Frequently Asked Questions
- How do I join a Service Learning Trip?
- What makes a MEDLIFE Service Learning Trip unique?
- Where can I attend a Service Learning Trip?
- When does MEDLIFE host Service Learning Trips?
- Who can volunteer on a Service Learning Trip?
- What is the minimum number of volunteers needed to confirm a Service Learning Trip?
- Do I need to speak the local language?
Fundraising and Donations
- What is the Service Learning Trip donation goal?
- What does the donation goal cover?
- Do I have any additional financial obligations?
- How do I make a donation towards my SLT?
- What would happen if a Service Learning Trip does not meet the minimum number of volunteers?
- What if I end up canceling my trip, will my fundraised money be refunded?
- How can I use the MyMovement fundraising tool to raise money for my trip?
- How much can I fundraise using MyMovement?
- How can I apply the funds to my trip?
- What if I end up canceling my trip, will my fundraised money be refunded?
- If I am eligible for a MEDLIFE discount (MVP, Scholarship, MEDLIFE Movement), how do I apply this to my trip?
- After I pay the 25$ non-refundable deposit, when do I need to pay the remaining donation goal?
- What are the passport and visa requirements?
- How do I purchase my airfare?
- What do I do if I am arriving outside of the timeframes listed?
- What vaccinations do I need?
- Am I required to purchase travel health insurance?
- How much spending money do I need?
- How can I exchange money?
- What should I pack?
- Will my electrical appliances work abroad?
- Should I bring medical donations? What are MEDLIFE's supply needs?
- How can my Student Chapter prepare for a Mobile Clinic?
The Service Learning Trip Experience
- Who will pick me up from the airport?
- What should I do if my flight is delayed or canceled?
- Who leads the Service Learning Trips?
- What happens to our patients after a Mobile Clinic ends?
- Where do volunteers stay?
- What kinds of meals will be provided?
- What if I have dietary restrictions?
- What is the weather like?
- What does a volunteer do?
- How many students volunteer on each Service Learning Trip?
- What safety precautions does MEDLIFE have in place?
- What happens if there is an emergency?
- Does the hotel have wifi? Will I need to bring my computer?
- What are grounds for dismissal from a Mobile Clinic and subsequent consequences if forced to leave?
- Are there cultural norms I should be aware of in the countries I will visit?
- Are there any restrictions or requirements for what clothing I should wear?
- What if I need to return home early from a trip due to illness, family emergency, etc? Is there any sort of financial reimbursement?
- How do room arrangements work?
How do I join a Service Learning Trip?
We are so excited you are thinking of volunteering on a MEDLIFE Service Learning Trip. To join a trip, first create a MyMEDLIFE account and update your personal information. Then, pick the trip you plan to join, and click ‘Register’. When you have submitted your registration form and paid the $25 non-refundable initial donation, your spot on the Service Learning Trip will be reserved!
What makes a MEDLIFE Service Learning Trip unique?
There are many organizations that offer mission trips to undergraduate students and volunteers. Why should you choose a MEDLIFE Service Learning Trip? Because we provide more for our patients, community members, and volunteers.
For our patients:
We bring more than just a doctor and some medication. All Mobile Clinics are staffed by local dentists, gynecologists, nurses, and primary care doctors. We equip these professionals with the tools and supplies they need so that we can offer more than just a consult.
We hire local doctors and specialists. Local doctors have essential knowledge of the language, culture and existing healthcare system of their country. They are also familiar with the symptoms and treatments of common ailments to provide our patients with a higher degree of care than would a foreign professional.
We provide follow-up care. MEDLIFE has full-time employees in Ecuador, Peru, Nicaragua, and Tanzania who dedicate themselves to follow-up care with our patients year-round. When MEDLIFE sees patients during a Mobile Clinic who require additional services, we make a commitment to return and help them get the medical support they need.
- Our Service Learning Trips serve as the first point of contact between MEDLIFE and impoverished communities. This introduction may lead to further collaboration through the MEDLIFE Project Fund. The MEDLIFE Project Fund supports the development of sustainable development projects via long-term aid in the form of new schools, clinics, and a variety of other development projects. In this way, Service Learning Trips are an essential part of MEDLIFE’s plan to bring sustainable forms of aid to the communities and families we serve.
