My life has been affected in many ways by my involvement in gymnastics, in which I excelled and eventually represented my country. It is a sport where no one reaches the highest levels of competition without constantly demonstrating considerable determination, commitment, discipline, and a constant striving for perfection. I always seek to apply these characteristics to everything I do, and it has been excellent training for the rest of my life and work. Gymnastics is also the indirect reason for my career choice. A close friend of mine had a bad fall and lost most of her front teeth. Her appearance was severely affected, and she stopped competing and put on considerable weight. This brought me to the importance of dentistry in repairing self-image and respect rather than merely physical disease and injury. This prompted my decision to pursue dentistry, which I have never regretted.
My immediate goal is to qualify to practice in the US. Once I have sufficient experience, I hope to specialize in periodontology. My interest in this specialty arises because I appreciate the importance of accurate and early diagnosis, the appreciation of oral health as a ‘mirror’ of general health, and the effect of oral health on sports performance. My ultimate ambition is to teach dentistry and undertake research. I have always sought to help other students. I have often been complimented on breaking complex information into understandable ‘steps.’ I have a natural teaching ability and would love to develop and use this skill.
My family found it necessary to move from Iraq to Jordan when I was 16 years old. This move involved adapting to a new culture and educational system, but I worked extremely hard to overcome these obstacles and successfully entered dental school. This is not easy in a country where the state prescribes a student’s vocational choices depending on examination grades. So, this was a recognition of excellent high school graduation results.
I thoroughly enjoyed the DDS program at the prestigious Jordan University Dental School and graduated in 2013. The program was comprehensive and involved substantial exposure to various conditions and treatments. I founded the Jordanian Association of Dental Students, whose mission was to increase oral health awareness among the poorer sections of society. Once qualified, I interned in a hospital rather than a private clinic, as is usual for graduates. I did extractions but some restorative work, RCT, and other general dentistry.
My internship in Jordan lasted only a few months. I faced professional discrimination because of my nationality to the extent that I realized it would severely prejudice my chance of pursuing a successful career in Jordan, so I decided to seek asylum in the US in December 2013.
Since arriving in the US, I have qualified as a Dental Assistant and have worked in this capacity since June 2015. This has given me a good understanding of dentistry in the US. I have also shadowed three specialists in Periodontology, and this exposure has further fired my interest in pursuing this specialty. I work four days a week and give 2 days each week to volunteering at the Children’s National Medical Center in the Research Department, working on genotyping. I have found this exposure to research fascinating and hope to pursue research in the future.
I have happily studied, worked, treated, and socialized with people from many ethnic and social backgrounds. I enjoy sharing knowledge of my own culture and learning about others. I get along well with others and have a well-developed sense of humor.
I am confident that I have the potential to become a first-class dentist in the US. I am sure I possess the characteristics, experience, education, and training to add value to the program. If selected, I can assure the reader that I shall apply myself with exceptional enthusiasm and diligence to excel rather than merely succeed.
Iraqi International Dentist Personal Statement