Leili Zamini studied abroad in Spring 2015 in Seville, Spain prior to graduating from Towson with a B.S. in Chemistry and a minor in Molecular Biology, Biochemistry and Bioinformatics. Leili applied for and was awarded the Benjamin A. Gilman scholarship for study abroad and was recently highlighted by the same program.
Seville, Spain is a city like no other. It is a big city with a small town feel. My study abroad experience there opened my eyes to the ways of life in Andalusia. The laidback way of life in Seville is one of its most well known characteristics. The locals are always outside enjoying a drink or tapa and it is rare to see families spending time stuck inside the house. Besides spending time learning about the culture and enjoying the entertainment Seville had to offer, I also took the time to investigate their healthcare system, especially in relation to dentistry. I was interested in learning more about the dental field in Spain, as I will be starting dental school at the University of Maryland School of Dentistry this fall.
At the International Studies Abroad study center, I took a class called “Spanish for Healthcare Professionals”. This course was taught in Spanish and it covered topics relating to the public and private healthcare in Spain. While the class taught me a lot about healthcare in Spain, it was not until I met with Dr. Mateos that I learned the most about the dental field in Spain. Dr. Mateos, a periodontist and owner of Clínica Mateos, visited our class one day to present about his career in dentistry in Spain. As one of the only pre-dental students in the class, he invited me to visit his clinic and meet his staff one afternoon. I learned from him that dentistry is currently an evolving field in Spain. He informed me that while there is a long way to go, people have become more interested in taking preventative measures for their oral health. During my visit at the clinic, I also learned that dentists in Europe lack many of the newly advanced technology that are utilized by many dental schools in the United States.
My experience visiting Dr. Mateos left me feeling grateful for the dental field we have in the United States, but also inspired to become a part of a larger movement where American dentists have access to exchange knowledge with European dentists. I know that I will continue to stay in contact with Dr. Mateos and his team while I am pursuing my dental career in the United States. The opportunity to see the differences and similarities between the dental field in the United States and Spain left me feeling more knowledgeable about my future profession. My study abroad experience will impact the way I offer care and view dentistry for the rest of my life.
My Follow-On Service Project involved creating a brochure to encourage STEM majors to study or intern abroad. In collaboration with the study abroad office at Towson University, I created a brochure that lists opportunities abroad for students in their related healthcare field. This brochure will be presented to STEM majors next year during their advising appointments. The
brochure also includes ways for students to fund their education abroad. This is where the Gilman Scholarship is promoted and students are encouraged to apply. The goal of this brochure was to provide a resource for students and to let them know that going abroad is possible and they should not let their major or financial status keep them from this valuable experience.