As part of his early elective, Rishi Daggar, FoDOCS BDS4 student, visited the Faculty of Dentistry of Marmara University, Istanbul, as part of the educational vocational program (VEP) organised by the EDSA. In this article, he shares some reflections on his time there.
In March, I had the privilege to participate in a visiting programme at the Faculty of Dentistry, Marmara University in Istanbul, Turkey. These unforgettable experiences are provided by the European Dental Student Association offering the chance for those who attend to immerse themselves in a week-long academic, social and cultural programme led by the very people that call the host location home.
At the core of the programme was academia. Whether it was a seminar on flap operations or CBCT assessment, alongside hands-on learning through workshops on endodontic rotary instruments or diastema closure workshops, we never fell short of learning something new each day. One particularly memorable experience entailed shadowing surgeons within the university hospitals surgical department. Sitting in on two orthognathic surgeries, observing the sheer complexity and precision required, led me to develop a profound appreciation for the breadth of what dentistry truly involves. It was incredible to be amongst a large multidisciplinary team for bimaxillary osteotomy as well as review patient journeys post-treatment.
Through time at the faculty, I had the opportunity to draw comparisons to that of our experience in the U.K., whilst also revealing similarities in the teaching of the curriculum and how undergraduate treatment for patients occurs. Often, I would meet staff who had some form of experience or connection regarding Guy’s. Our group consisted of a large variety of representation from all over Europe, broadening my understanding of other cultures over the week.
It is no secret that one of the foundations of this programme concerns the social and cultural opportunities, filling up our evenings and weekend. Thanks to the faculty, local government and companies who sponsor the EVP’s, these programmes are heavily subsidised, with so much organised and available for everyone, no matter your tastes or interests. Be it gala night, boat party, traditional Turkish dinners with a plethora of baklava to tours of Sultanahmet and Taksim Square, there was plenty on offer.
My time in Istanbul allowed me to absorb the many experiences offered to us whilst also developing a deeper appreciation for studying in the U.K., and what makes our experience unique. I am grateful to all of the individuals who organised this programme, and remain thankful for all of the memories we made, as well as the memories we will continue to make with our newly-formed friendships in the future. These programmes allow you to join a community of dental students from all across the continent, empowering and supporting each other. Please do not hesitate to contact me if you want to know more about this and if you get the chance to participate in this programme, don’t wait a minute longer!