Coming from a different cultural background I always had a difficulty in communicating with people as English was my second language. Taking ESL class to help me with my grammar changed me and my life. Initially, I was very timid when I had to speak up in front of the classroom, fearing that people would laugh at me. But I came across other students in my ESL class, who had just moved from different countries and could not even read English. I noticed that as much as I was encountering problems with my English, these other students were having even a harder time. And so my timidity turned to a need to help these students to feel more comfortable in the new environment and help them to cope. With this constant interaction with these students from diverse cultures, I became good friends with a lot of people. In the end, I developed a better understanding and acceptance of others. My ESL teacher became very impressed and rewarded me for helping other students. These experiences progressively helped to build my confidence and motivated me to pursue excellence in my studies.
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My interest in dental hygiene started before I got to high school. But it was upon starting high school that it became more profound. And I was fortunate to be selected from one of the sixty students for the Career Day Program at Westlake High School to shadow Dr. Stephen Widner and his staff through a worker’s perspective. His staff consisted of a surgical technician, a dental hygienist, and registered nurse. Everyday I was exposed to a variety of dental procedures such as cleaning, dental implants, extractions, and jaw surgeries. I especially enjoyed working with a dental hygienist named Cheri, whom I shadowed in patient-care procedures such as doing X-rays, cleanups and removing plaques, as well as teaching patients how to take care of their oral hygiene.
The patients who visited were not just from diverse cultures, but also of different ages and coming from different socioeconomic conditions. I witnessed the compassionate spirit in the dental office, which tremendously helped me to improve my communication skills with people. And obviously, I learned more about the field and also got a better understanding about dental hygiene.
I was also involved in the American Students Dental Association (ASDA) at the University of Texas, San Antonio. Through ASDA, I interacted with many other students from different cultural backgrounds who shared my interests, as well as professionals in different interrelated fields. Through their knowledge and experiences, I explored further dental hygiene and more detailed.
For instance, I was again privileged to shadow Dr. Farrah Agahi DMD, MSD, in her orthodontic’s office. Her willingness to let me assist her and her staff exposed me to a number of procedures and gave me hands-on experience. Watching her work made me see the importance of eye-and-hand coordination. Drawing involves more than just passion. It involves accuracy as well, which requires a close coordination between the eye and the hand. This opportunity was a very unique and interesting experience in a dental office.
One major lesson that I learnt throughout all these experiences was that when two cultures come together, there is an interaction and exchange of ideas and values, which promotes better growth and understanding of knowledge. My ability to interact and accept people of different cultures from my own will assist me in bringing students from different cultures together.
Upon completing my studies on dental hygiene, I would like to gain more experience working hands-on with patients in the dental office. I look forward to being the one to offer assurances as a dental care provider to underprivileged people and teach them the relationship between oral hygiene and how it is related to our general health.
The University of Texas Health Science Center at San Antonio is the place for me to be. It has created the perfect set of programs and curriculum that would assist me in accomplishing my goals. It would be an honor to be given an opportunity to study in your school. A school which draws hard-working students from allover the world and, as a result, presents diversity, and will make a perfect environment for me to study.