Frequently Asked Questions

1. Q: I am interested in participating in a volunteer mission trip abroad. Where do I get more information?

A: Our Global Health Volunteer Program is currently active at our sites in Uganda, El Salvador, Costa Rica, Peru, India and Nicaragua. Please click here for more details.

2. Q: What are the dates for the volunteer trips?

A: We are glad to host volunteers during any week of the year. As long as we are not already full to capacity with volunteers at a given site, we will be glad to host you!

3. Q: Can I volunteer alone or do I need to travel with a group?

A: We are happy to welcome both individual volunteers and groups to all of our sites. If you are traveling alone and would like to be placed with a group, please contact us with your preferred volunteering site and available trip dates. We always welcome individual volunteers to travel with us. As site placements are in very high demand, it is very rare for our sites to be hosting only one volunteer at any given time. For this reason, if you travel as an individual you will most likely be volunteering with other individuals or groups volunteering for the same time period. Even if volunteers come alone, they are not sent out to perform tasks by themselves. Volunteers are accompanied by FIMRC staff during volunteer activities.

4. Q: Do you host students for Alternative Spring Breaks?

A: Yes! Spring break season is one of our busiest and most vibrant times of the year for the volunteering program, with student-level group activities planned for all weeks of the spring. Spots fill up fast for these weeks, so please contact us well in advance with the dates of your break to arrange a placement.

5. Q: I have reviewed the program information online, and I am ready to book my trip. How do I proceed?

A: Please contact This e-mail address is being protected from spambots. You need JavaScript enabled to view it with the dates that you are interested in traveling, your location of interest, and any other questions that you might have. We will check the volunteer program availability and confirm your proposed dates. At that time you will receive the enrollment forms, which ask for information about food preferences, language and medical background, and housing preferences. We ask that you fill out the enrollment forms along with your program donation prior to a deadline which we will set at the time of your initial booking. Please note that a late processing fee must be incurred for all forms and donations submitted after this deadline. Your volunteer mission can be rescheduled if needed in accordance with our availability, but the payments are non-refundable.

6. Q: What are the costs associated with a volunteer mission?

A: The volunteer is responsible for all costs associated with the trip. Please see the individual pages on our website for each project location for details on what is covered by the program donation, which can also be found here.

7. Q: What assistance is available in covering costs?

A: Because all our available funds go toward providing medical care to children in need, we are unable to subsidize the cost of volunteer mission trips. However, we do not want to turn volunteers away because of financial limitations. We encourage all volunteers to appeal to family and friends for contributions toward their trip costs. Please contact This e-mail address is being protected from spambots. You need JavaScript enabled to view it to request our fundraising letter template, which you can modify according to your needs and send out to potential sponsors. Many schools also offer grants to students doing community service projects. FIMRC is happy to work with volunteers to brainstorm other fundraising methods. If you are a student, we encourage you to find out whether your college or university has a FIMRC chapter. Chapters provide a support network for organizing events, planning trips and fundraising. For trips of four weeks or more, we may be able to make considerations to the program donation fee on an individual basis.

8. Q: Can I earn academic credit for my experience?

A: We are glad to work with you and your school however necessary to ensure that you receive credit for your experience. While you are responsible for investigating this possibility with your school, we can submit any necessary documentation on your behalf, and can also tailor your experience to any requirements your program may have. If you are a medical student in your third or fourth year, you can sign up for a for-credit rotation through our Comparative Health Immersion Rotation Program. We will be glad to arrange activities according to the specific requirements of your program, so please contact This e-mail address is being protected from spambots. You need JavaScript enabled to view it to get started.

9. Q: What vaccinations should I consider before traveling abroad?

A: We refer all volunteers to the information provided by the Centers for Disease Control at www.cdc.gov/travel for the most up to date vaccination recommendations. Please note the different recommendations not only for the country you are visiting, but also for the region in which you will be staying.