For our volunteers:
Mobile Clinics: Volunteers have the opportunity to work closely with and learn from our medical professionals, community leaders, and MEDLIFE staff. All MEDLIFE doctors are instructed to give our volunteers an educational, hands-on experience while they’re volunteering their time at our clinics.
- Community Development: Infrastructure projects and development workshops give volunteers a chance to work alongside community members on a development project. Working side-by-side with local residents provides a way for volunteers to forge relationships with community members outside of the clinic setting.
- MEDLIFE Student Chapters: MEDLIFE is an organization that relies heavily upon the contributions of our Chapters. A university or high school group provides a forum in which students who share the goal of spreading the Movement can meet to discuss global health topics, socialize, and plan for Service Learning Trips and fundraising events.
- Further Opportunities: MEDLIFE places a great degree of responsibility on motivated undergraduate and high school student leaders who wish to become involved beyond the member level. Dedicated MEDLIFE members can apply to join the Student Advisory Board or to a local Chapter E-Board position. MEDLIFE also offers summer and year-round internships that allow students to make a direct contribution to our efforts in Latin America. Read about all our leadership opportunities here.
Making a Difference: MEDLIFE Mobile Clinics have provided medical care to thousands of community members in Peru, Ecuador, Nicaragua, and Tanzania who previously did not have access to quality healthcare. The MEDLIFE Project Fund projects have also had a long-term positive effect on communities. MEDLIFE strives to make a lasting and significant difference in needy areas. Join us on an SLT!
Where can I attend a Service Learning Trip?
MEDLIFE organizes Service Learning Trips in several locations: Lima, Peru; Cusco, Peru; Riobamba, Ecuador; Tena, Ecuador; and Kilimanjaro, Tanzania.
We are constantly growing the MEDLIFE Movement, and hope to expand in the coming years bringing our work to other developing nations in Latin America and Africa.
When does MEDLIFE host Service Learning Trips?
MEDLIFE offers several different Service Learning Trip options during students’ winter, spring, and summer breaks. A list of upcoming Service Learning Trips can be found here.
Who can volunteer on a Service Learning Trip?
Anyone can volunteer on a Service Learning Trip! You do not need to be a current member of a MEDLIFE Chapter to serve as a volunteer.
What is the minimum number of volunteers needed to confirm a Service Learning Trip?
MEDLIFE requires a commitment from a minimum of 20 volunteers to confirm a Service Learning Trip. Groups who wish to arrange a Service Learning Trip for dates not currently listed on the website may contact MEDLIFE at firstname.lastname@example.org.
Do I need to speak the local language?
Service Learning Trip volunteers are not required to speak Spanish or Swahili, nor to have any previous medical experience. That being said, we encourage volunteers to familiarize themselves with basic phrases in the local language, as well as the medical and cultural landscape in the country they plan to visit.
Fundraising and Donations
What is the Service Learning Trip donation goal?
In order to sustain our year-round work, every MEDLIFE volunteer is required to meet a donation goal to participate in their Service Learning Trip. The goal for volunteering in a one-week Service Learning Trip (including the $25 deposit), is $990. This does not include airfare.
These donations are non-refundable. If for any reason you are unable to meet your donation goal before the trip begins, you can instead join a trip later in the year so that you have more time to fundraise.
What does the donation goal cover?
This donation goal covers all meals Monday through Friday (the volunteer is responsible for meals over the weekend), in-country transportation (including airport pick-up and drop-off on the Service Learning Trip start and end dates) and lodging (eight nights) during the Service Learning Trip.
It also provides funding for all expenses associated with the volunteering itself (the hiring of doctors and nurses, purchase of medicine and equipment, etc.). Finally, the donation goal funds all aspects of MEDLIFE’s operating budget covering everything from staff salaries to office equipment to medical supplies, as well as patient follow-up care. Airfare is not included in the donation goal.
Do I have any additional financial obligations?
Volunteers are required to cover their own meals and expenses during the weekend. If you wish to arrive early or stay beyond the program dates, you will be responsible for your own expenses, including hotel, meals, transportation, etc. during that time.
You should have access to enough money to cover additional snacks, drinks, souvenirs, etc ($30 to $40 USD).
Cash only is preferred in Ecuador (Canadian dollars are not easy to exchange in Ecuador, so be sure to have USD). Credit and debit cards are widely accepted in Peru.
How do I make a donation towards my SLT?
To make a donation towards your SLT you should visit MyMEDLIFE and log into your account using the same username you created while registering for the Service Learning Trip.
This will take you to your MyMovement account where you can see any of your active campaigns. By clicking either make a donation or make a recurring donation, you will be able to enter your information to make a donation. Once you complete the donation, you should receive a confirmation email.
In the event that you cannot pay online, please send an email to email@example.com stating your intention to do so, along with the dates and location of your Service Learning Trip. A MEDLIFE staff member will get back to you with information on how to proceed. This email must be sent at least 24 hours before the donation goal deadline.
What would happen if a Service Learning Trip does not meet the minimum number of volunteers?
If registration does not meet the minimum number of required volunteers by the trip deadline, the Service Learning Trip will be canceled and the MEDLIFE team will work with volunteers to find a new trip that works with their schedule. If for any reason there are no other trips that work for the volunteer, said volunteer may choose to allocate their funds raised to a different volunteer. If this option also does not suit the volunteer, all donations will be used to support the mission of MEDLIFE.
What if I end up canceling my trip, will my fundraised money be refunded?
To cancel, please send an email to firstname.lastname@example.org listing your name and the dates and location of the Service Learning Trip you are registered to attend.
MEDLIFE is a non-profit organization registered under section 501 © (3) of the internal revenue code. All contributions made to the MEDLIFE General and Project Fund are donations and therefore, non-refundable. This means that the $25 initial donation and any other donations made by the volunteer or any other party will not be refunded. If for any reason you are unable to meet your donation goal before the trip begins, you can instead join a trip later in the year so that you have more time to fundraise.
How can I use the MyMovement fundraising tool to raise money for my trip?
You can reduce the donation fee of volunteering on a Service Learning Trip with the MyMovement online fundraising campaign. When you register for a Service Learning Trip, an online fundraising campaign page is automatically created for you. You will be able to edit the text and the page to make it personal and easy to share. We find that donors are more likely to contribute if you talk about your personal motivation for volunteering on an SLT.
How much can I fundraise using MyMovement?
You can use the MyMovement fundraising tool to cover the entire $990 donation goal for your Service Learning Trip. Any additional funds that you raise will be considered a donation to MEDLIFE to support our year-round work.
How can I apply the funds to my trip?
Money donated up to the total $990 will be directly applied to your donation goal. Anything beyond the $990 (+ 5% fees) will be considered for MEDLIFE extensions or upgraded insurance if you have selected any. Finally, anything beyond that (up to $1,000 will be considered for your flight). You will need to purchase your own flight, and then email the flight receipt to email@example.com for reimbursement.
If you haven’t fundraised enough money to cover your trip donation goal and the deadline is approaching, don’t worry! You can pay the remainder of your donation goal and continue fundraising – we will reimburse you for any additional donations received. You will receive this reimbursement after you travel which may take up to one full billing cycle after your trip.
What if I end up canceling my trip, will my fundraised money be refunded?
MEDLIFE is a non-profit organization registered under section 501 © (3) of the internal revenue code. All contributions made to the MEDLIFE General and Project Fund are donations and therefore, non-refundable. If for any reason you are unable to meet your donation goal before the trip begins, you can instead join a trip later in the year so that you have more time to fundraise. Please make sure to review our cancellation policy in detail when registering for your trip.
If I am eligible for a MEDLIFE discount (MVP, Scholarship, MEDLIFE Movement), how do I apply this to my trip?
All MEDLIFE discounts must be applied PRIOR to the full donation goal deadline. For trips in winter and summer, this means you must submit your discount via Campus Labs 45 days before your trip takes place. If you are traveling in spring you must email 4 weeks before the trip takes place. Please email firstname.lastname@example.org if you have any additional questions.
After I pay the 25$ non-refundable deposit, when do I need to pay the remaining donation goal?
The donation goal must be paid in full 45 days prior to the start date of the SLT.
What are the passport and visa requirements?
For most SLT volunteers the only requirement to enter countries where we have Mobile Clinics is a current passport that will be valid at least six months after your trip. However, some countries have additional requirements:
To enter Tanzania: volunteers will need to obtain a visa and a Carrying on a Temporary Assignment (CTA) permit. The visa costs $100 USD and can be purchased when you arrive in Tanzania. The payment must be made in cash, as Tanzania is a largely cash-based economy. Once the visa is obtained, your passport will be stamped. The CTA permit must be acquired with the assistance of a volunteer organization’s lawyer. MEDLIFE will apply for the permit on your behalf. It costs $206 and will be added directly to your myMEDLIFE account once the SLT registration date has passed. For more information, please read the following: http://immigration.go.tz/index.php/en/services/visa-information
To enter Nicaragua: volunteers need to obtain a Tourist Card in addition to having a passport. The tourist card costs $10 USD and can be purchased at the airport. Exact change is recommended. Nicaragua also requires all U.S. Citizens to pay a fee of $42 USD upon exiting the country. This fee is usually included in your return airfare ticket. Be sure to check with your airline after purchasing your ticket. If the fee is not included, it can be paid at the airline counter. Non-US passport holders should check visa requirements with the Nicaraguan Embassy.
How do I purchase my airfare?
Volunteers are responsible for buying their own airfare and uploading their flight arrival and departure information to their MyMEDLIFE account. Timeframes vary depending on the location of the trip.
Please find location-specific information below:
Lima, PERU. You must arrive at the Jorge Chavez International Airport (LIM) on the SLT start date between 18:00 and 01:00 (next day) and depart anytime the final day. MEDLIFE will coordinate transportation for everyone arriving and departing between these times.
Cusco, PERU. You must arrive at the Alejandro Velasco Astete Airport in Cusco (CUZ) on the SLT start date between 05:00 and 12:00 (noon) and depart between 06:00 and 12:00 (noon) on the last day. MEDLIFE will coordinate transportation for everyone arriving and departing between these times.
Riobamba – Tena – Esmeraldas, ECUADOR. You must arrive at the Mariscal Sucre International Airport in Quito (UIO) on the SLT start date between 19:00 and 00:00 (midnight) and depart at any time after 10:00 on the final day. MEDLIFE will coordinate transportation for everyone arriving and departing between these times.
Kilimanjaro, TANZANIA. You must arrive at the Kilimanjaro International Airport (JRO) on the SLT start date between 18:00 and 00:00 (next day) and depart between 18:00 and 00:00 (next day) on the final day. MEDLIFE will coordinate transportation for everyone arriving and departing between these times.
Managua, NICARAGUA. You must arrive at the Augusto C. Sandino International Airport (ACS) on the SLT start date between 18:00 and 01:30 (next day) and depart between 6:00 and 14:00 on the final day. MEDLIFE will coordinate transportation for everyone arriving and departing between these times.
If students arrive outside of the set time frames, they will be responsible for covering the cost of transportation to their site.
What do I do if I am arriving outside of the timeframes listed?
If your flight arrives outside the timeframes listed please email email@example.com. Remember that any additional nights and transfers that are added before/after your trip because of early or late arrival are not included in the Service Learning Trip donation goal, and will be at the cost of the volunteer.
What vaccinations do I need?
MEDLIFE follows the Centers for Disease Control and Prevention’s recommendations and requirements. Immunization recommendations for all of our trip locations may be found on this page: www.cdc.gov/travel/destinations/list. While all immunizations are optional, we recommend consulting the CDC page and/or visiting a local travel clinic for more information.
Am I required to purchase travel health insurance?
MEDLIFE will provide $50,000 worth of travel health insurance to each volunteer during their Service Learning Trip. Volunteers are not required to purchase any additional insurance.
How much spending money do I need?
We recommend that you have access to at least $150 to $200 during your Service Learning Trip week to cover two days of meals, tourism activities, and any additional food, drinks, or souvenirs you wish to purchase.
How can I exchange money?
Volunteers can easily exchange money in the locations they will visit. They can access their bank accounts via ATM or debit card and can also easily change cash with money-exchange officials on the streets or in nearby exchange houses.
Please note that Ecuador uses the USD as currency, and does not require exchange from students coming from the United States.
What should I pack?
You should plan to look professional but dress comfortably. Jeans, shorts, polos, athletic wear, and t-shirts are all acceptable. In all locations, a MEDLIFE t-shirt will be provided, but you are not required to use it.
- Comfortable walking shoes/sneakers or hiking boots for the tour and project site
- Shorts (1-3)
- Long pants (1-3)
- Long and short-sleeved shirts (3-5)
- Nice outfit for going out
- Windbreaker or light rain jacket
- Bathing suit
- Camera, film, and battery
- Personal medicines and toiletry items
- Hand sanitizer
- Insurance card (health/travel)
- Money, Credit cards, ATM card
- Personal ID (Driver’s License)
- Watch with a second hand is very useful* Sheets/bed linens will be provided by the hotel
* Many students like to have two outfits per day, as clinic and project sites can often be dusty, muddy, or rainy
Will my electrical appliances work abroad?
Most electronics like cell phone chargers and computers are built for multiple voltages and work fine in Ecuadorian and Peruvian outlets. Bathroom items like hair dryers and straighteners are often too high voltage and require converters.
- Ecuador & Nicaragua: 110/120 volts (same as U.S. and Canada); North American outlets (but may not be identical to U.S./Canadian outlets and thus require an adapter)
- Peru: 220 volts (you will need a converter and adapter)
- Tanzania: 230 volts (you will need a converter and adapter)
Should I bring medical donations? What are MEDLIFE's supply needs?
Volunteers can further support the MEDLIFE Movement by bringing medical donations on your SLT. We can use the money we save on supplies for more advanced medicine and medical specialists, such as gynecologists and dentists. By bringing just a couple small supplies, you are actually helping patients receive specialized care!
Find lists of suggested donations based on your location below:
Cusco, Peru donation list
Lima, Peru donation list
Riobamba and Tena, Ecuador donation list
Kilimanjaro, Tanzania donation list
Thank you for your support!
How can my Student Chapter prepare for a Mobile Clinic?
Many MEDLIFE Student Chapters host Service Learning Trip preparation meetings on campus before departing for their trip. This is a great way for volunteers to meet one another and address any questions or concerns students may have. We recommend that Chapters host meetings to go over useful phrases in the local language, train students in the techniques required for the Triage station (taking blood pressure, breathing rate, and pulse, etc.), and to solicit donations (medication, medical supplies) from outside sources.
It is also very helpful to have students who have volunteered in past Service Learning Trips in attendance at these meetings so they can share their experiences. Please contact your SAB representative if you are interested in hosting such a meeting.
The Service Learning Trip Experience
Who will pick me up from the airport?
If you arrive within the scheduled timeframe that was specified to you in the flight email sent out to all volunteers, a MEDLIFE staff member will be waiting to pick you up in the international arrivals area to transport you to your hotel. Look for someone in a MEDLIFE t-shirt and/or with a MEDLIFE sign. If you arrive before or after the specified timeframe, MEDLIFE can still coordinate to pick you up from the airport, but you will need to cover the transportation costs. This varies by location, so please contact firstname.lastname@example.org with your trip dates and location for specific transportation costs.
If for some reason you cannot find the MEDLIFE representative or your flight has been changed, please call our Lima or Riobamba offices or your respective Service Learning Trip staff members. All contact information will be provided to volunteers via email and is available on our website.
What should I do if my flight is delayed or canceled?
If your flight is delayed or canceled, contact the Lima office as soon as possible at 844 633 5433. Also, please send an email to email@example.com with the subject line “Flight Change/Cancellation.”
Who leads the Service Learning Trips?
Service Learning Trips are led by a combination of local and international full-time staff members, with the help of local doctors and community leaders.
What happens to our patients after a Mobile Clinic ends?
When our Mobile Clinic doctors identify a patient who requires treatment that the Clinic itself is unequipped to provide, MEDLIFE’s in-country staff then follows up with that patient individually after the Clinic ends to ensure they receive whatever additional care they need. Click here to read more about patient follow-up care.
Where do volunteers stay?
MEDLIFE always arranges for Service Learning Trip volunteers to lodge together in reputable, safe, and clean hotels with at least one MEDLIFE staff member. All hotels at which we stay have electricity, running water, hot showers, internet access, clean linens, and safe-lock boxes for valuables. Bottled water and safe food are always available either at the hotel itself or at nearby establishments. Below are some hotels at which volunteers commonly reside (please note it is not guaranteed that you will stay at one of these hotels. A MEDLIFE representative will provide specific hotel details in advance of your trip).
