I am a dentist from India who now lives in the USA, and I want to prepare myself for success in dentistry in my new country. I grew up in Kerala, India, where I had an uncle and a cousin who were dentists, and I used to go to their dental offices to observe. Soon, I learned how to help a little bit at their practices, and before long, I was learning how to deal with various dental issues while still incredibly young. I learned early on the importance of effective communication between patients and healthcare providers. In part, I came to the United States due to my marriage. Now, however, I am going through a divorce. But I have fallen in love with America and, most notably, the goal of practicing dentistry here in the country where that practice is most advanced.
I finished my internship in India in 1998 and then worked as an Associate in the Oral Medicine Department of the dental college from which I graduated. I also worked for several months at a dental office in Kerala until I left for Saudi Arabia in 2000 and began working in a public hospital. This experience gave me vast exposure to diversity in patients and dental issues. I later joined a polyclinic in Saudi Arabia until I returned to India for one year, from 2003 to 2004. I had the invaluable opportunity to work with a team of implantologists. I returned to my polyclinic in Saudi Arabia, working from 2004 through 2008. I then volunteered in Bangalore for dental camps and immigrated to the USA in March 2009. While caring for my son, who is now ten, I volunteered at two dental offices.
At 39, I can finally pursue my professional dream without distractions. As one of the most mature students in your program, I will seek to excel based on my extensive experience in the field. I passed Part 1 of the NBDE with a score of 77 and will appear for Part 2 in March and the TOEFL in February. Along with Hindi, Malayalam, and English, I also speak, read, and write Tamil and Arabic. My long-term goal is to establish my dentistry practice here in America and cater primarily to those members of a large urban community that speak these languages. Practicing dentistry in Saudi Arabia off and on for four to five years was incredibly challenging. Throughout the experience, I found great satisfaction in my improved ability to please my patients in Arabic. I am susceptible to multicultural and multilingual experiences and challenges because of this experience. I worked primarily with dental emergencies for my first year, which was incredibly challenging. Nevertheless, I persevered and even excelled at fulfilling my responsibilities.
My long-term interest in the poor and oppressed, refugees, recent immigrants with scarce resources, and undocumented people also took off earnestly during my stay in Saudi Arabia. I did not treat the Saudi elite; I treated everyone from guest workers to indigents. Most of my patients were unaware of their poor oral hygiene, yet they wished to escape pain and were extremely concerned about how they would pay for their dental care. My patients in the KSA considered dental care a luxury, something that did not readily correspond to their social station. Many also suffered from at least one other medical condition, usually undiagnosed, that impacted their oral health.
Over the last several years, since arriving in the USA and volunteering at two dental offices, I have also volunteered to help in remote areas for medical camps in Sacramento and Oakland in 2011. I also volunteered for many dental bases in Saudi Arabia and India since it is my volunteer work that I find most satisfying. I am especially drawn to prevention, so I helped organize dental check-up camps. These activities are foundations upon which I want to continue to build to balance my professional life, working as a dentist until I can no longer do so.
The most significant contribution I could make to society would be to understand my patients' emotions, help them during a crisis and become a top-notch dental practitioner who is well-versed with all the latest techniques and exceedingly kind and friendly. I hope very much to be admitted to your program for international dentists. Dozens of dentists have encouraged me, especially those that I met at dental camps. I have stayed abreast of current developments in my field partly through an extensive network of colleagues I have built up, mostly here in America.
I did not make as much progress professionally as I would have liked since being here in America. Much of this involves being a domestic violence victim and landing in a transitional home, trying to shield my son. We are free; I am divorced and have no baggage to drag me down. My son supports me in my endeavors, and I can now devote even more energy to dentistry than I have ever done before. As a result of heightened discipline, organization, and passion, I can excel in your program.
I also dream of giving long stints of my professional life to full-time research into oral cancer. I have matured enormously and achieved a solid scientific background with a stable trajectory of clinical exposure for many years. I am dedicated to serving the needs of the most vulnerable among us. I thank you for considering my application to your program.
International Dentist Personal Statement