Summer 2016

Expanding Worldview

With new exchange programs in Japan and Turkey, Tufts now has ties with 30 dental schools

The School of Dental Medicine has added two more countries to its already long list of international collaborators. Two dental schools in Japan and one in Turkey have signed memos of understanding to establish student exchanges, and are now among the 30 dental schools in 16 countries with which Tufts has formal ties.

Noshir Mehta, DG73, DI77, associate dean of global relations, and Dean Huw Thomas visited Asahi University and Meikei University in Japan and Cukurova University in Adana, Turkey, a year ago. They join dental schools in Australia, China, Kuwait, Mexico and Scotland. The international programs may take the form of three-week student exchanges in places like Japan or Spain or semester-long service-learning and community-outreach programs in the Dominican Republic or Haiti.

“Tufts—and the dental school especially—has always been an international school,” says Mehta. “We’ve been actively engaged in having foreign students coming to and learning at Tufts and then going back home and becoming ambassadors [for Tufts], but we never actively engaged with other schools.”

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Illustration: ingimage.com

At some of the sister schools, says Mehta, Tufts dental students, who pay for the exchange experience, will learn from some of the world’s best researchers and clinicians working in state-of-the-art facilities. In other locations, Americans students will have the chance to see how schools with fewer resources “can still
get the work done,” he says.

Students from abroad “are all eager to learn the American way, if you will,” from dental techniques, to filling materials, to electronic health record keeping, Mehta says. The experience can also give exchange students a leg up when applying to American dental schools.

The Japanese students from Tufts’ sister schools in the cities of Urayasu, just outside Tokyo, and Mizuho, in central Japan, will spend some time at One Kneeland Street this summer. Four Tufts students went to Japan last semester.

“My goal has been to expand the average American dental student’s global focus so that they can go out and be ambassadors for Tufts as well as come back and give their classmates a feel for what goes on in the rest of the world,” says Mehta. –Jaqueline Mitchell

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