FAQs for MEDLIFE Movement | Nonprofit Charity
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Frequently Asked Questions

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COVID-19

  1. What is MEDLIFE doing to ensure I don’t get COVID-19 on an SLT?
  2. What happens if I have a positive COVID-19 test and cannot travel?
  3. What happens if I develop symptoms of COVID-19 during my trip?
  4. What happens if I have a positive COVID-19 test in-country?
  5. Will there be extra costs if I am required to quarantine or delay my return?

Getting Started

  1. How do I join a Service Learning Trip?
  2. What makes a MEDLIFE Service Learning Trip unique?
  3. Where can I attend a Service Learning Trip?
  4. When does MEDLIFE host Service Learning Trips?
  5. Who can volunteer on a Service Learning Trip?
  6. What is the minimum number of volunteers needed to confirm a Service Learning Trip?
  7. Do I need to speak the local language?

Fundraising and Donations

  1. What is the Service Learning Trip donation goal?
  2. What does the donation goal cover?
  3. Do I have any additional financial obligations?
  4. How do I make payment towards my SLT?
  5. What would happen if a Service Learning Trip does not meet the minimum number of volunteers?
  6. What happens if I end up canceling my trip?
  7. After I pay the $200 non-refundable deposit, when do I need to pay the remaining donation goal?

Preparations

  1. What are the passport and visa requirements?
  2. How do I purchase my airfare?
  3. What do I do if I am arriving outside of the timeframes listed?
  4. What vaccinations do I need?
  5. Am I required to purchase travel health insurance?
  6. How much spending money do I need?
  7. How can I exchange money?
  8. What should I pack?
  9. Will my electrical appliances work abroad?
  10. Should I bring medical donations? What are MEDLIFE's supply needs?
  11. How can my Student Chapter prepare for a Mobile Clinic?

The Service Learning Trip Experience

  1. Who will pick me up from the airport?
  2. What should I do if my flight is delayed or canceled?
  3. Who leads the Service Learning Trips?
  4. What happens to our patients after a Mobile Clinic ends?
  5. Where do volunteers stay?
  6. What kinds of meals will be provided?
  7. What if I have dietary restrictions?
  8. What is the weather like?
  9. What does a volunteer do?
  10. How many students volunteer on each Service Learning Trip?
  11. What safety precautions does MEDLIFE have in place?
  12. What happens if there is an emergency?
  13. Does the hotel have wifi? Will I need to bring my computer?
  14. What are grounds for dismissal from a Mobile Clinic and subsequent consequences if forced to leave?
  15. Are there cultural norms I should be aware of in the countries I will visit?
  16. Are there any restrictions or requirements for what clothing I should wear?
  17. What if I need to return home early from a trip due to illness, family emergency, etc? Is there any sort of financial reimbursement?
  18. How do room arrangements work?

COVID-19

  1. What is MEDLIFE doing to ensure I don’t get COVID-19 on an SLT?

    MEDLIFE cannot ensure that participants don’t contract COVID-19. The ultimate decision on whether to participate is up to the individual. Given the nature of SLTs and the variety of services involved – flights, transfers, hotels, restaurants, Mobile Clinics, Development Projects, and more – it is impossible to avoid potential exposure. With that said, there are several proactive measures we have in place:

    • COVID-19 Vaccine Requirements: Although it is not mandatory, we highly recommend all get full vaccination against COVID-19 (three doses) before traveling to the SLT destination. Please note that some countries may require a negative COVID-19 test taken up to 72 hours before their departure.
    • Medical Emergency Insurance: As with any SLT, medical emergency insurance is included (with a $250 deductible). This includes coverage for medical emergencies related to COVID-19. 
    • COVID-19 Waiver: All SLT participants must sign a waiver agreeing that MEDLIFE is not responsible if they contract COVID-19 on an SLT.
    • Pre-Trip Safety Review: Attending the Pre-Trip Safety review is mandatory and is aimed to ensure that all participants are aware of MEDLIFE procedures, precautions, and protocols.
    • Revamped Safety Briefing: We host extensive safety briefings upon arrival in-country. During this meeting, we fit our N95 masks and review safety protocols prior to going on-site.
    • Triage on Mobile Clinics: Any patients exhibiting symptoms of COVID-19 are screened by a medical professional and separated to avoid contact with trip participants if they test positive for COVID-19.

