A full summer
One of Geneva’s new overseas opportunities landed pre-med student Nella Matthews in Kenya, where she, a team of volunteers and two doctors saw 981 patients in eight days.
Matthews, who worked with an organization (Rafiki) that operates villages for orphaned children in several African countries, wrote the following to the director of Geneva’s Crossroads office, Ann Burkhead, last week:
“Kenya was amazing. I loved it there, and I am planning on going back next year. During the two-week medical clinic where we saw a total of 981 patients, there were 12 positive HIV tests, around 10 positive pregnancy tests and numerous positive malaria tests. We also had at least five kids who were extremely malnourished. They were just skin and bones.
“Outside of the two weeks, I ended up helping teach a class of 14 four-year-olds. I also got to help out with the high-school-age kids that came from the community around Rafiki. Any free time I spent playing with the 79 kids. In the evening I had 'enrichment', where I went to different cottages for about a half hour to an hour and played games with them and read to them.”
To get a glimpse of what Matthews experienced, view the pictures and video clips she has compiled at http://www.youtube.com/watch?v=tt81_iJsF4Y.
For Burkhead, reports like Matthews' remind her why she loves her job.
“It’s very satisfying to be able to help students identify and pursue their calling,” Burkhead says. “Sometimes they have to get away from what is familiar and comfortable and find a new perspective in order to discover who they really are.”
Off-campus opportunities continue to grow at Geneva. A variety of Geneva-sponsored programs are in place, along with opportunities through the Council for Christian Colleges & Universities (CCCU).
"There are programs that appeal to everyone," Burkhead says. "Both students and faculty are taking advantage of the opportunities that exist and creating new ones."
A trip to China aimed at business majors is among the newest offerings. Another program in the works is a trip to Israel aimed primarily at Bible and ministry majors, and a new science course will send students to Florida at the end of the semester to study water ecology and water policy.
The two pre-med programs, one with Intervarsity Christian Fellowship in Chicago and the other with Rafiki in Africa, are also new—and proving valuable, Burkhead notes.
“Both offer undergrad pre-med students the opportunity to have hands-on experience with patients—which is rare in the United States because of liability issues,” she says. “It will be a benefit to them to have these experiences documented in their portfolios when they apply to medical school.”