Meet Arooj Sarfraz, D23

School: School of Dental Medicine

Degree: Doctor of Dental Medicine

Home: My safe haven, a comfort zone for my truest self

Why was the School of Dental Medicine the right place for you?

International dental students have a unique story. We come from all over the world, and we already are licensed dentists in our home countries. We’re going to school at Tufts to become licensed to practice in the U.S.

Among the international dentist community, Tufts is one of the most prestigious institutions you can attend to become licensed in the U.S. Also, it’s an institution that knows what it’s doing in terms of supporting the particular needs of international students.

There’s something even more important than those things, though. Before you come here, you hear people say, “At Tufts, everybody is family,” and that just sounds like a thing people say. But you quickly learn that here, it’s actually true. The system here is set up to make everyone, including international students, feel like they belong. I saw that among faculty, students and alumni, both in school and in the outside world. It was the diversity and close ties among the Jumbo family that made me choose Tufts.

What surprised you the most about your time at Tufts?

How much a person can accomplish, even when they are not too sure of their capabilities. For me, it’s been an intense time, both personally and professionally. I live in Maryland, and I spent my entire time at Tufts commuting back and forth. I’d come to school three days a week, and the rest of the time I was a full-time mom in a different state. In addition, I also served as the class president and was the only international student on my class’s executive board. I was juggling academic responsibilities and extracurricular activities at school alongside my full-time family commitment. It seemed impossible at times, but I managed, and it surprised me to see how much actually is possible—especially if you have the right support, as I have had at Tufts.

Any advice for someone who wants to follow the same path you’ve followed?

Keep an open mind. This experience can be both exciting and challenging. We might think we already know everything being taught to us in school, but there’s always so much more to learn. Be a part of the system, enhance your skills or explore new interests while still enjoying your previous knowledge and muscle memory. This is a do-over that not many people get, so enjoy it. You have to unlearn some of the old ways, learn the new, and then mesh them together to turn your professional self into a version that’s beyond anything you ever imagined.

Back to Top