Mission Team Volunteers
Our teams consist of a diverse mix of medical professionals, students and and even volunteers with no medical background.
Everyone has something to contribute!
“Refuge International volunteers are some of the most dedicated, hard-working and compassionate people I have ever had the honor to work with.”
– Deborah Bell, Founder
Refuge International teams have garnered an outstanding reputation in the communities we serve. We are proud to have extremely hard-working and compassionate people serve with us. Locals walk for miles and line up hours in advance of opening to seek medical care.
The days can be long and the work environment is subject to spontaneous electrical outages or other challenges however we always return home in awe of the level of care our teams deliver.
Mission Trip Volunteer Costs and Registration
Mission Trip Fee: $1,500
The volunteer registration fee covers:
- In-country transportation
- All meals and housing at hospital site
- In-country travel insurance
- Language translator personnel
- Medical mission team t-shirt
- Medical and surgical supplies (including patient medications) used during the service week
- One night hotel stay in Antigua, Guatemala at the end of our service week* (*this does not apply to Petén teams; see below for more information)
If you decide that you would like to stay an extra night in Antigua, there is an additional $75 charge.
Air travel to/from Guatemala is not included and is the responsibility of each volunteer. See the Air Travel information included below.
Our trips fill up quickly and volunteers spots are accepted in the order they are received, so please submit your application early to get the dates you want.
The following are required for reserving your place on a Refuge International Medical Mission Trip:
- Completed Volunteer Registration Form
- Trip Fee Deposit
- Copy of your professional license, if applicable
Important Mission Trip Deposit and Payment Information
A non-refundable $200 deposit is required with all volunteer applications. The remaining balance, as well as all other required information, is due 30 days prior to your departure date. Your mission trip volunteer packet with team t-shirt and information to help you prepare for your journey will be sent to you upon receipt of the total trip fee.
Refuge International is a 501(c)(3) and all fees paid for trips are considered charitable donations. If a volunteer chooses to cancel their travel plans, all payments (less expenses incurred up to the date of cancellation) will be held in reserve for a future trip (for up to a two-year period). All fees and payments made to Refuge International are non-refundable. Volunteer fees are used to cover the costs associated with each trip, as well as fund the other initiatives detailed on this site.
Volunteers are responsible for purchasing their own air travel to/from Guatemala; however, tickets should not be bought until your spot on the team is confirmed and your Team Leader has posted the designated team flight information. In-country arrival transportation must be coordinated for the entire group and not on an individual basis. Thank you!
Optional Hotel Stay
Mission trip volunteers (San Raymundo & Sarstún sites only) have the option to stay an extra night (Saturday) at our hotel in Antigua for an additional $75 (breakfast included). Please check the applicable box on your trip registration form if you’d like to stay the extra night. (Please note, the Antigua visit does not apply to Petén teams; see below.)
Special Notes About Our Mission Trip Sites
Sarstún is a very unique location and accessible only by boat. The journey to the clinic site is more challenging than other mission trip locations and is not recommended for anyone with physical constraints or fear of water crossings.
Travel to the Petén is also more difficult than most other parts of Guatemala. Petén teams are assembled by invitation only and volunteers consist primarily of experienced, licensed professionals (we have a limited number of spots open to non-medical individuals). Only small groups can be accommodated at this time. Volunteers have the option of visiting Tikal on the last day of the trip (a personal expense). Your Team Leader will help coordinate Tikal visit activities including: transportation, park entrance ticket and archeological guide.
Petén groups do not visit the city of Antigua as travel to/from the Petén is coordinated through Belize. Volunteers are required to provide their own air travel to/from Belize City and transportation will be coordinated to the Petén site by the Team Leader.
To best serve the people of Guatemala, we need the right balance of expertise on each team. While students are encouraged and welcome to serve with us, there are a limited number of student spots on each trip.
In Guatemala, Refuge International makes every effort to adhere to the standards of professional care practiced in the United States. Consistent with that policy, direct involvement by volunteers in surgery and anesthesia is limited to licensed professionals and students enrolled in programs leading to licensure in a healthcare profession. The level of participation will be commensurate with training and/or experience. Exceptions to this policy are solely at the discretion of the Medical Director. Observation in the OR is also at his/her discretion.
Change The World Fundraising Program
In order to address the rising costs of medical supplies and medications that our teams use on trips, all mission trip volunteers are asked to pledge to fundraise a minimum of $250 through the Change The World program.
Volunteers will receive fundraising tools and information with your trip information packet (mailed to you once your application and trip deposit are received). Our Change The World website provides volunteers with an easy-to-use, personalized fundraising tool to share your mission with your own local community of family, friends, colleagues, etc. Thank you for your help and support in providing sustainable healthcare programs to the communities we serve in Guatemala!