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Woman International Dentist from Vietnam, IDP Personal Statement

Updated: Feb 6

A woman and dentist originally from Vietnam, I was born in 1979 in My Tho, a small town in the South. I worked very hard growing up to become a successful dentist. My mother’s best friend, and my godmother, Huong, are general dentists. Thanks to her, dentistry has been a big part of my life since childhood, when I spent much time observing her every move. I sometimes joke that learning from her was my first observership. My highest moments were when she cared for my teeth, as I daydreamed of someday helping people as a dentist. As I grew into late childhood and early adolescence, I watched and listened around Huong’s clinic; I cleaned, ran errands, maintained equipment, and listened to her explanations and conversations with patients. I admired Huong greatly and will always love her dearly. When faced with a trying situation in America, I sometimes ask, almost out loud: “What would Huong do?”

By the time that I was in high school, I was buying materials for the clinic and helping with many things, even assisting in support of minor procedures, always looking around and taking everything into account so that Auntie Huong had what she needed at hand, to the extent to which I could, after school and on weekends. A dental clinic is in my blood, and I feel destined to have it someday. Most of my close friends in America are Vietnamese, but not all. But there is something about the bond Vietnamese immigrants share in America that binds them together. Even since I came to America, as before in Vietnam, my heart goes out to the underserved, the poor, homeless people, and anyone I see or run into on the street with a mouth full of rotten teeth.

I have a radar for dental pain; sometimes, I glance at people passing on the street and read it on their faces. In particular, I want to help the underserved as a sense of personal and professional mission; that is my central long-term plan and what will bring me the greatest joy. I hope, in time, after completing your program and gaining several additional years of experience practicing general dentistry, to start my clinic. Progressively, as my clinic becomes more financially sound, I want to help more and more of the most-needy members of my community, especially Vietnamese ones. I plan to look for them, search them out, and actively attract them so that I provide them with cutting-edge dental care with a kind heart and in their mother tongue.

I have also known adversity which has helped to make me strong. Our small family business went bust during my first year of dental school, throughout which I ate almost exclusively noodles and vegetables because that was all that I could afford working as a tutor to earn money for my tuition as well as expenses, living in a dorm room with six other students. By my third year, some of these expenses were met by a government scholarship; by the fourth year, I had received a 3-year scholarship from a dental clinic that helped me complete the 6-year program. I graduated near the top of my class in August of 2003 and spent the next seven years practicing dentistry in Vietnam.

From August to September of 2003, I volunteered for a mission supported by Colgate Palmolive Company that went to nine provinces in the South of Vietnam. I examined local children, filled decaying teeth, extracted deciduous teeth, etc. I helped them to feel comfortable and learned a lot about the importance of teamwork. The trip allowed me to open my arms and my mind to others, and I especially enjoyed educating the local children about dental hygiene. My first professional position was with Van Hanh High Tech Dentistry, managed by my Operative Dentistry professor, one of Vietnam’s leading Implant specialists. I learned a great deal about dental implants when working in this clinic, devoting my time to working as a general dentist. I enjoyed working there and found great joy in making our patients happy. Often, on weekends, I left the city to volunteer in the countryside.

In 2011, I moved to the US. I first studied ESL and then finished a university course in English Composition. Since 2013, I have worked as a dental assistant in a nearby dental office. I have learned a lot about supplements and how dentistry is practiced in America. I have worked, studied, and raised my children to the point where I feel strongly that it is now the optimal time for me to earn the terminal degree in my field, again pursuing my professional dreams, making them my top priority, and giving them my all.

A very active and highly motivated person. I always keep my mind and body in positive form, ready to learn new knowledge and make what I have learned much more sophisticated and complete. I love yoga, Zumba, dance, music, reading, singing, and traveling.

Thank you for considering my application to your International Dental Program.

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