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 International Relations. 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. Students who wish to participate must contact the appropriate person at their university who will in turn contact the Office of International Relations (OIR). Once appropriate dates are identified, students may begin to make travel arrangements. Housing arrangements are made by the students themselves from lists provided by the OIR. Options include on-campus housing as well as home-stay living near by the campus. Upon arrival, International students receive a general orientation and University identification cards, which enable them to enter Penn Dental Medicine facilities and to use various University transportation. Students report progress in weekly meetings with the OIR and complete final evaluations just prior to departure from Philadelphia.
Faculty Exchange Programs
Programs for faculty are handled directly by their respective departments.