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Irish Dental Students Visit UMSOD

Written by Adam Zewe

For Suna Guray and Rebecca Dowling, a well-rounded dental education includes a flight across the Atlantic Ocean. The Irish dental students explored the clinics, labs and classrooms at UMSOD during a two-week externship. "I wanted to broaden my horizons and see what dentistry is like in a different country. This being the first dental school in the world, it seemed like the right place to go," remarks Guray.

She and Dowling are rising senior dental students at Trinity College in Dublin, Ireland. The historic college, founded by Queen Elizabeth I in 1592, is home to one of Ireland's three dental schools. The biggest difference between Trinity and UMSOD is the sheer size of the dental program, says Dowling. Trinity enrolls 40 students per class and has a smaller dental clinic, so each specialty does not have a clearly defined department.

Dental school in Ireland is a five-year program that students begin upon graduation from high school. After spending their first year completing intense science courses, the students move on to simulation, small-group learning and, eventually, live patient treatment, Dowling explains.

During their externship, Dowling and Guray observed residents prepare and place implants in the clinics. After exploring the Dream Room, both students agree that cutting-edge technology makes UMSOD an impressive institution. The online curriculum and Mediasite lectures give students incredible opportunities to discover how they learn best, says Guray. They were especially interested to see how the latest technology, like CAD/CAM machines, is being incorporated into the curriculum. "I'm glad I got to see that this kind of technology is being used. It's only a matter of time before it spreads across the water," Dowling declares.

The students also toured the Baltimore Inner Harbor, took a day trip to Washington, D.C. and enjoyed the sights and sounds of Artscape. Despite the summertime heat and humidity, which are not as intense in Ireland, they thoroughly enjoyed their visit to Maryland. "This experience has given me a better picture of dentistry. It's good to see it from a different perspective," Guray says.

Fast Facts: Ireland

Location: western Europe, in the North Atlantic Ocean, west of Great Britain

Area: 27,132 square miles (slightly larger than West Virginia)

Population: 4.7 million

Capital: Dublin

Time Difference: 5 hours ahead of Baltimore

Climate: temperate maritime, with mild winters and cool summers; overcast about half the time

Largest industries: pharmaceuticals, chemicals, computer hardware and software, food products, beverages and brewing, medical devices

Currency: Euros

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