THERE ARE STILL AVAILABLE SERVICE OPPORTUNITIES FOR SUMMER BREAK:

MADAGASCAR June 12-June 24

BRAZIL July 6-22

CUBA August 8-22

INDIA August 8-25

 

SIMS organizes short-term mission service trips around the globe for groups of 15-20 students and health professionals throughout the year. SIMS teams are interdisciplinary and composed primarily of Loma Linda students from various schools and programs- other volunteers may be able to participate in a trip depending on available space. 

Short-term group trips typically last from seven days to three weeks. The goals and objectives of each trip vary based on the stated needs of the hosting community and organization. Trip activities generally may include providing primary medical care, dental services, public health education, evangelism, and children's programs to an under-served community.

Group trips are open to any currently enrolled LLU student and are generally filled on a first-come, first-serve basis. 

There are two steps to complete before you are a registered and a confirmed participant: 

1. Click on the desired trip and complete the registration form
2. Pay a $300 non-refundable sign-up trip deposit fee

Winter 2018 - if trip registration is full, please Join the Group Trip Wait List

Frequently Asked Questions

Who can participate on group trips?

All actively enrolled Loma Linda University students are invited to participate on group trips and will be given priority during trip registration. Group trips are mainly reserved for LLU students and healthcare professionals. Non-LLU participants, please join the Group Trip Wait List to be placed on a waiting list. After the trip sign-up deadline has passed, any spots that are not filled by LLU students/employees are offered to participants on the wait list.

How many travelers can participate on a group trip?

Group sizes usually range from 15-25 participants, depending on the trip.

When can I sign-up for a trip?

Group trips are posted on the SIMS website as they become available. Students may sign up for a trip immediately after it is posted online.

How do I sign-up for a trip?

SIMS trips are open to any actively enrolled LLU student, as well as LLU faculty and staff, and are generally filled on a first-come, first-served basis. To register for a trip, go to the SIMS website, find the trip you are interested in, and click the trip link button. You will be asked to complete a short form and pay a $300 non-refundable trip deposit to sign up. Once you have completed these two steps, SIMS considers you to be a confirmed participant on the trip you've selected.

Does SIMS have a waiting list for trips?

If a trip is full, students may ask to be placed on a waiting list. If a spot becomes available for an additional traveler, SIMS will contact the persons on the waiting list to confirm interest and payment. LLU students on the waiting list will be given priority over non-LLU participants on the waiting list.

Why do I have to pay a non-refundable trip deposit?

The trip deposit reserves a travelers spot on a trip and is credited to the traveler's overall trip cost. SIMS assumes that those who make deposits are committed to participate on the trip and intend to pay the balance of the trip cost by the payment deadline. In the event that a student chooses to withdraw from a trip, the deposit serves to cover a portion of the trip expenses incurred by SIMS associated with trip cancellation.

How much do group trips cost?

Trip costs are based on many factors, but generally range from $1,200 to $2,500. Longer trips generally cost over $2,500/person, however, SIMS caps the student cost at $2,000. The remaining trip expenses are subsidized with financial support from generous SIMS donors who are passionate about helping students engage their global community through service.

What does the trip cost include?

Trip costs include short-term travel insurance, shuttle transportation between LLU and the departure airport (usually LAX), round-trip coach airfare from California to the destination country, in-country transportation, accommodations, and the majority of the group's meals. Trip costs may not include travel visas and do not include immunizations required for travel. A variety of optional tourist and/or cultural activities may be available on trips, and SIMS asks that participants bring personal funds to pay for these activities.

What fundraising options do you offer?

SIMS offers travelers an online fundraising programs that enables participants to easily tap into a large pool of potential donors, all from the comfort of their computers. Once you register for a trip and make the $300 non-refundable deposit, students are able to create "personal" webpages using the trip's template that allow them to send personalized email blasts to potential donors.

If I engage in fundraising, will my donors receive a tax-deductible receipt?

Donor contributions to support students' personal travel on a SIMS trip are not tax-deductible to the donor. However, SIMS strongly encourages students to engage in fundraising anyway, as many donors are happy to support your participation on a mission trip whether or not they receive a tax-deductible receipt. If you choose to pay for the trip with your personal funds, please consult with a tax adviser to determine if you are eligible to deduct trip expenses.

What if I raise more money than the cost of my trip?

SIMS can only reimburse students for funds that they personally paid to participate on the trip (out of pocket expense). Donor contributions above and beyond the cost of the trip cannot be returned to the student. In such cases, students can choose to support other trip participants by allocating the funds to them. Or, students may request that the contributions be deposited into the SIMS travel fund to support future SIMS trips. If a student is eligible to receive a reimbursement, it will be issued after the fundraising website is closed and the final payment deadline has passed. This enables SIMS to have an accurate account of the total dollars the student has raised and/or paid and allows us to issue a one-time reimbursement to the student.