LIMA, PERUSELINA LIMALocation: Alcanfores 465, LimaPhone: +51 91 870 093Website: selina.com/peru/lima/
CUSCO, PERUSELINA CUSCOLocation: Saphy 601, CuscoPhone: +51 (084) 583245Website: selina.com/peru/cusco/ RIOBAMBA, ECUADOREL LIBERTADOR HOTELLocation: Daniel Leon Borja 29-22, RiobambaPhone: +593 032-947-393Email: firstname.lastname@example.org TENA, ECUADORHOTEL CLUB DEL ORIENTELocation: Sector Pitunyacu Km. 2, Via Archidona, Baeza, NapoPhone: +593 062 889 174Email: email@example.com KILIMANJARO, TANZANIASTELLA MARIS LODGELocation: Arusha – Himo Rd, Hai, KilimanjaroPhone: +255 68 6663244Website: stellamarislodge.com MANAGUA, NICARAGUACENTRAL PARK HOTELLocation: Los Robles, Pool 8, ManaguaPhone: +505 2270 6155Website: centralparkmanaguahotel.com
What kinds of meals will be provided?
Breakfast is provided at the hotel and is typically juice/tea/coffee, fruit, bread, and eggs. A bag lunch is provided during volunteer days and includes a sandwich and snacks (a piece of fruit, chips, and cookies).
Dinner will be provided each day either at the hotel or a restaurant (depending on the destination). Bottled water is provided daily. MEDLIFE employees work to ensure that all food and facilities are safe for consumption by travelers. Dinner consists of an appetizer, main dish, and beverage. Additional food and drinks may be ordered for an extra cost by the volunteer.
Meals are provided Monday-Friday of the Service Learning Trip. Volunteers are responsible for financing their own meals on weekends. However, MEDLIFE staff will often coordinate with the group to visit restaurants or other dining options.
What if I have dietary restrictions?
When registering for a Service Learning Trip, be sure to specify any dietary restrictions on your form in the allotted space. MEDLIFE will accommodate food allergies, religious observances, and choices like vegetarianism or veganism as long as we have advance notice. However, please do not list food items you do not like to eat.
What is the weather like?
It is impossible to predict with certainty what weather will be like during Service Learning Trips, but these are good guidelines to follow when packing for your trip. Online weather reports are often quite unreliable, even when consulted right before heading to your destination. We always recommend packing clothes that you can layer in order to accommodate climate changes.
Peru: Seasons are opposite from the United States and Canada. If traveling to Lima or Cusco during the U.S. winter or spring (November – April), Lima will be very hot and dry. Cusco is in its rainy season during this time and will be very cold and wet. During U.S. summer (May-August), Lima will most likely be chilly and damp, while Cusco will likely be cold but sunny.
Ecuador: The high elevation in Riobamba the high elevation makes for cold mornings and warmer afternoons with very powerful sunshine. Tena, Ecuador is located in the tropical Amazonian region and is always humid and hot.
Tanzania: The rainy season is generally March, April, and May. Afternoon tropical downpours are the norm. The long dry season generally last through June, July, August, September, and October when rainfall is unusual. Temperatures vary hugely with altitude and location, but it’s usually clear sunny weather.
What does a volunteer do?
Service Learning Trips would not be possible without the support of our volunteers! Students have the opportunity to work closely with and learn from our medical professionals as they identify individual patients who require further treatment. They work with our staff at patient intake, triage, consultations, and in the pharmacy. Volunteers also help run our educational programs and shadow the local doctors, dentists, and gynecologists.
The typical week includes three days volunteering on-site at the Mobile Clinic, one day working with local community members on a development project (i.e. a stair or bathroom construction project), and one day of community learning. Click here for a sample itinerary.
How many students volunteer on each Service Learning Trip?
The number of volunteers varies by location, but MEDLIFE typically hosts between twenty and fifty volunteers on each trip. If one trip is particularly popular, MEDLIFE does its best to divide the group in two separate, simultaneous groups. In these cases, MEDLIFE tries to keep all volunteers from the same university or group together.
What safety precautions does MEDLIFE have in place?
MEDLIFE staff place the greatest value on the safety of our volunteers. We meet all incoming students at the airport and accompany them to the hotel via private transportation. Volunteers use solely private transportation throughout the entire week (to/from the airport, clinic sites, and tourist activities).
