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Dental School, Korean Immigrant Applicant

November 15, 2014


I am a Korean, born and raised in Korea until the age of 16 when I moved to the U.S. with my family. I am bilingual in Korean and English. I hold a BA degree in Chemistry awarded by the University of Virginia.

 If you were to walk into the waiting room of the average dental surgery in most countries, you would probably see a group of relaxed looking people reading magazines. If you were to walk into the waiting area of a free dental clinic in Korea, you would be faced with a group of people in obvious distress, many with swollen faces and pain filled eyes. The latter was my first exposure to dentistry. I also saw the effects of the ministrations of a caring and expert dentist which in many cases was almost miraculous. This was my first exposure to dentistry and, had I held any doubts previously, I quickly became aware of the importance of dental and oral health to everyone’s general health and well being. It also brought home to me, in sharp relief, the importance of education in routine dental hygiene and care.

 During my vacation in the second year of college, I was offered the opportunity to assist and ‘shadow’ a prominent dentist, Dr. XXXX, in Daejeon, Korea. After a day spent working in a successful practice, he would go to a free clinic and treat those unable to pay for treatment. His caring and interested attitude to his free patients was exactly the same as that provided to his paying patients. I was filled with admiration for this man and fascinated with what he taught me about dentistry and resolved to seek to emulate him.

 Since that time, I have taken every opportunity to learn more about the art of dentistry and have been a volunteer at a free dental clinic in Charlottesville. I have provided general assistance to dentists and staff, guided patients, disinfected instruments, assisted at operations and taken x-rays. Patients are treated with respect and provided with high quality care and I feel privileged to be involved in helping the dedicated staff and, in my small way, the patients too. It is my firm intention to donate substantial time in providing treatment to those unable to afford it once qualified and in furthering basic preventative education in dental hygiene and care. It is my goal, once qualified, to practice in a poorer, possibly rural, community where my skills and knowledge would have most effect.

 In addition to dentistry related voluntary work, I have also undertaken other volunteer activity that has provided useful and relevant experience in leadership, budget management and generally positive and effective interaction with others.

 Dentistry programs attract many well qualified applicants, not least because dentistry provides practitioners with the route to a good income. While I am naturally interested in a financially rewarding career, I genuinely want to ‘make a difference’ as well as to ‘make a living’ and also seek the personal reward of a fulfilling and worthwhile career and I am convinced that dentistry offers this.

 Being the product of two distinct cultures, I am particularly aware of the importance of cultural sensitivity and awareness and understand that this applies in a special way in the provision of medical treatment. I have happily studied and worked with people of many cultural and social backgrounds and like to share cultural experiences with others. I can also empathize with those who are new to the culture of the US especially those who face the challenge of learning a new language. My family suffered some serious financial challenges when we came to this country and this experience provides me with useful insights into the difficulties faced by those needing dental treatment but finding themselves unable to afford it.

 I genuinely believe that I am an excellent candidate for a dentistry program. I have a relevant bachelor degree with a GPA score that will provide assurance as to my diligence and intelligence. I have undertaken substantial relevant voluntary activity in dentistry and, not least, am passionately interested in the subject. It will be my firm intention to excel within the program and I undertake to apply all my diligence, intelligence and enthusiasm within it.

 Thank you for considering my application.

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