Student and Faculty Exchange Programs

The School of Dental Medicine provides exchange opportunities for its own students as well for international students who wish to broaden their understanding of the practice of dentistry in other countries. The goal of these programs is to produce future leaders in oral health who are prepared to interact globally. The objectives are:

  • To expand students’ knowledge base in oral health programs and health care systems of other countries.
  • To develop a global perspective and approach to dental education and clinical practice.
  • To cultivate intercultural competencies and sensitivity to other cultures among students, faculty and staff.
  • To compare and contrast dental education and practice in the US with those of other countries.

International externships for Penn Dental Medicine students are handled by the Department of Oral Medicine. The exchange program for students coming from other countries is arranged by the Office of Global Affairs. International students may choose to participate in any exchange program which has a formal agreement with Penn Dental Medicine.

Through international externships, Penn Dental Medicine students spend three to four weeks at a dental school or hospital outside the U.S. This unique experience encourages personal growth as students live and learn in another culture. They observe, assist or in limited situations, deliver patient care in clinics. At a few sites, the students are requested to complete a special project rather than observe and assist. They participate in seminars and occasionally in community health care delivery. In order to receive academic credit for their international rotation, students complete a daily log of their activities and submit an essay of their whole experience. They receive a grade from the host faculty. They also attend a pre-departure orientation and post rotation debriefing.

Students who participate in these programs find that their experiences often change their perspectives. Many of them develop a deeper appreciation of their own education and situations in the US.

Exchange Program for International Students

International students spend 2-4 weeks at Penn Dental Medicine attending selected classes and observing various clinical operations. In order for students to participate, please fill out the International Student Shadowing Application (PDF). All applications should be submitted to the Office of Global Affairs at

Once you receive approval of your visiting dates from the Office of Global Affairs, each student must submit the Waiver for Visitors Observing in Clinical Areas (PDF) and all required copies of immunizations here. Please note: Under “Which program would you like to participate in?” please select “International Student Program”. Under “Clinic Selection” please leave blank.

Failure to submit all required documentation mandated by the waiver application may delay the start of your observation.

For any questions/concerns, please email:

Faculty Exchange Programs

Programs for faculty are handled directly by their respective departments.

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