Travelling to St. Kitts and Nevis for January Term 2011 was an incredible experience. Thank you very much to the scholarship sponsors who were so generous in helping to support my course abroad. The course was about disaster preparedness and emergency relief, appropriate for an island country which is vulnerable to hurricanes and earthquakes and has an active volcano on it. In addition, St. Kitts and Nevis are plagued by many chronic illnesses similar to those in the United States, including diabetes, hypertension, and obesity.
During the course of the trip, we had the opportunity to attend lectures and presentations by prominent members of the health care and disaster management fields. These were valuable learning experiences as we gained firsthand knowledge about the vulnerabilities of Caribbean island countries and saw what preparations were in place as preplanning against disaster. We also participated in a mass casualty drill at a local hospital, using simulation as a way to test health care workers about their level of preparedness in case of a large scale disaster. Interacting with local EMT workers to practice clinical skills was a fantastic hands-on learning activity. We toured the medical, veterinary and nursing schools on the island and met with their administrators.
We also visited local landmarks and historical sites, including Brimstone Fortress, Black Rocks, the rainforest, and the burial ground of an ancestor of Thomas Jefferson. Many thanks to the professors and faculty for their hard work to make this trip a success. It was certainly a memorable and very useful course. In the future, I hope to participate in medical missions and other humanitarian aid work, where I will certainly be able to draw from my experiences in St. Kitts and Nevis.