FUNDRAISING AND PAYMENTS
THE VOLUNTEER TRIP EXPERIENCE:
First, create a new user account by clicking ‘Sign Up for a Volunteer Trip' at the top of the screen, to the right of the MEDLIFE logo. After you've created your website account, you can log in by going to the yellow myMEDLIFE tab at the top right of the screen. Then, visit the ‘Upcoming Volunteer Trips' page under the ‘Volunteer Trips' tab and click ‘Register' for the Volunteer Trip you would like to attend. When you have submitted your application and paid the $200 deposit, your spot on the Volunteer Trip will be fully reserved!
There are many organizations that offer mission trips to undergraduate students and volunteers. Why should you choose a MEDLIFE Volunteer Trip? Because we provide more for our patients, community members and participants.
For our patients:
For our participants:
MEDLIFE conducts medical Mobile Clinics, Mobile Schools and Development Corps trips in several locations. Mobile clinics are held in Lima, Peru; Cusco, Peru; Riobamba, Ecuador; Tena, Ecuador; Esmeraldas, Ecuador; and Kilimanjaro, Tanzania. MEDLIFE has also conducted Mobile Clinics in Panama, and we hope to return to Panama in the coming years. Mobile Schools are held in Lima, Peru and Kilimanjaro, Tanzania, and Development Corps trips are run in Lima, Peru. Click here to learn more about our work in each country.
MEDLIFE offers several different Volunteer Trip options during students' winter, spring, and summer breaks. Click here to see our upcoming Volunteer Trips.
Any current undergraduate or graduate student from any university can attend a Volunteer Trip. You do not need to be a current member of a MEDLIFE chapter to serve as a volunteer. MEDLIFE also has high school Student Chapters and coordinates trips specific to high school students. For these Volunteer Trips, chaperones must also attend. Recent graduates and medical professionals interested in participating should contact [email protected]
MEDLIFE requires a commitment from a minimum of 15 or 20 participants depending on the location to confirm a Volunteer Trip. Groups who wish to arrange a Volunteer Trip on dates not listed must contact Student Affairs at [email protected] . The minimum number of required registrants for these type of trips varies by location.
Volunteer Trip participants are not required to speak Spanish or Swahili, or to have any previous medical experience. It is helpful for participants to familiarize themselves with basic phrases in the local language and the medical and cultural landscape in the country they plan to visit. Here is a list of Useful Spanish phrases for our Latin American locations.
The cost of participation in a one-week Volunteer Trip (including the $200 deposit), plus airfare:
The cost of a two-week Volunteer Trip starts at $1550.00, plus airfare.
The $200 deposit is refundable but only as long as the cancellation is announced prior to registration deadline. Any payments toward the participation fee by the participant or any other party will not be refunded if cancelation occurs after the registration deadline.
This fee covers all meals Monday through Friday (the participant is responsible for meals over the weekend), in-country transportation (including airport pick-up and drop-off on the Volunteer Trip start and end dates) and lodging (eight nights) during the Volunteer 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 participation fee 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 participation fee.
Participants are required to cover their own meals and expenses on our two weekend tourism days. Participants also may be asked to pay a small fee for optional tourism activities during the week (i.e. visiting a water fountain park, taking a salsa class, etc.). 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 and drinks, souvenirs, and the US$30-US$40 airport exit fee. Cash only in Ecuador (Canadian dollars are not easy to exchange in Ecuador, so be sure to have US$). Credit and debit cards are accepted in Peru.
To make a payment you should go to the yellow myMEDLIFE tab on the MEDLIFE website and log into your account using the same username you created while registering for the Volunteer Trip. This should bring you to your 50:50 fundraising page. After logging in, go to MyMEDLIFE INFO below the yellow myMEDLIFE tab. This will take you to a separate page where you can manage all of your Volunteer Trip information. By clicking on "Pay your full participation fee" under the icon with the dollar sign, you will be able to enter your payment information. Once you complete the payment, you should receive a confirmation email from PayPal.
In the event that you cannot pay online, send an email to [email protected] stating your intention to do so, along with the dates and location of your Volunteer 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 payment deadline.
The $200 deposit is refundable but only as long as the cancellation is announced prior to registration deadline. Any money paid toward the participation fee by the participant or any other party will not be refunded if cancellation occurs after this date.
If registration does not meet the minimum number of required participants, the Volunteer Trip will be cancelled and all money will be refunded in full. If you are interested in participating in a two-week trip there must be a total of 20 participants (combining the one-week and two-week participants) in order to confirm that Volunteer Trip. Participants may also have the option of moving to another trip date.
