The Hannover exchange programme signifies a long standing link between the cities of Bristol and Hannover in Germany. Every year a select group of dental students from each city will in turn visit the other for a one week stay, during which the students observe how their counterparts study and practice dentistry differently. The exchange also provides a fantastic opportunity for students to become immersed in another culture and lifestyle as they stay in their host student’s home.
After a truly unforgettable week spent in Hannover last year and having been so overwhelmed by the generosity and kindness of our hosts (report here) we, the year 2 and 3 students in the Bristol exchange group, were keen to ensure our students would have an enjoyable stay in Bristol experiencing all that our diverse city has to offer.
The first day kicked off brilliantly with unbroken sunshine, and after a cheap and rather cheerful fry-up at The Commercial Rooms an energised Theo Stennett led the group on a choppy trip up river to Beese’s tea room wherein the Germans experienced the delights of English afternoon tea. Contentedly full of tea, and rather a large slice on Victoria sponge in Neel Sethi’s case, we cruised back home for a pizza feast at the SCR and a tense viewing of the Germany/Ukraine Euro16 match.
To formally start the week the group were warmly welcomed to the Dental School by Head of School Professor Robinson whose talk emphasised the importance of the exchange to build vital relations between our cities and essentially a chance to learn from one another. It was already clear that lifelong friendships have been made on this trip and so the continuation of support for the exchange is imperative. Many thanks also go to Professor Robinson for kindly hosting a wonderful champagne reception for the group later in the week; our students fed back how refreshing they found the close relationship and community between staff and students at Bristol.
Our students spent the week observing various areas of dentistry in the Bristol Dental Hospital, visiting our outreach community Dental Hospital in South Bristol, CBC Dental Laboratories in Thornbury, and hopping over to Wales for a tour of the Renishaw factory at the Miskin site where their cutting edge devices and engineering technologies in the healthcare sector were demonstrated to the students. Such technologies included in practice 3D computer scanners to replace dental impression-taking and subsequent metal 3D printing of custom prosthodontics. In other areas of healthcare, Renishaw are also developing pioneering devices for stereotactic neurosurgery and drug delivery systems.
Of course in between the hard work it was important we fitted in some quality downtime whereby the group were able to socialise and bond. After our warm up (or rather chilly some might say) BBQ at the SCR in December for our ‘German Night’ fundraiser, an enthused Alex Gormley was primed once again to hit the barbie, cooking up a storm of bratwursts and our local delicacy: the humble ASDA sausage. The Germans commented how much they enjoyed their time spent in the SCR as an evening social facility and indeed how fortunate we are to have such a place. With the later evening entertainment plan safely in the hands of our very own highly spirited and unstoppable social reps Sherry and Lynsey, the Germans were certainly in for a treat as we hit the Bristol night scene for cocktails and dancing.
All too soon the week was at an end and our German friends departed home to Hannover after an emotional farewell. I’m sure I speak for the entire group when I say what an incredible exchange programme this is and that we will take away some treasured memories from these two weeks. We’re extremely sad that our time on the exchange is over but are confident that we will continue to visit one another. The exchange programme now looks to hand over the batten to a fresh group of Bristol students who will be lucky enough to experience this exchange. For those students interested more details will be given by Dr Hague in the new academic year.
On a final note we would also like to take this opportunity to thank Dr Gray and Dr Hague for all their hard work in helping to organise and support this exchange. Dr Gray your commitment to the exchange over the years is astounding and your presence will be missed.