Oranjestad, Aruba native Jonathan Garcia consulted the Internet to choose the perfect educational institution for his first study-abroad experience. When he discovered Bates Technical College’s Dental Lab Technician program, he knew it was the perfect fit. Jonathan started the program in March 2015.

In an interview, Jonathan discusses why he was drawn to the industry and the college.

Bates: Why did you choose to study at Bates Technical College in Tacoma, Wash.?

Jonathan Garcia: Both the college and the Dental Lab Technician program are accredited, and there is an option for homestay, where I can live with a host family. Also, I read good reviews about the instructors, and the program is very affordable.

When I earn my associate degree in Dental Lab, I want to earn another associate degree in Bates’ Denturist program. There is no other school in this region where these programs are offered. It made the best sense to enroll at Bates because of these things, and because the weather is so moderate, I like it.

Bates: What do you like best about Bates, and your program?

JG: The instructors are great. Bob (Criss) explains everything so you can understand better. And, the class is like my family. If a student doesn’t understand something, we help each other out. We eat lunch together in the cafeteria; it’s like an instant family.

Bates: What is the most interesting thing you’ve learned so far in your program?

JG: Because my father owns a dental lab in Aruba, and I spent a lot of time at the lab growing up, I learned the basics of the profession. So, the first quarter I was in class, I knew the concepts. The most important thing I learned so far is the denture set-up.

Bates: What do you miss most about your home country, Aruba?

JG: I miss my family, and helping my father in the dental lab. The foods I miss the most are funchi and pan bati.

Bates: How will your education at Bates help you when you return to Aruba?

JG: I will work alongside my father in his dental lab, and I will also be able to help him expand his business in the denturist field, since I will have that knowledge. I’m looking forward to learning CAD/CAM technology and digital dentistry when it starts in the fall, too.

Bates: What do you do when you’re not studying?

JG: I like to watch TV series on Netflix. I also went to a Mariners game, and it was awesome. When King Felix was pitching, the stadium was so loud; it was my first time going to a major league baseball game.

Bates: What advice would you give to another international student thinking of studying in Tacoma, Wash.?

JG: If you like to work with your hands, this is a great opportunity. The Dental Lab program has great instructors, and they will help the international students to learn better and understand each course better. Also, since the college offers a homestay program, you won’t have to worry about being alone.

To learn more about the Dental Lab Technician program, go to: www.bates.ctc.edu/DentalLab

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