To request a refund, please send an email to [email protected]
listing your name and the dates and location of the Volunteer Trip you are registered for. The $200 deposit is refundable but only as long as the cancellation is announced prior to registration deadline. Any payments toward the participation fee by the participant or any other party will not be refunded if cancellation occurs after this deadline date.
To cancel, please send an email to [email protected] listing your name and the dates and location of the Volunteer Trip you are registered to attend. The $200 deposit is refundable but only as long as the cancellation is announced prior to registration deadline. Any payments toward the participation fee by the volunteer or any other party will not be refunded if cancellation occurs beyond the registration deadline.
You can reduce the cost of your participation on a Volunteer Trip with the 50:50 online fundraising campaign. When you register for a Volunteer Trip, an online fundraising campaign page is automatically created for you. During this process, you have the option to edit the campaign text, as well as create a unique campaign URL. IMPORTANT: While your campaign is being created, please do not refresh the page, as it will cause multiple campaigns to be created. When you log in to your MyMEDLIFE account using the yellow myMEDLIFE tab, you should be taken directly to your 50:50 campaign page. From here you can customize your page by adding a photo and sending out your campaign link to friends and family using the email tool. You can check to see who has donated and how many donations you've received in total as you fundraise.
Read more information about the 50:50 Campaign.
The participation fee must be paid in full three weeks prior to the starting date of the volunteer trip.
For citizens of most countries, the only requirement to enter Peru, Ecuador or Tanzania is a valid passport that will be valid at least six months longer than you plan to stay in Peru, Ecuador and Tanzania. However, citizens of some countries will need an additional visa to enter Peru or Ecuador. Additionally Tanzania has additional VISA costs and requirements for volunteers working in their country. Volunteers are responsible for their own visa coordination. However, MEDLIFE will provide documentation or trip information if necessary. Passport and Visa requirements.
Participants 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 see below for your specific Volunteer Trip location:
Lima, PERU- You must arrive at the Jorge Chavez International Airport (LIM) on Saturday, the start date of your volunteer trip, between 18:00 and 01:00 (next day) and depart on Sunday, the final day of your Volunteer Trip, between 18:00 and 02:00 (next day). Participants will be separated according to their times of arrival and departure, and in some cases will need to wait on their own for MEDLIFE transportation to pick them up.
Cusco, PERU- Please contact [email protected]
Riobamba, Tena and Esmeraldas; ECUADOR- You must arrive at the Mariscal Sucre International Airport (UIO) in Quito on Saturday, the start date of your volunteer trip, between 19:00 and 00:00 (next day) and depart on Sunday, the final day of your volunteer trip after 10:00am. Participants who arrive in the morning or afternoon will have to wait on their own at the airport until MEDLIFE transportation arrives to pick them up.
Kilimanjaro, TANZANIA- You must arrive at the Kilimanjaro International Airport (JRO) on Saturday, the start date of your mobile clinic, between 18:00 and 00:00 (next day) and depart on Sunday, the final day of your mobile clinic, between 18:00 and 00:00 (next day). Participants will be separated according to their arrival times and departure times, and in some cases will have to wait on their own for MEDLIFE transportation to pick them up.We recommend that volunteers who are travelling as a group or Student Chapter purchase flights as a together. If coordinated early enough, it is sometimes possible to get flight discounts as a group.
While MEDLIFE does not have its own policy for vaccinations, we require participants to meet all CDC immunization recommendations for the country of travel. Participants may need to visit a travel clinic to receive these immunizations. You may refer to this link for recommended vaccinations.
Yes. Participants are required to purchase travel health insurance or be otherwise covered by existing health insurance plans for the entirety of their participation in a Mobile Clinic. MEDLIFE does not require that you bring formal documentation of your insurance, however. Click here for tips on finding travel health insurance plans.
We recommend that you have access to at least $150 to $200 during your Volunteer Trip week to cover two days of meals, tourism activities, and any additional food, drinks, or souvenirs you wish to purchase. Participants can access their bank accounts via ATM/debit card and can also easily change cash with money-exchange officials on the streets or in nearby exchange houses.
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 is not required.
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)
Yes! If you are attending a Volunteer Trip, you can help out beyond your participation by soliciting donations for the following list of commonly used supplies and medicines. The more that you bring with you, the more our staff can spend on patient follow-up care and more specialized treatments for our patients during Mobile Clinics:
Please [email protected] more up-to-date information on our supply needs.
