For me, the journey of seven thousand miles begins with a single step and a dream.
I had a dream of opportunity. One that convinced a 25-year-old young woman to pack her belongings into a suitcase and move by herself across oceans to a country that welcomes every individual with open arms, Canada.
The road ahead seemed vague. Unfortunately, Google Maps couldn’t help me navigate my route, despite advertising themselves as a “world atlas,” so much for technology, huh?
Still, my dream kept me up at night. It made me want to run, climb rocks, swim through filthy ponds, and keep moving forward, even if that meant going down on my hands and knees through trenches.
My dream needed to be fuelled. It kept growing, slowly carving itself into everything I did. I was happy living my life back in India. In 2017, I was a licensed, practising dentist in a city called Hyderabad after completing my BDS. I had an established loyal client base and single-handedly opened three dental clinics for my senior associate in highly reputable hospitals across the city. I had everything I needed, but it felt like something was missing.
I kept dreaming of a Doctor of Dental Surgery (DDS) degree in Canada. One of the routes to get there was through the National Dental Examining Board of Canada (NDEB). The NDEB equivalency process is a fierce competition amongst dentists from across the world. Needless to say, it requires a vision, a thorough plan, and most importantly, willpower to succeed.
So I moved to Toronto and began studying for the intense exam processes I was about to embark on while simultaneously job hunting to sustain my expenses. Did I mention my dream was an expensive affair?
The search for a transitional job made me run in circles. I worked at many different places before I set foot in the Canadian dental industry as an Indian dentist. I have only recently managed to settle into a position with EDMS Dental that helps me stay relevant, motivated, and inspired. I was blessed to have connected with some great individuals in the field along the way. However, I’ve also had my share of criticism of being told I wasn’t good enough, that I’ll never make it, and worse of all, that Canada didn’t need another foreign-trained dentist.
And yet, I still dream of holding my DDS degree in my hands, owning a clinic of my own, and doing some challenging but amazing dental work — all to experience the feeling of creating smiles and the satisfaction of treating my patients well.
This is my journey, and while my dream is a mighty jump away due to COVID-19 and the impact it has had on the dental equivalency process, I haven’t lost focus or my passion for dentistry.
I’m here, just like you, on a quest to gain my license, and we will do it. As Henry Ford once said, “If everyone is moving forward together, then success takes care of itself.”
So, if not today, tomorrow! And if not tomorrow, then the day after that. Nevertheless, one day, we’ll do big things soon. Call it a dream.
Dr. Pallak Razdan is a dentist and the Social Media Director at EDMS Dental. She is a contributing Prep Doctors’ writer focusing on her journey to Canada, the NDEB equivalency process, and a broad scope of Canadian dentistry.