     

  2. What happens if I have a positive COVID-19 test and cannot travel?

    If you test positive for COVID-19 and cannot travel, you will be unable to participate in your trip. Send an email to [email protected] or contact us by phone and we will work with you to find another trip that might work for you. Your trip is non-refundable, but we will be happy to move you to a future Service Learning Trip. If you’ve purchased extensions, please note that they are non-refundable.

    Please keep in mind that the insurance policy included in your trip covers medical emergencies only. For added protection, we highly recommend purchasing trip cancelation insurance, which allows you to cancel for any reason. You can contact [email protected] for more information about our insurance options.

     

  3. What happens if I develop symptoms of COVID-19 during my trip?

    In the event that you experience symptoms of COVID-19, the following measures will be taken:

    • We will arrange a COVID-19 test for you 
      • If the result is negative, you can continue with the program. 
      • If the result is positive – see the following question.

     

  4. What happens if I have a positive COVID-19 test in-country?

    In the event that you test positive for COVID-19 during your Service Learning Trip, you will be isolated in a single room in the hotel or a suitable alternative until you test negative (or for whatever regulation is mandated by the local government or your home country). We will arrange the following: 

    • A meal plan for food to be delivered.
    • Phone and internet access.
    • A medical professional will contact you regularly to evaluate the development of any symptoms. 
    • Assistance in contacting your travel insurance provider to open a claim.
    • Assistance in contacting your airline and arranging local ground transport to return to the airport and board your flight home when you are able (please, take into consideration that flight changes are not covered by our insurance).
  5. Will there be extra costs if I am required to quarantine or delay my return?

    Any costs that are not covered by travel insurance will be the sole responsibility of the traveler. MEDLIFE will support participants in making necessary arrangements but is unable to assume any additional costs related to travel delay or disruption.

Getting Started

  1. How do I join a Service Learning Trip?

    We are so excited you are thinking of volunteering on a MEDLIFE Service Learning Trip! To register for a trip, visit our Upcoming Trips page, select your preferred dates, fill out your personal details, and pay the $200 non-refundable deposit. Your spot on the Service Learning Trip will be reserved!

     

  2. What makes a MEDLIFE Service Learning Trip unique?

    There are many organizations that offer volunteer 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 employees 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 priorities are driven by listening to the voices of marginalized communities. We strive to address the root causes of an issue, something only understood by physically being there, by actively listening and taking action to address structural violence.

    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 give volunteers a chance to work alongside community members and connect with them 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, and Costa Rica who previously did not have access to quality healthcare. Our Moving Mountains fundraising campaigns 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!

     

  3. Where can I attend a Service Learning Trip?

    MEDLIFE organizes Service Learning Trips in several locations: Lima, Peru; Cusco, Peru; Riobamba, Ecuador; Tena, Ecuador; San Jose, Costa Rica; and Tamarindo, Costa Rica.

    We are constantly growing the MEDLIFE Movement, and hope to expand in the coming years bringing our work to other nations.

     

  4. 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.

     

  5. 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.

    Please note that participants under 18 years of age must have the consent of their parent/guardian to participate and must be chaperoned by parents or school staff members over the age of 21. One chaperone is required per 6 minors. 

     

  6. What is the minimum number of volunteers needed to confirm a Service Learning Trip?

    For standard Service Learning Trips, MEDLIFE requires a commitment from a minimum of 15 volunteers to confirm a trip.

    We can arrange trips for smaller groups, but pricing will vary. Alternatively, we may be able to join your group with another group. If you have a group of less than 15 and would like to travel, please contact [email protected] to discuss your options.

     

  7. Do I need to speak the local language?

    Service Learning Trip volunteers are not required to speak Spanish 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

  1. 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 $200 non-refundable deposit), is dependent on your SLT destination. This does not include airfare.

     

  2. 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.

     

  3. 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.

    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.

     

  4. How do I make payment towards my SLT?

    After registering for a trip, you will receive an email with a confirmation of your payment and a link to the webpage where you can make additional payments.

    In the event that you cannot pay online, please send an email to [email protected] 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.

     

  5. 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.

     

  6. What happens if I end up canceling my trip?

    In the process of planning a Service Learning Trip, we make important commitments to the communities we serve and to the providers who help make our trips possible (accommodation, transport, catering, etc.). Because our partners rely on these commitments, we are unable to offer refunds of trip deposits in the case of trip cancelation. 

