Students help sugarcane workers in the Dominican Republic.
By Jennifer Cisney
Over January break, a group of Wilson students and faculty traveled to La Romana, the Dominican Republic, on a service learning trip. There, they provided health assessments and medications to the people living in the sugar cane worker villages known as “bateyes.”
The students formed dedicated, enthusiastic, and smoothly functioning clinical teams. Over five days, they saw 375 patients, gave 288 children a dose of anti-parasite medicine, and interviewed 87 adults about blood pressure. The group adapted to language barriers, supply problems, and hygiene difficulties. In the process, they learned about a resource-challenged country’s healthcare and socioeconomic needs.
The students were also immersed in Spanish language practice and, through their interactions with the locals, got insights into another culture. To celebrate the end of the week, the team spent a day at the beach relaxing and enjoying the Caribbean waters!
Being able to go on a service learning trip, especially as a nursing major was amazing! I never thought I would have the opportunity during college to go abroad but this trip offered me a memory that will last a lifetime. Not only did I get hands-on nursing experience taking manual blood pressures but I also made many friendships and had such a fun week. If you have the opportunity to do a service learning trip do not hesitate because it will be so worth it. — Jordan Yeager ’23 , nursing major
Going to the Dominican Republic with Wilson College was a great opportunity. As a nursing student enrolled
in the Spanish course, it allowed me to not only apply the skills I have gained in the nursing program, but also practice communicating with people in a way that was comfortable for them. This trip gave me the experience to work with a community in much need of medical care and expand my knowledge of the world. I am excited for future Wilson students that will get this opportunity to serve those in need. — Abigail Buck ’24, nursing major
The trip to the DR placed me in an environment where I was forced to communicate in Spanish in order to serve well, thus naturally developing my skills. The opportunity to get to know people by speaking their language and helping them to learn my own, significantly boosted my confidence and desire to continue practicing and furthering my knowledge of Spanish. — Emma Lowman ’24, equine studies major
While most students worked in the clinic, I was out with kids in the bateyes. I taught them English and Spanish using Head, Shoulders, Knees, and Toes and Simon Says — this was the kid’s favorite. I even got the kids to teach me Creole. It was a great experience as a future English teacher. — Mariah Kiefer ’24, English major
This trip was so enlightening for the staff, the students, and me. Being able to set up a dental clinic, a medical clinic, a family planning clinic, and a pharmacy with limited space and resources was amazing. In addition, students were able to visit clients in the villages for blood pressure monitoring and also teach children English. The trip helped us all realize what we are truly capable of achieving in one week. I am beyond proud of what this group accomplished and the memories will forever be in my heart! — Pamela Hollenbach, Coordinator of Online Nursing Programs