Skip to content

A Culture of Kindness – Outreach in Brazil

August 26, 2014

Oi! (Hello – in Portuguese)

Although our Portuguese may be rough and minimal, we have arrived safely in Brazil and are finally all settled in!  The University of Michigan School of Dentistry, International College of Dentists, and the Universidade de Sao Paulo Faculdade de Odontologia de Bauru (Sao Paulo Dental School in Bauru – Brazil) have a long standing partnership in which they have collaborated on a student exchange program.  This program originated as a way for dental students from Brazil and the United States to compare and contrast dental education in both countries and to experience them first hand. This August break, three third year dental students from the University of Michigan traveled to Bauru, Brazil to take part in the program and experience the Brazilian education and culture.  In November, the program will continue with dental students from Brazil travelling north to Ann Arbor to experience and observe an American dental school.

Upon arrival to Bauru, the students from the University of Michigan were kindly greeted by faculty and students from the University of Sao Paulo Bauru School of Dentistry.  In the US, the word “kindly” is used to describe an act of caring or a time in which one person expresses friendship.  In Brazil, being kind towards one another is an imperative aspect of the cultural dynamics and is in essence a way of life.  Everybody says hello to another, smiles, hugs, and gives beijos (kisses) on the cheek.  This immediate culture shock of kindness has set the tone so far as the first couple of days of the exchange program have been finishing up.  Everyone that we have had contact with and have spoken to so far has gone out of their way to assist us in any way that they can and has offered their hands in friendship.

On the first day of the program, we spent a majority of the day touring the wonderful campus, meeting with administration at the dental school and at the neighboring Centrinho Hospital of Craniofacial Anomalies, watching videos to learn more about the school and hospital, and talking with students about our travels and lives back in the United States.  To our surprise, the Sao Paulo Dental School in Bauru is set up very much like the University of Michigan: students treat patients in integrative care clinics, first and second year dental students are always sitting in lectures and studying for the next big exam, and the existence of Wednesday afternoon “Flex Time”.

The second day of the program was filled with clinic time.  Much like the D3 and D4 students at the University of Michigan School of Dentistry, the third and fourth year dental students here in Bauru also spend a vast majority of time treating patients in clinic.  Unlike U of M however, Bauru dental school clinic sessions are 4 hours long (they have the ability to get a lot accomplished in one clinic session), clinics are divided into D3 and D4 clinics, and the students pair up and assist one another every clinic session.

Over the next two weeks, we will have the opportunity to observe more student clinic time, watch the daily processes at Centrinho Hospital for Craniofacial Anomalies, participate in esthetic dentistry typodont exercises learning new skills and techniques, scrub up and watch various surgeries, and rotate through all of the specialization clinics!  More updates and stories to come!

Tchau! (Goodbye)

Spencer Crouch is a D3

Comments are closed.

%d bloggers like this: