Like many young people in their teen years, I wanted to do something with my life that involved helping others, and I considered various career paths with this end in mind. However, my elder brother decided to take up dentistry. His delight in his work, especially at turning grimaces of pain into smiles of relief, inspired an interest in the profession, and my decision was made; it is one that I have never regretted. I enjoy that the work is multi-faceted, involving the application of scientific knowledge and personal contact, together with high-level communication and planning skills. I am deeply attracted to dentistry also because it is a dynamic and exciting field of study in which constant advances in techniques and materials are made, and I hope to play a part in these developments.
I commenced dental studies in 2008 at the International University for Science and Technology in Syria. The first three courses I completed consisted of basic science and pre-clinical studies. The war broke out in Syria when we were supposed to begin treating patients during the fourth year. This had a significant and detrimental effect as the school was obliged to relocate to a safer city, causing uncertainty and dislocation to myself and other students. Many of my classmates and faculty members left the country, but I decided to remain and complete my studies after much thought. The situation affected the number of patients we could treat and the types of cases available. We could see emergency cases but were not exposed to routine work. However, I had the opportunity to shadow a highly dedicated and experienced endodontist during my final year, which was an enriching and educative experience.
My goal is to qualify to practice in this country and eventually have my clinic providing excellent treatment in an underserved and rural community. My GPA result is not ‘stellar,’ but this is not an accurate reflection of my ability or commitment since, as explained, my studies were undertaken in a war situation. The resulting dislocation and uncertainty significantly affected me and my fellow students’ studies and results, and I ask the reader to consider these highly relevant facts.
Immediately upon graduating, I moved to the US. After settling in Oklahoma City, I began seeking opportunities to apply for my training. I met Dr. XXXX, a faculty member at the XXXX University College of Dentistry, who also has private practice. She offered me the opportunity to shadow her at her clinic and assist her in the role of Dental Assistant. This experience has given me insight into dentistry as practiced in the US and the importance of the role of the Dental Assistant. I am incredibly grateful for Dr. XXXX’s help.
I have also undertaken a significant amount of voluntary dental work. I was among a team providing treatment in remote villages in Syria. I worked as a volunteer Dental Assistant in the US at a community clinic that provides free dental services to economically challenged patients. This work has allowed me to share insights with other volunteers and make friends in the dental community. I participated in the XXXX Mission of Mercy project, an annual two-day event providing free dental services to the uninsured or underinsured and others not having access to dental care. I was amazed at the number of patients who showed up and the amount of work undertaken in such a brief time, and I was deeply impressed at the level of organization applied to ensure that everyone was treated. I was surprised at the level of need and the number of skilled and hard-working volunteers who came forward to give their time so generously and cheerfully. It was a highly inspiring and positive experience.
Work and voluntary activities in the US have given me a good understanding of the US dental environment and the techniques, equipment, and administration used here. Volunteering has also inspired my profound dedication to preventative oral health education. Once qualified, I would see it as a duty to seek opportunities to provide or supplement preventive education and treatment as widely as possible.
I have happily worked with, treated, and socialized with people of 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. My native tongue is Arabic, and I communicate in English orally and in writing. I love team sports and am an enthusiastic basketball, rugby, and water polo player.
I am confident that I have the potential to become a first-class dentist in the US. I am sure I possess the necessary personal characteristics and professional background to add value to the program. I can assure the reader that, if selected, I shall apply myself with great enthusiasm and diligence to the program.
Syrian International Dentist CAAPID Personal Statement