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NEW WILMINGTON— Many students think of a spring break trip as one to sunny beaches or tropical islands.  But for a group of Westminster students, they took their spring break trip to somewhere different and for a different purpose. Reporter Tristin Kresak sits down with one student to see how her spring break trip gave her a new perspective into her future career.

Madison Ordonez always knew she wanted to go into the medical field, but she found out in 8th grade that she passes out every time she sees blood. She decided to pursue a chemistry degree with a Spanish minor at Westminster college in hopes of becoming a pharmacist. She says she figured she could still be in the medical field and study chemistry without seeing blood in pharmacy. Her Spanish minor and goal of becoming a pharmacist made Madison the perfect candidate for a medical mission trip. It’s a mission trip with New Wilmington Presbyterian Church. They team up with doctors and a pharmacist and travel to the Dominican Republic to do mission work for a week.

Dr. Postema, a Spanish professor at Westminster college, approached Madison about spending her spring break volunteering. “He told me that it would be perfect for me to be able to shadow a pharmacist while being able to speaking Spanish too,” she says.

Many people’s idea of a cool spring break is relaxing on the beach but Madison was excited about the opportunity to work in a pharmacy. She was able to count pills and work in the pharmacy. Writing on the bottles and counting pills is something Madison could never do in the Unites States because of the laws.

She was uncertain about going on the trip at first because she has never left the country before this, but she says she believes that the best way to learn is to immerse yourself. She says, “going on this trip definitely reassured that I want to do that. It was really cool to be able to work with a pharmacist and have her teach me different aspects of pharmacy while we’re doing work for other people.”

It wasn’t all work though, the vo
lunteers still had time to relax. Their work day ended around 4 o’clock. Volunteers went to the beach celebrated the 25th anniversary of the partnership. Madison even learned Spanish from local teenagers that you don’t typically learn in the classroom. Students would go back and forth talking to the local teenagers about different slang words.

Madison believes these trips are more than just something to write on resumes. She says she gained a lot from it. “All the Dominicans are so loving and so grateful to us for being there that I gained more from that than I could have from the experiences I got in the pharmacy,” she says. After her time at Westminster, Madison plans to go to pharmacy school and hopes to continue her medical mission work. Madison explains that Dr. Postema’s goal in life is to have a mission trip that’s all Westminster students. He wants to be the translator, have a pharmacist, an eye doctor, a dentist that all graduated from Westminster. She wants to come back and participate after she’s finished with pharmacy school.

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