04 February 2022
King's-Manipal elective - three students' experiences
Three students share their experiences taking part in the virtual elective programme with King's College London and Manipal Academy of Higher Education.
Towards the end of 2021, FoDOCS students, Tasnim Aniqa Ahmed, Siddharth Handa, Zahraa Maiter and a number of undergraduate and postgraduate dental students at King’s took part in a virtual elective with Manipal Academy of Higher Education (MAHE). MAHE is one of the premier private universities in India granted the “Institute of Eminence” status by ministry in 2018.
Aniqa, Sid and Zahraa share their experience:
In the first week, there was a focus on student presentations and discussion, and we taught each other about the respective healthcare and dental education systems in India and the United Kingdom. It was especially interesting to be able to draw parallels between their curriculum and our own, as well as noting the differences. For instance, we found that students at Manipal have no exams in their final year, which we were particularly envious of, as fourth and final year dental students! They also learn a lot about the use of lasers in dentistry, and have opportunities to observe them in use, which is not something that is emphasised within our curriculum.
The second week had more emphasis on talks from staff members from both universities. During this session, we learnt from Prof Vidya Saraswathi about the applications of lasers within dentistry, such as depigmentation procedures, gingival contouring and to minimise bleeding during surgical procedures. This talk from MAHE staff was particularly enlightening, as this was all new to us.
Following this, our own staff at King’s, Dr Jonathan San Diego and Dr Richard Foxton, talked about simulation work using HapTel equipment, which was enlightening for the students at Manipal, as they are only used to working on phantom heads and also their staff was very interested in looking into possibility of developing similar facilities in their university.
The final week of the elective was spent discussing cultural and extracurricular activities at both universities. MAHE students are clearly very talented, as they participate in a number of activities such as music and drama clubs. We also learnt that staff and students at MAHE engage in cultural activities together, such as decorating the clinics during cultural festivals and partaking in sports days, which was so lovely to hear about, and it would be nice to do similar activities here at FoDOCS.
By far the best part of each session were the breakout rooms, which took place towards the end of each session. Here, the students from both universities were left to their own devices to get to know each other better, and we had some very lively discussions about both our academic and personal lives.
Overall, the virtual elective was a testament to both faculties’ determination to have a student exchange despite the challenges that covid-19 has created. The experience gave an opportunity for students from different parts of the world to engage in discussion and compare how dentistry is taught and carried out.
It also provided students with a platform to network and build relationships within the profession on a global level. We would like to thank the faculty, and in particular Dr Maisa Seppala and Dr Ana Angelova Volponi, for organising this opportunity, and we hope to see more virtual elective opportunities on offer for students in the future.