Volunteers are advised to only leave the hotel during the day, preferably in groups, and not to leave the hotel at all at night unless accompanied or given authorization by MEDLIFE staff. Our team is always present in the communities where we conduct our Service Learning Trips.
During our Mobile Clinics, we welcome all members of the local communities. As expected, some patients may arrive already ill and possibly contagious. While MEDLIFE does not intentionally operate in outbreak zones or high risk areas, it is still possible that volunteers may encounter patients with illnesses such as but not limited to, Tuberculosis, Dengue Fever, Yellow Fever, Typhoid, Zika, Hepatitis B, and HIV among others. In order to protect ourselves from unnecessary risk and to protect the communities from the pathogens that we as a group are bringing to the area, we ask that volunteers adhere to the following indications:
Everyone volunteering in day’s activities will be provided with a mask. Its use is mandatory at all times. Please remember to take it with you every day to the clinics. Likewise, the use of protective gloves is also mandatory. We encourage volunteers to change gloves between patients when necessary.
What happens if there is an emergency?
MEDLIFE has a specific and intricate emergency protocol process. All of our staff is completely briefed on what to do in case of an emergency in every location. We are also covered by OnCall – and select MEDLIFE staff members are Wilderness First Aid Certified.
If you have specific questions, please reach out to firstname.lastname@example.org.
Does the hotel have wifi? Will I need to bring my computer?
All hotels used by MEDLIFE have wifi. We highly recommend that students leave their computers at home. You will have no pressing use for them and bringing them will only occasion unnecessary risk of theft or damage.
What are grounds for dismissal from a Mobile Clinic and subsequent consequences if forced to leave?
Volunteers must obey all established rules for MEDLIFE Service Learning Trips. Failure to comply will result in a ban from volunteering in any event related to the Service Learning Trip, and/or to stay in the hotel that is designated for Mobile Clinic volunteers. In general grounds for dismissal will include: breaking the law in the host country, inappropriate or unprofessional behavior towards patients or employees, use of illegal substances, or abuse of alcohol. Rules are subject to change from clinic to clinic as our cultural areas are different and require different behavior.
Are there cultural norms I should be aware of in the countries I will visit?
As with any new place you visit, you should be aware that the cultural and social norms are probably different from your own. MEDLIFE encourages volunteers to review our Cultural Sensitivity resources, which can be found on Campus Labs, before volunteering in a Service Learning Trip.
Are there any restrictions or requirements for what clothing I should wear?
For Peru or Ecuador, people are less conservative and there are no strict rules in place regarding what you can and can’t wear. In any country, modesty is always encouraged until you can fully gauge the cultural norms and practices on your own.
Tanzania is a religiously and culturally diverse country. While working on projects in the communities we serve, volunteers should use ‘no shoulders, no chest, and no knees’ as a general guideline. Volunteers are expected to wear scrub pants, pants, jeans, or long skirts (past the knees). Local skirts and African style pants can also be purchased locally for about $10. Gym shorts and leggings are not culturally appropriate while on clinic and in the communities. Volunteers are welcome to dress more freely while in the hotel, on safari, or even walking around the city. These areas are more accustomed to serving international clients.
What if I need to return home early from a trip due to illness, family emergency, etc? Is there any sort of financial reimbursement?
If a volunteer needs to return home at any time, MEDLIFE will help coordinate any arrangements needed as much as the circumstances allow us to. Unfortunately, there is no reimbursement if a volunteer needs to leave early as the donation goes towards covering all Mobile Clinic expenses ahead of time.
How do room arrangements work?
You will share a room with other people. However, all the people in the room will be MEDLIFE volunteers. As much as we can, we will try to allocate your rooms with people from your own Chapter or school. You will never share a room with someone who is not connected to MEDLIFE.
MEDLIFE is a tax-exempt 501(c)(3) nonprofit organization.
Disclaimer: In accordance with United States tax law and regulations, a donation to the MEDLIFE Project Fund is 100% tax-deductible by the person making the donation. However, a donation given to MyMovement that reduces a student’s cost of volunteering in a mobile clinic is not tax-deductible. If donors have general questions about whether or not donations to MEDLIFE are tax-deductible, they can call MEDLIFE’S U.S.-based office at 1-844-MEDLIFE (1-844-633-5433). However, specific questions about the deductibility of contributions should be directed to the donor’s qualified tax advisor.