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Medical School, French, Ethiopia

July 15, 2015


I am from Ethiopia, but also spent two-and-a-half years in a refugee camp in Kenya while growing up. My most fundamental respect for doctors is rooted in that experience long ago. Our camp was overcrowded with poor hygiene and many people died. It was in that camp that I began to pay attention to medical information. This experience would shape my life in permanent ways and goes a long way to explain my determination to become a physician. On a daily basis, for years, I saw dozens of people dying on any given day, almost all of them from preventable diseases, and could not do anything to help. It was in that camp that I promised myself that I would study medicine and become a doctor.

I want to go to medical school because I want very much continue to build on the foundation of my undergraduate studies in biology. I seek exposure to the full scientific range of medical theory and practice and hope to develop a special interest in the elderly at some point in my studies. I look forward to a rigorous immersion in medical school and later the sense of professional fulfillment that comes from extending my hands to anyone who needs medical help regardless of their race, color, religion, belief, creed or sexual orientation. In addition to being busy for many years preparing myself for medical school, I also collect secondhand biomedical devices to send to where the need is greatest in Africa.

After moving to the U.S eight years ago, I learned how to put my language skills to use in Amharic, French, Oromo and Somali. Working as a professional medical interpreter since 2004 has allowed me to bridge the gap between multiple medical providers, especially doctors, on the one hand, and limited-English speaking patients on the other, helping them, for example, to understand the consent form including the risks and benefits of the procedure they are contemplating. This experience helps me to have the confidence to apply to the Medical University of The Americas Program. I have been working for a big teaching hospital, side by side with medical students, residents, and attending physicians. I hope to be selected, at least in part, as a result of my level of awareness of cultural differences and my experience helping non-English-speaking people receive adequate medical attention.

I am very pleased to see that the US is growing increasingly diverse and I will feel most at home here as an African physician that speaks multiple languages. For the last six-and-a half-years, I have had the opportunity to help East African communities here in Minnesota to organize in a variety of ways. I keenly look forward to serving East African communities as a family physician in the future, and in this way help my community, especially here in Minnesota. I also long to return someday to refugee camps for Ethiopians, Somalis, etc. My greatest professional dream would be to join hands with Doctors without Borders.

Upon arriving in the US, it did not take me long to realize that there would many challenges ahead of me. First, I had to settle in and find a way to support myself and my family that I left behind. I had to work as well as go to college full-time and this had a negative impact on my academic performance. Fortunately, I was able to successfully support my family and was even able to sponsor several of them to come to the U.S. and join me. I received the Kopp Presidential Scholarship and was a French tutor for two semesters at XXXX Community College where I completed all of my pre-medical classes and an undergraduate degree in biology. I ask for special consideration with respect to my grades, that my position as responsible for the survival of my extended family back in Africa be seen as a mitigating circumstance. I thank you.

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