Between the 9th and 16th of June, Bristol welcomed 12 Hanover exchange students for the 44th year of the Bristol-Hanover Dental Exchange Programme. We had a jam-packed week, fortunately with some sunshine, which we did mention is not always typical of Bristol. We all had a great time getting to know our German exchange students during the week, and in some cases, it was a welcomed reunion for returning students who hosted us in Hanover last year.
Our first morning of hosting comprised of a traditional Wetherspoons breakfast, which was agreed to be too traditional in the UK to not be included in our schedule! We explored iconic buildings and areas of Bristol including Wills Memorial, Harbourside and some of the Banksy artwork, giving us lots of photo opportunities whilst also embracing many of Bristol’s steep streets.
On Sunday evening we were lucky enough to be welcomed on to the lightship boat and catered for by our own BDH Dr Hooper who cooked a delicious meal (with even more amazing desserts!) for around 30 people. Best of all we were all encouraged to take any leftovers, leaving us happily walking home with plenty of chocolate orange cheesecake!
Over the exchange week, the German students got to observe Bristol Dental Hospital’s facilities in the various departments in BDH, the Outreach program at South Bristol Community Hospital, as well Southwell street. The latter consisting of an interactive session forming the facial muscles out of plasticine with Liz Gaze. They also had multiple talks from BDH staff on topics ranging from Orthodontics to Microbiology.
In the middle of the week we attended a talk with the Lord Mayor – Councillor Cleo Lake, at the City Hall. From a Bristol student point of view, it was great to be able to go into a building I’ve walked by many times on the way up Park street and hear about the history of some of the artefacts held there. Following the talk, we headed across College Green to Bristol Cathedral where we heard about the history of the building including how it originally functioned as an Abbey. We finished the afternoon with an ice-cream from Swoon to help digest our new knowledge of the city. However, we had to limit ourselves on the ice-cream as we had a ZaZa Bazaar reservation for 7pm – again another must visit with it being the BIGGEST restaurant in the UK.
On Wednesday, the students visited the implantology practice in Bath where we had a live video demonstration of an implant placement by Jonathon Schofield, followed by a hands-on activity where we practised our extractions and suturing on pigs’ heads. The day was concluded by a personal tour of the city given by Dr. Schofield, and a beverage in a local pub.
On Friday, we were hosted by Head of School Professor Robinson for a lovely spread and prosecco for all.
On the last full day of the exchange it was a bit cloudier than we would have hoped. This was not an issue as we stepped into No 4 Clifton for the English experience of an afternoon tea. With a private dining experience, all you can drink tea and more sandwiches and scones than we could eat between us, it was a relaxing end to a busy week. Of course, the topic of which topping is placed first on the scone was discussed, with a majority voting in favour of jam before the cream.
Before we knew it we were saying goodbye to our German students, who we now all considered our friends. We would like to take this opportunity to give a huge thank you to the Bristol Alumni Association who provided sponsorship for the exchange. I hope we can all stay in touch with our students over the years as we both progress through our dental degrees and hopefully even visit one another in our cities in the future.