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Information for Families

Information for families

It can be a stressful experience to have a family member travel abroad. We take the wellbeing of our volunteers very seriously – safety is our #1 priority. MEDLIFE has run Service Learning Trips since 2005 and is well prepared to handle any situation that may arise.

Updates About COVID-19

At MEDLIFE, the safety and security of our volunteers and the communities we serve is our number one priority. We are currently closely monitoring the COVID-19 outbreak via our local teams and also trusted organizations including the World Health Organization (WHO), the Centers for Disease Control and Prevention (CDC), as well as the U.S. Department of State. We encourage you to do the same. Click here for our latest updates and FAQs on COVID-19. 

TravelAbout MEDLIFE SLTs

What will my child do on the Service Learning Trip?

On a Mobile Clinic, volunteers visit a different community each day with MEDLIFE staff and a team of local healthcare practitioners. Volunteers will shadow and assist professionals at a variety of stations such as general medicine, dentistry, pharmacy, etc.

Where do volunteers stay?

Volunteers stay as a group in a hostel. Depending on the location, volunteers will be roomed with one other person up to five other volunteers of the same gender. Hostels are located in safe areas, many of which are walkable distances from city/town centers.

Will staff members always be with the group?

During the service days, volunteers will be with multiple MEDLIFE staff members. Additionally, there will be at least one staff member staying at the hostel available for any emergencies. In the afternoons and on weekends, volunteers will have free time during which they may go off on their own in small groups.

Health and SafetyHealth and Safety

What happens if my child gets sick?

If a volunteer becomes ill, they will always have the option to visit a local hospital or clinic. Volunteers receive basic insurance through MEDLIFE but it may come with a deductible. MEDLIFE staff will always accompany volunteers and will keep parents/emergency contacts informed of their progress.

How much cash should my child take?

Volunteers should travel with about $200 USD and we recommend changing money in the country to ensure a better exchange rate. Volunteers should also bring a Credit or Debit card with them in case of an emergency. Please consult with your bank to determine additional transaction fees for purchases abroad.

What if there is a security situation during the trip?

MEDLIFE is constantly evaluating risks that may affect the safety and security of our volunteers. MEDLIFE is headquartered in Lima, Peru and employs local staff members across remote offices in all locations where we work. This puts us in a position to closely monitor local conditions and act quickly should a situation arise. Additionally, we stay up to date on all local media and national news as well as US State Department Advisories and the Canadian Government’s webpage.

If a situation becomes dangerous, we will act quickly to ensure the safety of all volunteers. Additionally, MEDLIFE provides insurance to all volunteers which includes emergency medical, political, terrorism, and natural disaster evacuation coverage.

Useful Sites

Will I be able to communicate with my child during the trip?

Volunteers will have internet access throughout the week. In most locations, hotels will have wifi, in some sites volunteers may need to go to a cafe or restaurant to use wifi. Prior to the start of the trip, volunteers will receive emergency contact information for contacting site leaders. We encourage volunteers to share this information with their families prior to travel. Families can then contact the location leader who can connect with the volunteer.

Additionally, volunteers may choose to purchase international plans. Volunteers will have good reception in the afternoons and evenings, however, during the day when they are in the communities, reception may be limited and volunteers are encouraged to keep phones away during service hours.

Prior to the start of the trip, volunteers will receive emergency contact information for contacting site leaders. We encourage volunteers to share this information with their families prior to travel.

InsuranceInsurance

Should volunteers purchase international insurance?

International health insurance is included in the MEDLIFE donation goal. For a complete list of details please see here. If volunteers would like to purchase additional insurance they are more than welcome to do so. It is always advisable to check with home insurance providers to see what international coverage may be provided. Please note that MEDLIFE insurance is emergency insurance (health, evacuation, etc) and does not cover things such as lost luggage or trip/airfare cancellation.

PassportPassport, visas, and flights

Passport Information

All volunteers must have a passport valid for six months after travel. We recommend renewing any passport set to expire during that time as some countries and airlines may restrict travel for those who don’t comply.

Are visas required in any of the countries where MEDLIFE works?

Citizens of the U.S., Canada, the U.K, Australia, and the E.U. do not need a visa to travel to any of our Latin American locations. Citizens of other countries (including Green Card holders) should confirm if there are entry requirements of which to be mindful.

For Tanzania, all travelers must pay either $100 USD upon entry (U.S. citizens) / $50 USD (Canadian, U.K., Australian, and E.U. citizens). Please make sure your child has at least this amount in cash to pay the country entry fee. Additionally, volunteer visas are required in Tanzania. MEDLIFE will arrange this and will send an invoice of $206 prior to the start of the trip.

Does MEDLIFE take care of flights?

Volunteers are responsible for purchasing their own flights. If Chapters or other groups are interested in purchasing group airfare, we recommend STA travel, a travel service which works to provide low prices for group travel. For more information, check the STA Travel Booking Procedures and Services.

Hear it From MEDLIFErs

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Reya Seby
Western University

This trip motivated me more to pursue a career in the healthcare field so that I can use my resources to help those who need it the most, similar to MEDLIFE’s mission.

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Victoria DiCanio
University of Connecticut

It was most enjoyable to finish the hard work and see how big a difference a group of individuals can make. It was such an amazing experience.

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Anita Woo
University of Toronto

I enjoyed the mobile clinics the most, especially the dental and triage portions. I would definitely recommend a MEDLIFE trip, it was a great experience.

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David Saff
Maclay High School

The most enjoyable part of my trip was hanging out with the amazing group of kids I was with. I would highly recommend a MEDLIFE volunteer trip to others.

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Sydney Sansone
Nova Southeastern University

This trip made everything that I was learning in my public health courses come to life and immersed me in a new culture while also learning about medicine.

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Abygail Youmans
College of Charleston

Being involved with MEDLIFE is not like joining another club - its bigger than that. It is about joining a movement that seeks to help change people’s quality of life for forever.

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Emi Hofmann
University of Central Florida

Not only was I able to participate in a week long Mobile Clinic, shadowing doctors of all types of specialties including pharmacy, dentistry, gynecology, and more, but I was also able to learn about the culture and visit incredible places.

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Julian Takagi-Stewart
University of Toronto

One thing that I really loved about this trip was that MEDLIFE made sure that the volunteers got an understanding of the complexity of issues that lead to underprivileged people in communities outside of the main city

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Hannah Van Hofwegen
University of Ottawa

Whether it was basketball with the local kids, assisting the doctors, talking with families, building washrooms, holding babies, or spending time with the people who were on the SLT with me, this was an amazing opportunity that I would do over and over again.

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Isabelle Holt
Cornell University

I loved learning about the patients MEDLIFE has followed and how they offer real help to people with chronic/urgent conditions. It is amazing how the organization formed real connections with the communities.

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Valerie Lindeborg
Parent

Our family had the privilege of participating in multiple trips with Nick [founder] and his amazing staff. Their expertise made the trips unforgettable while instilling in my boys the fundamentals of good character: selflessness, compassion, and empathy.

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Harry Vildibill
University of Georgia

As an aspiring physician, MEDLIFE motivated me to further continue my goal of becoming a doctor. In fact, I enjoyed the Tanzania Service Learning Trip so much that I decided to go on another trip to Cusco, Peru.