10. Q: What are the pre-requisites or background required for volunteering abroad?

A: FIMRC welcomes all interested individuals to participate in the volunteer program, as we believe that everyone with a passion for children’s health has something valuable to contribute. Our volunteers come from universities, graduate programs, hospitals, and other professional backgrounds. We will take clinical, professional and academic experiences into account when planning volunteer itineraries. FIMRC strives to provide quality of medical care comparable to that in the US, and therefore allows volunteers to work only in the capacity for which they are qualified in the US. If you have a strong preference for a medical focus, health education or other facet of our program please indicate this on your enrollment forms and feel free to inform our team. We ask that all volunteers be flexible and help out where needed at the volunteering site.

11. Q: How far ahead should I plan my trip?

A: We accept participants to our program on a rolling basis. However, if you do not book far enough in advance, it may be difficult for us to accommodate your requested dates, especially if they are during our peak seasons. Please contact us as soon as you can commit to your trip so that we can guarantee your spot. We recommend contacting us at least two months in advance.

12. Q: Should I bring medical supplies or donations of any kind?

A: Absolutely! FIMRC encourages volunteers to collect donations such as over-the-counter medications, hygiene supplies, vitamins, school supplies, and toothbrushes. Please contact us at This e-mail address is being protected from spambots. You need JavaScript enabled to view it for the most up-to-date information on a particular site’s donation needs. We are extremely grateful for any supplies that you might be able to bring. Some volunteers even choose to pack an extra suitcase with supplies. Be sure to check with your airline for extra baggage costs or restrictions.

13. Q: How do I get from the airport to the project site?

A: When you arrive to the airport a FIMRC staff member or representative from FIMRC-approved transport will be there to greet you wearing a FIMRC t-shirt. We will also provide you with emergency contact numbers before departure, which we recommend that you carry with you while abroad. Before you leave for your mission trip, we will provide you with detailed information on your pickup, as well as confirmations for your housing and transportation for the duration of the trip.

14. Q: Where do I stay during the volunteer program?

A: This depends on your volunteering site. In Costa Rica and Peru we accommodate volunteers in FIMRC-affiliated homestays with local families. Our site staff members review housing requests as indicated in the enrollment forms and places volunteers accordingly. All homestays are clean and comfortable, with western style toilets and showers. Host families are able to accommodate roommate preferences, allergies, and dietary restrictions. In El Salvador, Uganda and India, volunteers stay together with staff at FIMRC-run volunteer guesthouses. In Nicaragua, volunteers are housed in cottage-style hotel accommodations. All housing quarters are located in safe areas which are accessible by van or are in walking distance to the volunteering site.

15. Q: What will I be doing while at the project site?

A: Please see the individual program overviews here for more information, as well as this overview of possible volunteering activities. Volunteer itineraries vary due to the ever-changing needs of our clinic sites, but we are able to provide general overviews of the volunteer experience. All volunteer missions will combine elements of clinical and community work.

16. Q: Are FIMRC’s programs safe?

A: Please contact us directly if you have any concerns regarding safety. Volunteer safety is one of our first priorities. While the safety of international travel cannot be guaranteed, we go to numerous lengths to ensure volunteer security. FIMRC sites are chosen with many factors in mind, including accessibility to volunteers. Our programs are designed to be accessible to first-time travelers as well as experienced medical volunteers. At all sites, we provide private housing and transportation which have been selected and approved by project management staff. At sites where we host volunteers in homestays, our field staff are personally acquainted with all host families. At project sites located in urban environments, our clinics are gated and guarded. We provide all transportation between the airport, the housing quarters, and the clinic site. All volunteers are housed in safe areas, and volunteers will never be at the project site at night. Appropriate measures are also taken to prevent sickness from food. We maintain a full FIMRC staff presence on the ground to guide volunteers through every aspect of their visit including arrival, transport, participation at the clinic, and departure. Volunteers are met by field staff immediately upon their arrival at the airport, and are accompanied by field staff at all times during volunteer hours. We also distribute emergency contact information so that volunteers know exactly who to call if they are uncomfortable with a situation or if complications arise. If FIMRC’s site staff deem any of our project sites unsafe for any reason, for example if a country is experiencing political instability or unrest which affects the area of the clinic site, we will unconditionally cancel, reroute, or reschedule all volunteer trips to that site. In the event of a medical emergency FIMRC staff will assess the situation to determine where the individual can get the best medical care. We require all volunteers to be covered under medical insurance for a minimum of $50,000 emergency medical evacuation coverage. If your medical insurance does not cover this, there are several travel insurance providers that can cover you for the duration of your trip. As another safety precaution, you have the option of registering with the State Department.

