There are many things to consider before joining a non-profit on a medical mission outreach.
Deciding to travel abroad on a medical mission can be the best experience of your life, but you definitely want to know what you’re getting into and what’s required before taking the leap! Here are some questions to ask a non-profit before you commit to joining them on a trip:
1. What’s the location?
It may seem obvious to ask about the location of the mission you want to go on, but the details can often be overlooked! You will want to know how many clinics will be held during the trip, if there will be additional travel involved in getting to the clinic sites, where those sites are, and how many days each clinic will last.
2. Are there missionaries already working there?
Being able to have contact with any missionaries that are already serving where you want to serve prior to traveling can be a great resource in preparing for your trip. It is also a good idea to establish a relationship with them before you arrive. If there are missionaries already there, be sure to ask for their names and contact information.
3. What will the weather be like?
Knowing what the weather will be like when you will be traveling to an area can make or break your trip. You definitely want to be prepared with proper clothing in the event you show up during rainy season!
4. What type of travel is involved?
While you can count on a long flight to an overseas medical outreach, you will want to know what type of travel will be involved once you arrive. Make sure to ask how far you will have to travel from the airport, what method you will be traveling, as well as the road conditions if applicable.
5. What will the accommodations be like?
Knowing where you will be staying and what amenities are available are all important things to know. You’ll want to know whether you will have your own room or share, if a bed will be provided, whether there will be electricity and running water, and how far you will be from the outreach site. Additionally, be sure to ask if accommodations will cost extra, as sometimes they aren’t included in the cost of your trip.
6. What language will primarily be spoken?
Knowing what language will primarily be spoken where you are serving can help you prepare for your trip. You will also want to know if translators will be provided and whether there will be an additional cost for them.
7. Are visas required?
Many medical mission outreaches require a visa, and there is often an additional cost for this. Make sure to find out how to obtain this in time for your trip, as well as any costs involved.
8. Are meals provided?
Having to pay for meals can drive the cost of your trip up significantly depending on where you are serving. Be sure to ask before hand whether all meals will be provided in the initial cost of your trip. If not, find out what the average cost of meals are, as well as the availability and average cost for bottled water.
9. Is this a safe area to serve?
Some areas of the world will definitely be more safe than others. Be sure to find out how safe the area you will be serving in will be. If it is a riskier area, find out what measures will be in place to ensure safety (i.e. a security team and/or crowd control).
While this list definitely doesn’t cover all of the questions you could ask before committing to a medical mission outreach, we think it is a good start. What else would you add to this list? Let us know in the comments! And if you want to learn more about our organization and our upcoming trips, be sure to check out our volunteer page.