Portugal Visit – 24/06/14-10/07/14
By Neha Shah and Satnam Kaur BDS4
When it comes to deciding a dental elective placement the phrase ‘the world is your oyster’ tends to spring into mind. Many students leap at the opportunity to travel far and wide to exotic and captivating countries. As part of our elective project we decided to stay a bit closer to home, but still in search of adventure, and visited the Catholic University of Portugal in Viseu. Viseu is a small quaint place in central Portugal. We did not know what to expect as we were not familiar with this area but when we arrived we were pleasantly surprised by the beauty of the town!
Located on top of a hill, the university boasts lovely views over the town. The clinic is new, modern and clean. Both the staff and students went out of their way to ensure we had all that we needed to undertake our elective projects. We settled in quickly and spent the first few days observing students and learning about new techniques and ways of approach.
One of the highlights was being able to talk to the dental students and it was interesting to see whether there were parallels in teaching and student life compared to Birmingham. We were shocked to learn that students attended the university from 8am till 8pm. Guess we can never complain about our ‘busy’ schedules!
Our Portugal contact was Professor Mendes, a well recognised figure in oral medicine as well as the Clinical Director of the Dental School. He was particularly helpful, and gave us the pleasure of observing his clinics. From this, we saw a variety of interesting cases, including implant surgery, removal of necrotic bone in a BRONJ case and the most interesting and unexpected of all being the retrieval of a fractured needle that had broken off inside a patient’s mouth!
We also observed SHOs, Maria, André, Patricia and Katya. We were particularly impressed by the way Andre and Maria approached a palatally impacted canine case whilst with Patricia and Katya we had the opportunity to visit a mobile dental clinic which screens for oral cancer. This provided a useful insight into community dentistry.
Aside from our elective projects we also got the chance to travel around Portugal. Due to Viseu’s central position we were able to take buses to nearby cities. Our travels lead us to ‘the most beautiful library in the world’ in Coimbra and world heritage sites such as the Riberia, located in Porto. Our final stop Lisbon, which boasts as ‘Europe’s Capital’ was a beautiful short stay where we visited the river front Belem.
We would recommend the Portugal dental hospital to anyone who was considering undertaking an elective. Portugal is a mix of adventure and culture and the language barrier always provides a fun challenge. The zero difference in time between the UK and Portugal is just an added bonus! We have made some good friends during our stay here and have gained a lot from a short visit. We hope to return to Portugal in the future.
We would like to thank Professor Walmsley for organising the visit to the Catholic Univeristy of Portugal. Furthermore, we would like to thank Professor Mendes, Professor Capucho and the students for making our stay fantastic and one that we will remember for years to come!