Throughout the year, SIMS organizes short-term mission service trips around the globe for groups of students and health professionals. SIMS teams are interdisciplinary and composed primarily of Loma Linda University (LLU) students from various schools and programs. Other LLUH volunteers may 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 organization and community. Trip activities generally 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 confirmed trip participant:
- Click on the desired trip and complete the registration form
- Contribute a $300 non-refundable trip sign-up fee (amount will be applied to remaining trip balance)
2020 Short-term Group Trips
CUBA: March 19-29 | TRIP FULL (Join Waitlist)
BRAZIL: March 20-29 | TRIP FULL (Join Waitlist)
PERU: March 20-29 | TRIP FULL (Join Waitlist)
CHINA: June 15-30 - Trip postponed due to COVID-19
PERU: June 15-29 - Trip postponed due to COVID-19
BELIZE: June 16-28 - Trip postponed due to COVID-19
PHILIPPINES: June 16-30 - Trip postponed due to COVID-19
THAILAND: July 13-27 | TRIP FULL (Join Waitlist)
INDIA: August 2-17 - Trip postponed due to COVID-19
BRAZIL: August 18-31 - Trip postponed due to COVID-19
SAMOA: September 3-20 | TRIP FULL (Join Waitlist)
THAILAND: December 14-28 | TRIP FULL (Join Waitlist)
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 LLUH 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?
During our SIMS International Night each year we announce the upcoming mission service trips (usually in November) group trips are then posted on the SIMS website. Students may sign up for available trips immediately after they are posted online.
How do I sign-up for a trip?
SIMS trips are open to any actively enrolled LLU student 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 registration form and contribute 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 wait list for trips?
If a trip is full, students may ask to be placed on a trip specific wait list. If a spot becomes available for an additional traveler, SIMS will contact the persons on the waiting list to confirm interest. LLU students on the waiting list will be given priority over non-LLU participants.
Why do I have to contribute a non-refundable trip deposit?
The trip deposit reserves a participants spot on a trip and is credited to their overall trip contribution. SIMS assumes that those who make deposits are committed to participate on the trip and intend to fundraise/contribute the balance of the trip cost by the defined 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?
Participants are required to contribute or fundraise a minimum amount for each group trip - this amount is based on many factors, but generally range from $1,200 to $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 contribute for the trip with your personal funds, please consult with a tax advisor to determine if you are eligible to deduct trip expenses.
What if I raise more money than the cost of my trip?
Contributions above the required personal/fundraising goal of the trip cannot be reimbursed as the funds are utilized for the trip expenses. It is the responsibility of each participant to close their fundraising portal once their goal is reached. Please contact SIMS office at (909)558-8089 if you have any questions
Are there other 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 contribution/fundraising deadlines?
The $300 non-refundable trip deposit is due at the time a participant signs up for a trip. 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.
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.
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. 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.
What immunizations will I need to go on a trip?
Each country has different immunization recommendations and requirements. Travelers are responsible for checking the Center for Disease Control (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 change and adapt 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 variety 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. Please contact SIMS office at (909)558-8089 if you have any questions.