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How the COVID-19 pandemic and a master’s at Bath are opening new career options

Aanchal Rana talks about how being a dentist in India during the COVID-19 pandemic has led her to study MSc Global Public Health and Policy at Bath.

A woman (Aanchal Rana) smiling while stood in front of a grassy area with buildings in the background.
Aanchal is studying MSc Global Public Health and Policy to help her take the next step in her career.

How the COVID-19 pandemic changed my perspective

Back home in Delhi, India, I am a root canal specialist and aesthetic dentist. I did my undergraduate degree in dental science and a master’s in dentistry, before opening my own dental practice.

I had been practicing for five years when the pandemic hit. Because there was such a shortage of medical professionals due to the number of people who were sick, I was contacted by the general body for the city I was working in to ask if I could go and work in a government hospital. It was this experience that made me realise that I could do so much more beyond dentistry.

As well as my own experience working during the pandemic, I had read how COVID-19 had impacted the whole world, and how bad some of the public health policy decisions had been. That was what got me interested in studying MSc Global Health and Public Policy; I wanted to make a difference.

As there aren’t many courses that cover this area in India, I looked at different courses in both the USA and the UK. I chose Bath because I had spoken to others who had studied at the University before. After reading about the work that the academics teaching the course had done, I saw it as the best option out there for me.

New perspectives and learning from my classmates

As everyone on the course is from really different backgrounds, there are so many interesting perspectives on what we’re learning.

This diversity has been a really useful part of the course. The cultural aspect means that we have people with different viewpoints from their own countries on how public health and health systems function and how they could be better.

That means we have a lot of first-hand experience and stories to tell in between lectures that are related to the topics we’re learning about. For example, if we’re talking about a COVID-19 related topic, everyone shares how their home country dealt with it. We can compare the differences and what was successful and what was not. It just makes the experience even more interesting.

Combining two careers

I wasn’t sure before I started the course exactly where I wanted it to take me.

After speaking with my tutor and getting their advice, I’ve realised I could still work in dentistry while working in global public health for the government or a government body. It has made me more certain I can really help and make a real difference.

From India to Bath

I had quite a short time between moving to Bath and starting my course, so I didn’t have a lot of time to find somewhere to live. The student support team helped me to find permanent accommodation, and I’m now in student accommodation in the city.

Bath is obviously very different to living in India. I love the city – it is very beautiful and has a lot to offer. I do find it cold here sometimes, but I am learning to cope with that!

My advice to future students…

The range of exciting topics covered is the best thing about MSc Global Public Health and Policy, and something I would tell other students thinking of joining the course.

There is a good balance of theoretical and practical work. For example, you start off by learning how to use the different types of analytical software; and then as you move through the course, you learn how to put this into practice by studying charts and data.

I would also recommend being in Bath itself. it’s such a beautiful and safe place; it’s the ideal location to live and study.

More student stories

Read more about the experiences of our students on this course.

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