Returning from Chile. RSU Assistant Professor Ilze Maldupa’s Experience
Ilze Maldupa is an Assistant Professor and Researcher at the Faculty of Dentistry at Rīga Stradiņš University (RSU). She dreamed about medicine since kindergarten. While she initially wanted to work with children, Maldupa switched her focus to Dentistry in the 7th grade.
During her studies in her 3rd year, RSU Professor Anda Brinkmane offered Maldupa the opportunity to attend an international conference in Copenhagen. Preparing for the conference and her first flight were very thrilling at the time. With a smile on her face, Maldupa remembers that her excitement at traveling lead to participating in the Erasmus exchange programme in Dresden. She arrived in Dresden not speaking German.
In 2008, the young doctor attended a major international dental congress in Toronto, where she met her future husband, Sergio Uribe, an Associate Professor at the University of Chile. Both met again at a similar congress in Barcelona where they go to know one another better.
In 2012, Maldupa went to Chile, where she had to pass 17 exams in order to start working as a dentist. Her European diploma wasn’t acknowledged in Chile.
Recalling the professional benefits, Maldupa talks about the close collaboration with the University of Chile, which has a strong science base, and the special gel developed in neighbouring Argentina, which was linked to a study in Chile and a similar study in Latvia. The aim was to help students acquire specific skills needed in dentistry.
Maldupa recently got approval for a postdoctoral project, and her family returned to Latvia. The initial plan was for her husband to move back to Chile, but because of the travel restrictions due to the pandemic, things did not go as planned. Currently, Maldupa is a lecturer and researcher at RSU, as well as a dentist at the RSU Institute of Stomatology, while her husband Sergio Uribe is an Associate Professor and leading researcher at RSU. Both also work remotely as lecturers at the Southern University of Chile.
Speaking about RSU, Maldupa appreciates the work that the Centre for Educational Growth has done to support the academic staff. She considers actively involving dental students in research to be her most important job.