A head start
Paula, Ashley and Amy are exchange students in Dentistry. This fall they have chosen to leave their universities to spend a semester at the University of Bergen.
Paula Lamond is a student from University of Dundee. Ashley Turrittin and Amy Brennan are students from the University of Minnesota. All three students are so far very pleased with their stay at the Department of Clinical Dentistry at the University of Bergen.
– An exchange experience can in many ways be described as a trip outside of the comfort zone, says Paula. As an experienced last year student, it is strange to suddenly find yourself in a situation where you do not know the routines, not even the native language of your patient.
Going on an exchange is to throw yourself into a new situation. You are faced with new routines, people and environments. This has been a challenge, Paula, Ashley and Amy, admits. During the first weeks they have all grown with the experience. Now they are very comfortable with their studies in Bergen.
– One of the most valuable lessons I have gained from this experience, says Ashley, is that I now feel much more ready for a transition to professional life. I believe the transition to professional life to be similar in many ways to an exchange. In both cases you have to handle a situation where many things are new and unfamiliar.
In this aspect the students have been given a head start. They have learned to be their own advocate and less afraid.
The students are English linguistic students doing clinical rotation in the student clinic at the University of Bergen. This means that they are treating patients under supervision of a teacher. Still the language has not been a problem. The students are surprised how well people understand and speak English here.
– What is typical of Norwegians, says Amy, is that they will start with claiming how poor their English is, seeming very ashamed, but then they go on to speaking fluently with lots of advanced words.
They all nod their heads. On the direct question of whether they still would choose Department of Clinical Dentistry at the University of Bergen if they had the possibility to choose again, they all answer – yes, without hesitation. They all seem very satisfied with the situation.
– The students here are great; they invite us to their homes and to all kinds of activities, Amy says.