Union College's International Rescue and Relief (IRR) is a four-year bachelor's degree training in emergency medicine, disaster response, and sustainable community development. Before graduation from the program, students are given a three-month overseas semester in which to physically synthesize their academic training by traveling to a foreign nation. This spring, the program will spend three months in Malawi, Africa.
By the time the students reach the overseas semester, they have studied technical rescue, incident command systems, and emergency medicine. All students are certified Emergency Medical Technicians (EMTs) and are licensed to practice in the United States by the National Registry of Emergency Medical Technicians.
IRR's interest in Malawi is to learn from local experts in tropical medicine, global health, disaster response, and in building long-lasting, local relationships. The coursework seeks to provide an atmosphere in which students can learn from a new culture, broaden their world view, and become more responsible members of the global community. To achieve this, they will work in rural and urban settings in partnership with existing medical facilities.
Week 1 - February 6, 2023
Expedition Malawi 2023 kicked off on Monday, January 30, with a bus ride to the Lincoln airport followed by more than two days of travel with a large amount of heavy baggage that included extended layovers in Frankfurt, Germany, and Addis Ababa, Ethiopia.
The crew of International Rescue and Relief students and staff finally arrived in Malawi and spent Thursday, Feb. 2, getting settled.
"Today was a full day!" posted Adrianna Duehrssen, the overseas support coordinator for the IRR program.
"Highlights included a very beneficial and informative visit to the US embassy, money exchanging, Shoprite (the local grocery store), and delicious meals. Money exchanging may sound like a simple matter, but it took a full two plus hours. This was with seven students sorting and counting money. Now before you think we were exchanging an incredibly large amount of money, the exchange rate is 1,400 kwatcha to $1 USD which means that you end up with an absurd amount of bills for every dollar."
On Friday, the students split into four teams and were given specific objectives "including obtaining a local SIM card for their phones, visiting the World War I memorial, going to a local market to interact with vendors and buy an item to be used later in the afternoon for show and tell! It was a tremendous success that ended in a lovely lunch at a local cafe," said Duerhssen.
On Sabbath, the group enjoyed worshipping with a local Adventist group and doing some hiking.