    If you cancel your trip prior to your Full Payment Deadline, MEDLIFE will retain 100% of your deposit. If you cancel up to 15 days after the Full Payment Deadline, MEDLIFE will retain 50% of your trip payment as a cancellation penalty. If you cancel more than 15 days after your Full Payment Deadline, your trip payment is 100% non-refundable.

    To cancel, please send an email to [email protected] listing your name and the dates and location of the Service Learning Trip you are registered to attend.

     

  7. After I pay the $200 non-refundable deposit, when do I need to pay the remaining donation goal?

    Donation goals must be paid by the Full Payment Deadlines, which are as follows: 

    • Cusco Summer trips: 60 days prior to the SLT start date. 
    • All other trips: 45 days prior to the SLT start date.

     

Preparations

  1. What are the passport and visa requirements?

    For most SLT volunteers the only requirement to enter countries where we have Service Learning Trips is a current passport that will be valid for at least six months after your trip. 

    COVID-19-related documents may also be required, such as proof of vaccination or a negative test. These requirements change frequently and are communicated to volunteers during the registration process.

    In any case, we highly recommend to all our volunteers check and verify the necessary requirements (such as visas) to enter the country of the SLT. Make sure you have all the necessary visas at least a month before your trip.

     

  2. How do I purchase my airfare?

    Volunteers are responsible for buying their own airfare. However, our team can help you in this process by providing a flight quote for your group. You can request a flight quote by emailing [email protected]. Once your flight is booked, please make sure to add your arrival and departure information to your booking.

    Recommended timeframes for arrivals and departures vary depending on the location of the trip. Please find location-specific information below:

    • Cusco, Peru
      Arrival: Saturday from 5:00 am to 2:00 pm.
      Departure: Sunday from 5:00 am to 2:00 pm.
    • Lima, Peru
      Arrival: Saturday from 5:00 pm to 11:00 pm.
      Departure: Sunday from 12:00 pm to 9:00 pm.
    • San José, Costa Rica
      Arrival: Saturday from 9:00 am to 2:00 pm.
      Departure: Sunday from 12:00 pm to 6:00 pm.
    • Quito, Ecuador
      Arrival: Saturday from 5:00 pm to 11:00 pm.
      Departure: Saturday from 10:00 pm to Sunday 12:00 pm.
    • Moshi, Tanzania
      Arrival: Saturday from 6:00 pm to 12:00 am.
      Departure: Saturday from 6:00 pm to Sunday 12:00 am.

    If students arrive outside of the set time frames, they will be responsible for covering the cost of transportation to their site.

     

  3. What do I do if I am arriving outside of the timeframes listed?

    If your flight arrives outside the timeframes listed please email [email protected]. 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.

     

  4. What vaccinations do I need?

    All volunteers must present proof of 3 vaccinations during the trip booking process. Unvaccinated volunteers will not be permitted to participate.

    In addition, 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. We recommend consulting the CDC page and/or visiting a local travel clinic for more information.

     

  5. Am I required to purchase travel health insurance?

    Emergency medical insurance is included in the cost of your trip but trip cancelation insurance is not included. We highly recommend purchasing trip cancellation insurance, which will allow you to cancel for any reason. You can contact [email protected] for more information about our insurance options.

     

  6. 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.

     

  7. 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.

     

  8. What should I pack?

    You should plan to look professional but dress comfortably. Jeans, shorts, polos, athletic wear, and T-shirts are all acceptable. A MEDLIFE t-shirt will be provided in all locations, but you are not required to use it. Check out our official lists of what to pack based on the city/country you will be visiting.

    Suggested items:

    • Towel
    • 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
    • Sunscreen
    • Sunglasses
    • Windbreaker or light rain jacket
    • Bathing suit
    • Camera, film, and battery
    • Personal medicines and toiletry items
    • Hand sanitizer
    • Passport
    • 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

     

  9. 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: 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)

     

  10. 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 

    Costa Rica, donation list 

    Riobamba and Tena, Ecuador donation list 

    Thank you for your support!

     

  11. 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

  1. 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 at the airport 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 [email protected] 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.

     

  2. 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 protected] with the subject line “Flight Change/Cancellation.”

     

  3. Who leads the Service Learning Trips?

    Service Learning Trips are led by a combination of local and international staff members, with the help of local doctors and community leaders.

     

  4. 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.

