University life!)
Recently, I’ve only realized what a big problem this is. Lemme do you the math. We have approximately 40 students per batch, 2 batches a year, 5 years in total. (my class has the most students, at a whooping number of… 42) That makes about 400 PIDC students. On top of that, because we’re a twinning program, our students are divided between India and Penang. Meaning 160 in India and 240 in Penang. But of course, students come and go. But since new students are stuck in India when you’re in Penang, and seniors are in Penang while you’re in India, you still end up with about 500 PIDC students that you can come into contact and socialize with.

To seal the coffin, PIDC only offers one degree, the Bachelor of Dental Surgery. (what’d you think the D in PIDC stands for?) So, unlike other universities, you won’t be able to meet with people from other majors or courses or whatever. It’s just the 500 of us in one institution. This seriously minimizes your social circle. After all, university should be a place where you widen your social circle, and for quite a number, it’s where you find your significant other… oh wait. If you swing both ways, I guess you could take 500 people into consideration. Otherwise, good luck expanding your circle outside of uni, or do that later in your career where you’re probably gonna pick up another dentist/doctor or your patient. (stereotyping here, hehe :P)

On a more serious note, the scale of our uni is just depressing, because this means there are less events going on, and less club activities too (not sure if they have it in Penang, but we have none in India). Imagine all the charity concerts or interesting events that could’ve been conducted by the institution or clubs. With hardly any interesting occasions, little holidays (we only have a total of about 8 weeks off per year, not including weekends) and much studying, the idea of an exciting University Life is just down the drain… I feel kinda regretful about this… not sure if it’s because of the nature of my degree, but certainly wish to be doing impactful things besides my academics, too.

Other points

1. Study Style/Curriculum
Studies in PIDC is really about studying and regurgitating lol. The theory papers have no multiple choice questions. It’s just write write write draw write write with little space for creativity other than regurgitating whatever you memorized from the book in colourful pens. (what did you expect from the medical field?) The practical aspect can be pretty interesting though. But it does get repetitive. And the facilities they have here in the laboratories are just poorly maintained.

Whooh, that was a long opinion piece + rant. They are all just my personal opinion, and I might’ve been biased on it.

tl;dr

Last words of advice I’d like to give before finally making your decision to enroll:
1. Do compare with other dental institutions available locally and overseas. There are probably other cheap places too like Manipal, MAHSA, SEGI… I have a friend studying in Indonesia too. AIMST would’ve been my first choice, but even if you’re a Foundation student there, there are not enough spots open for their degree courses. If you’ve decided from SPM what degree you want (which I didn’t), you can make a better choice than I did.

2. If you can afford it, try not to come to PIDC, hahaha. ^_^
If you can’t, just take my word that yes, you can definitely make it through PIDC just fine. Except. It’s just not my ideal image of a university. Hence my long rant.

Final Disclaimer: EVERYTHING written in this post only applies to PIDC Salem. The situation is very different in PIDC Penang.

That’s all I can think of for now. Anyways, as usual, I’m opened for questions so don’t be shy to leave a comment. I hope this post has helped you in even the smallest way!

*back to studying for the exams*

Quote of the Day: "Second place hurts the most." - Mashima Taichi, Chihayafuru

9 comments:

  1. Hi! I don't know if you still maintain this blog, but i want to thank you very much for sharing your experiences! This site is so helpful as I really want to study dentistry, but it seems my options are limited to India as well.

    I want to ask for your advice as well (since i don't know how to contact you haha) , I'm an A-level leavers, but I couldn't reach the current minimum requirements for entry in Local unis, so my agent said I could enroll into India's unis after taking their entrance exam. I'm a bit scared actually, since everybody keeps telling me intimidating things about it (horrible living conditions and safety hazards etc.), and it's going to be for 5 years. What do you think about a 5 year course in India?

    I hope you see this comment (hopefully) ;d

    ReplyDelete
    Replies
    1. As I don't get email updates on comments on my blog, I often reply kinda late... sorry! ^^" But I'll be glad to take your questions on FB. =)

      It depends if by India uni, you mean twinning, or the full 5/4 years course in India. They are both slightly different procedures, different tuition fees... As for India's living condition, compared to my life in Malaysia (Subang Jaya specifically), Salem is quite a shock, haha. But I wouldn't say it's inhabitable... you just have to adapt to a lot of things and change your cultural mindset while you're here.

      Delete
  2. Hi there! First off I would really like to thank you for writing about life in PIDC, its been of really great help! I'm now stuck in between Medicine at IMU or dentistry in PIDC, but wow I've got to say, this blog of yours have really changed my perspective on PIDC! No offense but from what I've read on your blogs, PIDC really is far from being as glamorous as its name suggests. So if you were to be in my shoes, would you rather pick Medicine at IMU or Dentistry at PIdc? Oh and lets just say you have more or less the equal amount of interest and passion in both courses hahaha. Looking forward to your reply!

    ReplyDelete
    Replies
    1. Hi Anonymous!

      Welcome, I'm glad my blog has been helping out. =) Haha, I've written this piece while I was India, and the situation there is reaaaally different. No worries, no offense taken. :P Penang has been treating me well the past 1.5 years, and I'm enjoying myself now. You can read on my experience on PIDC Penang here http://gula-melaka.blogspot.com/2015/08/pidc-penang.html

      If I had the money, I guess I would go to IMU? Hahaha. I haven't done my research on IMU, but I'm guessing that the facilities there are better and there's a bigger campus with many different faculties and much bigger opportunities there.

      My interest was in Dentistry, hence I'm in PIDC now. :P The good thing about PIDC is that the patient flow is pretty good so it makes for good clinical experience.

      Delete
    2. If you're not really well-off, do consider going for a cheaper option. After all, for the medical field, our degrees tend to bring us along the same route anyway (public or private practice).

      Delete
  3. Hey your blog is really helpful! Do you have any idea about the average grades of A level leavers getting into pidc? Do you have to get like AAAA?

    ReplyDelete
    Replies
    1. Hi Anon! Sorry for the incredibly late reply. As mentioned in the chat box, it's better to refer to the entry requirements on PIDC's main article here:
      http://www.pidc.edu.my/v2/index.php?option=com_content&view=article&id=29&Itemid=83

      You're definitely not expected to score AAAA, hahaha. So don't worry about it!

      Delete
  4. Why dont you study in public universities like um or ukm?

    ReplyDelete
    Replies
    1. Hi Unknown! After SPM, I studied SAM, so I didn't get to pick public universities. ^^" From what I heard from my friend in USM, their facilities are pretty new and good.

      Delete

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