17. Q: When will I be working on site?
A: Volunteer activities coincide with the operating hours of project sites. Generally, volunteers work from approximately 9 am until 5 pm, Monday through Friday. This schedule may vary depending upon clinic hours, volunteer curriculum, and community outreach needs. Volunteer experiences are designed to extend from Saturday to Saturday or Sunday to Sunday to maximize time in country. Weekends are oftentimes spent travelling and learning about the local culture. FIMRC is dedicated to tailoring volunteer experiences so that each individual has the best experience possible; please let us know if you have specific activities in mind, and we will try our best to accommodate your request.
18. Q: If I decide to cancel my program, will my fees be refunded?

A: All of FIMRC’s project sites are directly funded and supported by program donations, so you will see firsthand the result of your contributions when you arrive on site. This money stocks the clinics with pharmaceuticals and supplies, compensates the physician, nurse, and local medical professionals, and covers the clinic’s utilities and other costs associated with running a clinic. FIMRC operates on an innovative model of financial sustainability supported by Global Health Volunteers’ program donations and in order to ensure the vitality of all projects, program costs, program donations and/or housing/transport fees submitted to FIMRC cannot be refunded. However, we will happily apply any received donations or fees towards a future experience at one of our project sites or towards the account of another volunteer of your choice.

19. Q: Will FIMRC book my flight?  
A:It is the volunteer’s responsibility to arrange all flights. In accordance with FIMRC’s commitment to tailored volunteer experiences, we avoid dictating volunteers’ arrivals and departures and instead require volunteers to book their own flights so that all travel is done at your convenience. Our site staff and/or FIMRC-approved transportation will greet you at the airport on any flight on which you arrive, regardless of the time of day. If you are traveling with a group of people, we ask that you coordinate your collective arrival and departure times; this maximises your time at the clinic, and prevents our site staff from performing time-consuming and costly, multiple trips to the airport. Volunteers who do not coordinate flights may incur an extra fee.
20. Q: Will FIMRC tell me/provide what travel documents I need?
A: General information regarding required travel documents can be found in the FIMRC volunteer Pre-Departure Packet, distributed after successful completion of all enrollment forms and payment, as well as online on the GHVP enrollment system. However, it is the responsibility of each volunteer to make sure their passport is up to date and meets all country-specific requirements (e.g., some countries require a passport to be valid for 6 months beyond the date of the trip). Passport applications are available at most U.S. Post Offices as well as regional passport agencies. For more information, visit http://travel.state.gov/passport/. The volunteer is also responsible for obtaining any additional travel documents required by the host country, such as a travel visa or one-entry tourist card. Please note that required travel documents vary by host country. Visit http://travel.state.gov/visa/americans/americans_1252.html to ensure that you have the most current information.
21. Q: Is it necessary to speak a foreign language in order to volunteer with FIMRC?
A: FIMRC does not require individuals to possess foreign language skills to be able to participate in the Global Health Volunteer Program. It goes with saying that the volunteer experience is greatly enhanced if one is capable of communicating with community members and local medical professionals in the host country’s native language. A volunteer's willingness to step outside of one's comfort zone in an effort to communicate with community members also contributes to meaningful interactions. All prospective volunteers travelling to a project site in Latin America have the opportunity to enroll in online general and medical Spanish courses with FIMRC’s national partner, Language Tailor.
22. Q: Is FIMRC religiously affiliated?
A: FIMRC is a non-denominational organization that collaborates with groups and individuals from all religious backgrounds.
23. Q: Is it possible to add additional days to a previously arranged trip?
A: FIMRC would be happy to accommodate volunteers that decide to extend their stay. Any days that are added will incur an additional charge to be determined using a prorated scale using that particular site’s fees. All advertised prices are for a seven-day period.