Many MEDLIFE Student chapters host Volunteer Trip preparation meetings on campus before departing for their trip. This is a great way for participants to meet one another and address any questions and concerns that students have. We recommend that Student 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 very helpful to have students who have participated in past Volunteer Trips in attendance at these meetings so that they can speak of their experiences. Please contact your SAB representative if you are interested in hosting such a meeting.
If you arrive within the scheduled timeframe that was specified to you in the flight email sent out to all participants, 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 [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 Volunteer Trip staff members. All contact information will be provided to participants via email and available on our website.
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/cancelation."
Volunteer Trips are led by a combination of U.S. and Peruvian/Ecuadorian full-time staff members living in Latin America, with the help of local doctors and community leaders.
When our Mobile Clinic doctors identify a patient who require 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.
MEDLIFE always arranges for Volunteer Trip participants 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 participants 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).
Breakfast is provided at the hotel (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 at cost to the participant. Sample dinner menu for the week:
Meals are provided Monday-Friday of the Volunteer Trip. Participants 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.
When applying for a Volunteer Trip, be sure to specify any dietary restrictions on your application in the alloted 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.
In Peru, seasons are opposite from the United States and Canada. If traveling to Lima or Cuzco during the U.S. winter or spring (November - April), Lima will be very hot and dry. Cuzco 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 Cuzco will likely be cold but sunny. In Riobamba, Ecuador, the high elevation of the clinic sites makes for cold mornings and warmer afternoons and very powerful sunshine. Tena, Ecuador is located in the tropical Amazonian region and is always humid and hot.
It is impossible to predict with certainty what weather will be like during Volunteer 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 accomodate climate changes.
All trips are supported by our volunteers. Volunteers have the opportunity to work closely with and learn from our medical professionals as they identify individual patients who require further treatment. Students work with our staff at patient intake, triage, consultations, and in the pharmacy. Participants also help run our educational programs and shadow the local doctors, dentists, and gynecologists. The typical Mobile Clinic week includes four days volunteering on-site at the Clinic, one day working with local community members on a development project (i.e. a stair or bathroom construction project), and two days of cultural tourism. Click here for a sample itinerary.
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.
MEDLIFE staff place the greatest value on the safety of our participants. MEDLIFE meets all incoming students at the airport and accompanies them to the hotel via private transportation. Participants use solely private transportation throughout the entire week (to/from the airport, clinic sites, and tourist activities). Participants are warned to only leave the hotel during the day if they are in groups of greater than five people, and to not leave the hotel at all at night unless accompanied or given authorization by MEDLIFE staff. MEDLIFE staff are always present at the communities where we conduct our Volunteer Trips.
In the event of an emergency, MEDLIFE staff will personally make sure the appropriate steps are taken to effectively and quickly address the issue. All staff members have information regarding emergency phone numbers, locations of medical clinics, etc. Volunteers will be escorted by staff members through every step of the process.
All hotels used by MEDLIFE have wi-fi as well as computers available for use by students. 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.
Participants must obey all established rules for ?MEDLIFE volunteer trips. Failure to comply will result in a ban from participating in any event related to the ?volunteer trip, and/or to stay in the hotel that is designated for mobile clinic participants.? Rules will change from clinic to clinic as our cultural areas are different and require different behavior. 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.
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 encourage as it will draw less unnecessary or potentially unwanted attention. Tanzania is a religiously diverse country as are the communities we serve. They are very conservative in their dress, so we request all female participants to wear long skirts or pants (no yoga pants or shorts) to respect the local people. The general rule in Tanzania while on clinic is No knees, shoulders, or cleavage can be showing. Our outward appearance is the first image anyone will have of our team, so we want to be respectful and professional to instill confidence in the care we provide.
?If participants need at any time to return home, MEDLIFE will help coordinate any arrangements needed for this to take place as much as the circumstances allow ?us to. Unfortunately there is no reimbursement if a participant needs to leave the clinic early, as the participation fee goes towards covering all mobile clinic expensive ahead of time.
Yes, you will share a room with other people. All the people in the room will be volunteers. As much as we can we will try to allocate you rooms with people from your own chapter or school. You will never share a room with someone who is not connected to MEDLIFE.
You should plan to look professional, but dress comfortably. Jeans, athletic wear, and t-shirts are all acceptable. In all locations, a MEDLIFE t-shirt will be provided but wearing it is not compulsory.