Are there other travel funding sources on campus that I should know about?

Travel subsidies for mission trips are generally school-based. Many schools offer some sort of financial support for students participating on mission trips. Please contact the Dean of Student Affairs at your school for additional information.

What are the payment deadlines?

The $300 non-refundable trip deposit is due at the time a traveler signs up for a trip. The remainder of the trip costs will be made in two separate payments, each for half of the total remaining balance (the full balance of the trip, less $300 deposit). After registering for a specific trip, a set of funding milestones will be established by the registration system specifying when these funding milestones are met. Payments may include a mix of funding sources such as donor contributions, school-based subsidies, and personal funds. The trip management portal will inform trip participants of the exact payment deadline closer to trip departure.

What happens if I have to cancel my trip?

In the event of trip cancellation, travelers are responsible to reimburse SIMS for all expenses SIMS has incurred for their travel and participation on the trip up until the date of cancellation. The traveler's $300 non-refundable deposit will go towards paying these expenses, and the traveler will be responsible for paying the balance.

If a traveler cancels before the trip application deadline, the non-refundable trip deposit generally covers any expenses incurred by SIMS. However, if a traveler cancels a trip after the trip application deadline, expenses reimbursed to SIMS may be much higher. Travelers should be aware that if they choose to cancel after SIMS has purchased group airline tickets and a ticket is issued in their name, they will be financially responsible for the balance of the airline ticket. In this scenario, SIMS will work with the traveler to explore various options on how best to use the airline ticket and will strive to reduce expenses for travelers who cancel to the extent possible. However, travelers who cancel are ultimately responsible to reimburse SIMS for trip-related expenses incurred by SIMS, including airline tickets.

How are flights reserved?

SIMS books group reservations with a travel agent. Participants do not book individual tickets and/or flights and are required to travel as a group on the arranged itinerary.

Can I deviate from a group flight reservation?

Requests to deviate from a group flight reservation are considered on a case-by-case basis. All deviations must be approved by the travel agent who has issued the group reservation. To request a flight deviation (such as a later return date, for example), please contact SIMS and make your request no less than 60 days prior to trip departure. Travelers are responsible to pay any fees incurred due to changes in flight schedule, and these costs must be paid directly to the travel agent upon itinerary confirmation.

Which travel documents do I need to participate on the trip?

Travelers must have a valid passport, expiring 6 months after the trip return date. Depending on the country, a visa may be required. If visas are needed for travel, SIMS will coordinate the visa application process for the group. Please keep in mind that visas may not be included in the overall trip cost.

What immunizations will I need to go on a trip?

Each country has different immunization recommendations and requirements. Travelers are responsible for checking the CDC website for country vaccination requirements and meeting with their health care providers to discuss vaccination needs. SIMS suggests that students visit the Travel Clinic located in Evans Hall. The Travel Clinic is open on a walk-in basis on Wednesdays from 1:00pm - 4:00pm. Students should arrive promptly to avoid a long wait.

Do I need international health insurance coverage for the trip?

Students enrolled in LLU's Student Health Plan have international health insurance coverage through Loma Linda Risk Management. In addition, SIMS purchases a short-term insurance plan for travelers that provides limited coverage for personal effects, such as lost or stolen items, while on the trip. Students who are not enrolled in the university's Student Health Plan should review their current health insurance policies to ensure that international coverage is provided.

What will we do on the trip?

Trip service activities vary widely based on a combination of factors.  However, the most significant determinants for trip activities are 1) host site needs and 2) the make-up and skills of the interdisciplinary team.  It is not uncommon for trip activities to morph and change as SIMS and the host site see the various healthcare professions represented on the trip.  The goal is to maximize the skills of the team in such a way as to best meet the needs of the site. 

Typically, trip activities will include health education/promotion in a wide variety of forms (health lectures, health expos, etc.), medical and dental clinics (if appropriate), and children's programming.  A myriad of other potential service opportunities may also present themselves as the trip develops.  SIMS encourages students to make suggestions about possible ways that they can use their healthcare skills to enhance a trip and provide much-needed services to the host site.

Do I need to be speak a foreign language to participate?

No, foreign language skills are not required for participation on a SIMS trip.

Do I need to be from a certain faith denomination to participate?

All LLU students are invited to participate on SIMS trips. Because SIMS trips are generally hosted by Seventh-day Adventist sites, SIMS asks that travelers agree to respect the religious practices of the site while on the trip. SIMS trips also include spiritual activities such as group worship, prayer, and church attendance. Travelers are encouraged to speak with their trip leader about any concerns they have regarding spiritual activities on the trip.

I've signed up for a group trip. Now what?

After you've signed up for a group trip, SIMS will be in contact with you via your LLU email account to communicate important trip information, including group orientation meetings before trip departure. Please check your LLU email regularly for trip-related emails from SIMS.