Dates to Remember
- Ideal time to start the application process (especially for competitive calls).
- Make sure your passport is valid for two or more years.
- Talk with a variety of returned SMs to help you explore calls.
- Get fundraising letter written and approved.
- Register for Cross-Cultural Ministry class (online or at WWU).
- Start sending out your fundraising letters. (Remember the Early Bird Travel Scholarship!)
- March 29—Deadline for Early Bird Travel Scholarship (have passed second screening and have 100 envelopes addressed and stamped*).
- April—Finalize SM call (if not done already).
- May 7–8—Attend SM retreat.
- May 14—Attend/participate in SM dedication vespers.
- May 16—Attend teacher workshops.
- Complete missions class (online or at WWU).
- Make sure you have your necessary travel immunizations.
*Because of complications students may experience in finalizing their call locations, the fundraising letter does not have to be completed at this time. The Early Bird Travel Scholarship may still be obtained by addressing and stamping 100 envelopes so they are ready for letters later approved.
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Every current WWU student who has not graduated will be enrolled in the experiential credit program. This is a program offered by WWU that enables SMs to stay enrolled while away from campus. Each quarter, 12 credits are awarded that perpetuate student status, count toward class standing, and defer some student loans. As wonderful as these credits are, they don’t count toward a specific major or toward graduation.
The Chaplain’s Office will arrange airfare to and from the mission location for each SM. We purchase these tickets through a travel agent using fundraised money and based on the information provided on your application.
Purchases made with fundraised money can only apply toward necessary travel to and from the mission. Any personal travel or additions to the itinerary will need to be purchased with personal funds.
Certain expenses involved in the SM experience can be reimbursed with fundraised money. Because of the tax-deductible status of the donations, only certain things are eligible for reimbursement. Only items with the sole purpose of “for the mission” can be reimbursed. This includes airfare costs to the mission and back and visa fees up to a limit. This does not include personal travel or items such as clothing, vaccinations, or medicine. Additional items for emergencies may be approved by the Chaplain’s Office Executive Committee upon request.
Health and safety
There are a lot of risks involved in the student missionary experience. However, many serious incidents can be averted with some basic knowledge and simple application. Because each student’s safety is our priority, the following are steps required to help ensure your SM experience is safe:
- Immunizations: Once a call is finalized, it’s time to contact a health provider about immunizations. Typical immunizations recommended for every country are: hepatitis A and B, typhoid, tetanus-diphtheria, measles, mumps, and rubella, and chickenpox. Each country is different and your provider will have the best information about what’s needed. It is important to take care of this ASAP after your call is finalized. Some immunizations take several weeks to become effective. Some may have adverse side effects to travel. We recommend all missionaries keep their immunizations booklet in their passport during travel. The Centers for Disease Control and Prevention website, cdc.gov, is a great place to check for recommendations and required immunizations for your country of service.
- Insurance: Each student missionary is covered by Adventist Risk Management insurance. This coverage includes health, accident, repatriation, accidental life, and medical evacuation. This is a powerful tool that can get you out of tough situations. Adventist Risk and Safety works with local doctors to make sure students have adequate care and can evacuate students if deemed necessary.
Tips for risk reduction: There are a few rules for general safety.
- Do not go out alone! Travel in groups with other SMs or locals from the mission. Every incident that has happened to WWU student missionaries in the past has taken place when someone was either alone or out after dark, or both.
- Make sure to ask your local supervisor what is and what isn’t safe.
- If feeling sick, communicate with other SMs, a supervisor, and us. It is important to share the uncomfortable stuff—vomiting and diarrhea can leave you dangerously dehydrated. Not telling anyone is the worst thing to do.