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Undergrad Mission Trip

post #1 of 8
Thread Starter 
So I would like to do a mission trip during spring break and I have a couple of friends of mine that are up for going with me, but the problem lies in the money.

Our situation: Sophomore's in college, doing premed/prelaw and we are on scholarships. So that pretty much means we are not rich. I found this trip to Haiti with habitats for humanities but the ticket there is 1,200 dollars about.

Questions:

Would this trip be worth it? (in my opinion yes, but will it look that good on the resume?)
Would people support our cause and help finance us?
How do we go about acquiring the funds?
Does anyone know of any mission trips that are fully sponsored for students?
Did any of you take a mission trip when in undergrad?
Is this the best way to spend our spring break?

So if we dont go on the trip, I will probably end up working.

Thanks guys.
post #2 of 8
Quote:
Originally Posted by CalTex View Post
So I would like to do a mission trip during spring break and I have a couple of friends of mine that are up for going with me, but the problem lies in the money.

Our situation: Sophomore's in college, doing premed/prelaw and we are on scholarships. So that pretty much means we are not rich. I found this trip to Haiti with habitats for humanities but the ticket there is 1,200 dollars about.

Questions:

Would this trip be worth it? (in my opinion yes, but will it look that good on the resume?)
Would people support our cause and help finance us?
How do we go about acquiring the funds?
Does anyone know of any mission trips that are fully sponsored for students?
Did any of you take a mission trip when in undergrad?
Is this the best way to spend our spring break?

So if we dont go on the trip, I will probably end up working.

Thanks guys.

I'd do something more local. There are lots of options available.
post #3 of 8
There are a bunch that go to New Orleans, I went a few years ago and it was a blast. One of the volunteering orgs at my school paid for nearly everything, I just coughed up for my airfare and some booze. Try to look for options within the US, it'll be cheaper and possibly easier to get funding of some sort. re: people supporting your cause: find trips that are already planned and just join those. Even if you find some rube who will pay for plane tickets and booze money for a bunch of college kids, these "service trips" can often become logistical nightmares for the inexperienced.
post #4 of 8
are you asking if you should renounce the mormon church?
post #5 of 8
I've done a number of mission trips, once in high school (Holland, MI), twice in grad school (NOLA and Cambodia) and will be going to Guatemala for another trip. Questions: Would this trip be worth it? (in my opinion yes, but will it look that good on the resume?) - Depends on who are you are, who you go with, and how well the trip is planned. In terms of what it does for the resume, I don't think much, but it will be something people will bring up and you can talk about. These experiences build you as a person if you allow that opportunity to happen. Would people support our cause and help finance us? - There are a million causes for people to support. Ultimately, like any other organization or trip you will need to try and raise funds yourselves. Stupid things like selling candy, flowers, and what not are reasonably profitable. How do we go about acquiring the funds? - see above Does anyone know of any mission trips that are fully sponsored for students? - usually the schools will have something that is partially funded, get connected to the volunteering organizations of your school. Look for signs around school or search your email for alternative spring break. Did any of you take a mission trip when in undergrad? - see above Is this the best way to spend our spring break? - Depends on what you are looking for. Honestly many college students just want to party and often use a "trip" as an excuse. My GF did a trip to NOLA last year during her break and plans to go back. During her trip, it sounded like the people she went with expected to work <4 hours a day and then go party on Bourbon street. They did a lot of all nighters due to the partying, whereas my trips were pretty much solid 8 hour work days. Don't do it as a resume builder, do it because you believe in something. All in all, the cost of the trip is much smaller than you might think. My total cost for the trip I did to NOLA was under 200 bucks per person with a group of about 12. Our school had a van rental program that got us the van for under 100 bucks for the week. We contacted one of the many group homes down there where you pay like 40 bucks for the week. (We ended up staying with Juilliard students which were a great group to be around). The most important thing is having something set up for when you get down there. It's a bit later in the game now, so most sites are probably booked. If you are interested in NOLA: I did United Saints. Volunteering in general, they also have trips: Volunteermatch . Another group that does trips/general volunteering - Onebrick If you are looking to volunteer for a few hours a day and then just party, that is an option as that is what my GF and her classmates mainly did, but most programs will want you to work a full 8 hours a day. Good luck. PM for more ?'s /info.
post #6 of 8
IME, I had to be up at 7 every day to start working by around 8:30a, then we'd get off at about 3p or 4p in the afternoon then take naps. We'd get up again at around 8p to go out in NOLA. It was a great experience for me as far as partying, but I wouldn't say to expect exactly the same, especially from some groups that expect you to take the trip more seriously.
post #7 of 8
In my opinion, these two destinations, Haiti, and NOLA, are worlds apart. One is completely destitute and the other is in America. I know NOLA has its problems but they are nothing compared to Haiti or any other third world country.

Having spent extensive time doing HIV/AIDS education work in clinics all over Sub-Saharan Africa, I can tell you that the third world experience will be much more rewarding for you in terms of personal growth, even if it is only for Spring Break. The opportunity to see how most of the world lives day to day will give you a new found appreciation for all the things you have here. You may even want to go back or visit other third-world countries.

I do think that one of the biggest misconceptions people have who go on these short-term missions trips/service opportunities is that they go in with the attitude that the people they are doing the service project for are going to be the main beneficiaries. This isn't always the case, as sometimes it can even create an unhealthy dependence upon outsiders while at the same time making them feel like they have nothing to exchange with you in return.

Short-term missions/service projects are going to benefit yourself more than the people you are trying to help and you shouldn't feel guilty about that. The reality of the matter is that the people who stay on long-term in these places are the ones who will do the most good (and harm if not done right) because they are building relationships with these people that are important and often life-saving because they are helping to equip them to care for themselves. And as I said earlier, they allow an opportunity for the other person to give something back to you, creating a sense reciprocity and not one of donor/recipient. A person's dignity is probably the most important thing you can give someone in these situations where they are feeling shameful because somebody from another country has to come and "rescue them."

So just keep that in mind. I've led lots of short-term trips in over a dozen countries and it's amazing how many people go into the whole experience with these sort of savior-complexes, thinking they are bringing all the wonders of the first world to the third and how generous they are to be giving of their time, energy, and money. They spend all their time dwelling on those things that they can often miss the opportunity to make a human connection with somebody from a completely different place (in every sense of the phrase).

That connection will be the most meaningful thing you will take back with you, along with a healthy appreciation and thankfulness for all the amazing things we have in the first world.

Anyway, my two cents.
post #8 of 8
Haiti and NOLA are definitely worlds apart, but a college student without parents who will pay for their trips will have a hard time getting the funding to go somewhere like Haiti for spring break, especially this close to spring break for most people. If you are aware of such resources, let the OP know as I personally do not. My school sponsors trips, but I would imagine most of the deadlines are past by now. Alternative spring breaks are really about having fun and personal growth as much as it is about helping other people. Do what is within your means.
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