We have compiled answers to some of our most frequently asked questions related to the Northwestern University Prosthetics-Orthotics Center International Service trip. If you do not see your question or would like more information, please contact us.
Trip Costs / Flight
Travel costs are subject to change. The following is an approximate indication of expenses for your trip:
|Air Fare||$550.00 (The cost of airfare is approximate and is the responsibility of the participant)|
|Accommodations||$1500.00 (This cost is established by ROMP)|
ROMP requires each participant to pay $1500.00 by check or money order, payable to ROMP. The fee covers in-country transportation, housing, and food while in Zacapa. Housing costs are included for the two nights in Antigua.
Your fee to ROMP covers your accommodations in Guatemala. However, each participant is responsible for the cost of travel to Guatemala; as well as food and entertainment while in Antigua; and possibly the shuttle ride from Antigua to the airport.
Currency can be exchanged at Automated Teller Machines (ATMs) located in the airport, Zacapa, and Antigua. If you choose to exchange money before you arrive, Guatemalan currency is the quetzal (GTQ).
ROMP requires a 50% deposit that is due one month before departure. The remaining 50% is due before leaving the USA for Guatemala.
Air travel is the responsibility of each individual. Participants arrive from different areas of the United States. You may depart from wherever you wish, but you should arrive by 12:00 (noon) to Guatemala City on the designated date so your Volunteer Cohort has sufficient time to travel to Zacapa. After NUPOC receives deposits and confirms a cohort of volunteers, we will notify you to book your flight. You must email your itinerary to your NUPOC-IS Trip Liaison. You may use any travel website to find flights. Arrival and departure information will vary according to each Volunteer Cohort and will be updated by email. Always communicate your up-to-date itinerary with your NUPOC-IS Trip Liaison.
The ROMP Crowdrise site can help you raise funds for your upcoming trip. In past years, volunteers have written personalized emails or letters about their NUPOC International Service trip to friends and family and requested donations. In your outreach communications, you can include informative descriptions of ROMP activities and volunteer clinical programs that are available on the ROMP Crowdrise site and on the ROMP website.
ROMP is a tax-exempt, non-profit public charity, and all contributions are tax deductible in accordance with IRS Code 501(c)(3) and under section 170(b)(1)(A)(vi) and donations are tax deductible. Friends and family who wish to donate money may do so on the ROMP Crowdrise or mail a check directly to: ROMP, PO Box 100915, Denver, CO 80250. Donors who send funds on behalf of a NUPOC-IS participant must write the clinician's name and the NUPOC trip date on the check's memo line (i.e., John Smith, NUPOC trip 2018). This enables ROMP to track and confirm all financial contributions. For complete instructions, direct your donors to the Crowdrise site for ROMP.
Guatemala Housing and Living
Accommodations will be arranged for you during the week of your stay. NUPOC-IS participants will stay at Hotel El Atlántico, a modern hotel with 84 rooms. All rooms are air-conditioned, have a private bathroom and cable TV. Internet access is available. The hotel features amenities such as restaurants, a swimming pool, gardens, children's playground, and a gym. Located in Santa Cruz, Zacapa, the hotel is located near the Carretera al Atlántico, a main highway that connects Guatemala City with Puerto Barrios and the Caribbean coast.
In Zacapa, double or triple cabana style rooms:
In Antigua, double rooms:
If you arrive early to Guatemala City or stay for a few extra days, you may choose from internationally known hotels (i.e., Westin, Intercontinental) or smaller, local establishments. One recommendation is the Hotel Villa Española. It is a quaint, safe, comfortable hotel with a friendly staff.
The quetzal, named for the colorful and elusive national bird, is the Guatemalan unit of currency. The quetzal is divided into 100 centavos, and coin denominations are 25, 10, 5 centavos, and 1 centavo. Bill denominations are 50 centavos and 1, 5, 10, 20, 50, 100, and 500 quetzales. Learn more and see images of Guatemalan currency at the Bank of Guatemala website (in Spanish). Confirm the USD to GTQ exchange rate. Please note that cash exchange of US dollars for quetzales can be transacted at the Guatemala Airport. Many banks, such as BanQuetzal, will exchange US dollars for quetzales for a fair rate. Traveler Checks are widely accepted in Guatemala. Credit Card Advances and ATM withdrawals are the easiest way to obtain quetzales.
Tipping is not the norm and it is not absolutely necessary. At restaurants, unless a tip is included in the bill, a small tip is appreciated. Bargaining is the norm in Guatemalan markets and shops, but not in urban shopping centers. Hand-crafted textiles are affordable and may be attractive souvenirs for family and friends. Overall, goods are inexpensive, but expect to negotiate. Usually, Guatemalans double the fair price for all items that foreigners wish to buy. Have fun negotiating a bargain.
Health and Safety
Be aware that crime exists in Guatemala. Pickpockets and purse snatchers are a common hazard in Guatemala City and in central markets. As drug trafficking and gang activity increase in Guatemala, violent crime is on the rise. You can improve your personal security by always traveling in a group. It is not recommended to travel alone in Guatemala City. Antigua night life and restaurants are excellent, but we strongly recommend that you stay together in groups. To minimize your exposure to theft, always stay with a group, even when traveling by tuk-tuk (a local three wheeled taxi).
Review your immunizations and health history with your doctor. Confirm that your immunizations are up-to-date. Travel to Guatemala does not require additional inoculations/medications; however the following immunizations are recommended for travel to Central America:
- Hepatitis A (two vaccines, six months apart), or Immune Globulin (IG)
- Hepatitis B, particularly if you expect to be exposed to blood
- Rabies, especially if traveling to rural areas
- Booster doses for tetanus-diphtheria and measles
Mosquitoes in Guatemala are infected with Zika virus and travellers should take precautions to prevent mosquito bites. Some volunteer participants opt to take malarial prophylaxis. Although malaria is uncommon in the Zacapa region, it is always a possibility in Guatemala City or Antigua. Consult your physician or an infectious disease specialist to determine whether malarial prophylaxis is advisable for you.
The US Centers for Disease Control and Prevention (CDC) is an excellent source of information for travelers. The CDC's comprehensive booklet, Health Information for International Travelers, provides an annual summary of disease, immunization, and general health advice. Obtain it free on the CDC website.
Students who travel abroad under this program are required to enroll in GeoBlue for Students that provides international health insurance, emergency medical, political, and natural disaster evacuation. Northwestern University has contracted with GeoBlue to provide worldwide assistance and evacuation services for all students and employees who travel outside the United States to study or conduct University business. Registration is mandatory for all participants. Enroll in GeoBlue.
**You are required to email the GeoBlue enrollment confirmation to your NUPOC-ROMP Trip Liaison.
GeoBlue provides medical, political and natural disaster evacuation for enrollees studying abroad. The GeoBlue telephone number is +1-610-254-8771. Please note that the primary responsibility for your health and well-being rests with you.
Refer to our emergency contacts information related to the international service program.
NUPOC students volunteer at the Kevin O'Halloran Rehabilitation Clinic in Zacapa, Guatemala.