His Italian family did not believe he was going to study in Spain until he jumped on a plane to Valencia – five years later, Angelo Lanzilotti has successfully completed his studies of Dentistry at University CEU Cardenal Herrera. He has also supported the University’s ERASMUS office, having worked there during the past two years. On his last day at work, Angelo looked back on his first days in Valencia, on five years full of interesting experiences and he told us about his passion for Dentistry, his future plans and what he loves most about his job.
Ciao Angelo. Congratulations – you have almost finished your studies here at University CEU Cardenal Herrera. Do you feel pure happiness now or are you also slightly wistful?
Angelo: Thank you. As I still have some exams and a lot of work to do, I have not really had the time to reflect. But it definitely feels strange having to leave soon – after five years studying here at University CEU Cardenal Herrera. It has been a great time, I will certainly miss all the nice people I have met here. But on the other hand, I am really looking forward to seeing my family and friends again, of course.
Do you still remember your first impression about Valencia when you got here five years ago?
Angelo: My first impression about Valencia was definitely positive – I liked the city right from the beginning. When I arrived here in Spain and knew nobody, I just had a coffee in a bar here in Moncada and the people there started a friendly conversation with me, someone even offered me a drink without knowing me – that was a really nice way of welcoming me here in Spain.
Studying a tough course of study such as Dentistry in a foreign country in a foreign language must be quite challenging. What has been your recipe to success?
Angelo: To be honest, it was quite difficult at the beginning indeed. When I got here, my Spanish and English skills were pretty low. English has also been a very important language for me, because our Dentistry classes are in English. I came here after having graduated at the high school for Dental Technology in Italy and having worked for almost ten years. My family did not believe I would go to Spain until the day I jumped on the plane to Valencia. My English and Spanish skills improved quite quickly. I have always been interested in the subject, I have always enjoyed my studies, and, of course, worked hard – that was probably the key to success.
Many people from abroad have the impression that your home country Italy and Spain are quite similar. Being an expert for both countries now – what do you think about it?
Angelo: Having lived here for five years, I can definitely say for sure that there are differences between our countries. I am from the southern part of Italy so we have some things in common like the lovely weather and being close to the sea even though, to be honest, the beach is a bit far away for me. I am used to having it right in front of my house. Of course, you cannot compare Italian and Spanish food. That is something completely different. However, I also must admit that Spanish people are warmer, more hospitable and more welcoming than Italians.
And in linguistic terms – was it easy for you as an Italian to learn Spanish?
Angelo: It was relatively easy for me to understand people right from the beginning. We have many words in common and the grammar is similar, too. It was harder for me to learn English – and now all my friends in Italy are quite impressed because they are wondering how I could learn so much English in Spain. Going to Spain to improve your English skills is quite unusual – but as a student of University CEU Cardenal Herrera almost everything is possible.
Working in the ERASMUS office does not have a lot to do with your studies of Dentistry. Could you still benefit from this job and have your own experiences been of use for giving your fellow students authentic advice?
Angelo: You are right. Although working in the ERASMUS office does not have much to do with Dentistry, I really enjoyed it. I like doing many different things – it is great to discover something new, I could learn much in the past two years I have been working there and I got to know many, many people. My lovely colleagues here have made the time fly by. The experiences I gained by going abroad myself are very useful for giving advice to other students, who plan to spend some time in a foreign country.
Angelo: During the past five years studying here I have gained a lot of competence, a lot of practical experience and important knowledge. We could probably not have learned more in those five years. In the wide field of medicine, however, the best way of becoming a hundred percent competent is practicing every day. Having studied at the high school for Dental Technology in Italy and worked in this field before helped me a lot. Now it is time to start a new episode.
Does this new episode lead you back to Italy or do you prefer the Spanish patients?
Angelo: Well, even though I have had many nice Spanish patients, I will go back to Italy now. It has always been my plan to go back after having finished my studies here. At home, there is a dental clinic waiting for me and my family and friends, of course. I am really looking forward to seeing them again even though it will be quite hard for me to leave Valencia and the friends I made here.
Does a good dentist also have to be a psychologist who is able to take away the patients’ fear of their dental appointments?
Angelo: Oh, a dentist definitely has to be very empathic and sensitive and has to know how to calm the patients. I have the impression that nowadays there are less and less people who are really afraid of their dental appointments. If you go to the dentist regularly, you do not need to be afraid. But still, I can understand that some patients feel fear, so it is important that they can trust their dentist.
Nowadays, shiny white teeth are tantamount to people’s success and attractiveness. How does this trend influence your tasks as a dentist?
Angelo: You are right. We notice this trend a lot because it strongly influences our tasks. Many young patients want to have their teeth bleached so that they look whiter. Others want to have straighter teeth. I actually also did my final project about ascetics, it was called “direct composite restorations on anterior teeth“. A young patient with many gaps between the teeth wanted to have it changed as she did not like it at all. She did not smile much which made her look very timid and shy. So we reduced those gaps – and now, this 24 year-old girl has completely changed. I had not expected such a positive reaction, but she is constantly smiling now, is much more confident and happier. That is what I love about my job – you do not only contribute to people’s health but also make some people really happy.
Grazie, Angelo! We are sure that you are going to make a lot more Italian patients happy & wish you all the best for your future.