     

  5. Where do volunteers stay?

    MEDLIFE ensures that all Service Learning Trip volunteers are accommodated in clean, safe, and reputable hotels, along with at least one MEDLIFE staff member. All the hotels where we stay have basic amenities like electricity, running water, hot showers, internet access, clean linens, and safe-lock boxes for valuables. Water and healthy food are always available at the hotel or nearby places. However, please note that we cannot guarantee that you will stay at one of these hotels, as the specific hotel details might change. A MEDLIFE representative will provide you with the updated details regarding your accommodation in advance of your trip.

    LIMA, PERU

    SELINA LIMA
    Location: Alcanfores 465, Lima
    Phone: +51 91 870 093
    CUSCO, PERU

    SELINA CUSCO
    Location: Saphy 601, Cusco
    Phone: +51 (084) 583245
    RIOBAMBA, ECUADOR

    HOSTERÍA BAMBÚ
    Location: Pedro Vicente Maldonado y Saint Amand Montrond
    Phone: +593989190690
    TENA, ECUADOR

    HOTEL CLUB DEL ORIENTE
    Location: Sector Pitunyacu Km. 2, Via Archidona, Baeza, Napo
    Phone: +593 062 889 174

    QUITO, ECUADOR

    HOTEL RICK’S
    Location: Jerónimo Carrión E7-26, Quito 170143, Ecuador
    Phone: +593 2-222-2522
    TAMARINDO, COSTA RICA

    SELINA TAMARINDO
    Location: Calle Langosta, Tamarindo 50309, Costa Rica
    Phone: +506 2100 6344
    SAN JOSE, COSTA RICA

    SELINA SAN JOSE
    Location: Barrio Otoya, Ave 9 – Calle 13-15, San Jose, 10101, Costa Rica
    Phone: +506 402 055 10

     

  6. What kinds of meals will be provided?

    Breakfast is provided at the hotel, typically juice/tea/coffee, fruit, bread, and eggs. A bag lunch that includes a sandwich, a piece of fruit, chips, and cookies is provided during volunteer days. However, the contents may vary depending on the destination.

    Dinner will be provided on weekdays at the hotel or a restaurant (depending on the destination). Water is provided daily, but volunteers are required to bring their own water bottle. MEDLIFE employees work to ensure that all food and facilities are safe for consumption by travelers. 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 meals on weekends. However, MEDLIFE staff often coordinate with the group to visit restaurants or other dining options.

     

  7. What if I have dietary restrictions?

    When registering for a Service Learning Trip, you will be asked to select your meal preferences. Options include regular, no lactose, no gluten, vegan, and vegetarian. When selecting the “regular” option, meat and chicken will be included in your meals.

    There will be a “Medical Notes/Allergies” box to add any dietary restrictions not included in the list. 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.

     

  8. 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.

    Costa Rica: March is the hottest month in Tamarindo with an average temperature of 29°C (84°F) and the coldest is September at 26°C (79°F). The wettest month is September, with an average of 359mm of rain. 

  9. 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.

     

  10. 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.

     

  11. What safety precautions does MEDLIFE have in place?

    MEDLIFE staff place the most outstanding 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 leave the hotel only during the day, preferably in groups, and not to leave at night unless accompanied or given authorization by MEDLIFE staff. Our team is always present in the communities where we conduct 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. 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:

    Every volunteer 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 required. We encourage volunteers to change gloves between patients when necessary.

     

  12. 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 emergency medical insurance.  

    If you have specific questions, please reach out to [email protected].

     

  13. Does the hotel have wifi? Will I need to bring my computer?

    All MEDLIFE hotels have wifi, though signal strength may vary by location (e.g. Tanzania). 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.

     

  14. What are grounds for dismissal from a Mobile Clinic and subsequent consequences if forced to leave?

    As stated in our volunteer agreement, 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.

     

  15. 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 provides volunteers with resources to prepare them for cultural differences, including our Volunteer Handbooks and an in-destination orientation meeting. 

     

  16. 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.

     

  17. 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.

     

  18. 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.

     

Disclaimer

Under United States tax law and regulations, a donation to MEDLIFE is 100% tax-deductible by the person donating. Please note that the donation goal paid by volunteers to register for a Service Learning Trip covers trip-related expenses and therefore is not tax deductible. If donors have general questions about whether 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.

MEDLIFE is a tax-exempt 501(c)(3) nonprofit organization.