We're delighted that your son/daughter is considering a CFHI Global Health Education Program! As parents we want our sons and daughters to gain transformative life experiences, but we also want to make sure they are safe and well supported, and so we understand that you may have questions or concerns. CFHI is a leader in safety standards, managing the risk of international activities and providing international experiences that provide for personal growth without lacking support. While no one can guarantee that everything will go as planned during international experiences, CFHI is known for prioritizing participant wellness and quickly addressing any issues that arise.

On this page CFHI provides information geared towards parents, so you can learn more about the CFHI student experience, the role of our in-country partners, and logistical and safety details.  

Hear from Greg Martin MD, a leader in Global Health, on how to experience in global and public health:

Read more about CFHI and our transformative professional experience. Also, read an encouraging blog authored by a parent of a CFHI participant who traveled to South Africa in 2014. The mother writes about her experience sending her daughter abroad and offers advice to parents in a similar situation.

Does CFHI provide pre-departure support?

CFHI’s Oakland office is in contact with participants from the moment they are accepted to a CFHI program. Once students confirm they will participate with CFHI by submitting their deposit payment, we provide a comprehensive packet of pre-departure materials and resources. This includes detailed information on making flight arrangements, required documents needed for international travel, recommended immunizations, and what to pack. As the program nears we also provide contact information for our in-country partners and other participants who will be joining the program. CFHI staff are available by phone and email to answer any questions you or your son/daughter may have prior to departure.

How will CFHI support my son/daughter during the program?

CFHI provides airport pickup, a welcome orientation, emergency medical & evacuation insurance, and a local cell phone during the program. Our on-site team, which includes the CFHI Local Coordinator and Medical Director, will meet with your son/daughter once a week for check-in, informational lectures, and reflection. Our on-site partners have decades of experience hosting international students and are available 24/7 to provide support and guidance. Furthermore, the CFHI San Francisco headquarters is in regular contact with in-country partners and monitors the political and health standing of each country, working collaboratively with partners to ensure the well being of students at all times.

In case of emergencies, CFHI staff can also be reached on a 24/7 emergency hotline.

How do I communicate with my son/daughter during the program?

During the on-site welcome orientation, usually the day after arrival, all participants receive a local pay-as you go cell phone and are instructed on how to purchase minutes locally. You will be able to reach your son/daughter on this phone that accepts free incoming calls, but it is his/her responsibility to provide you with the number. Internet is accessible at almost all sites, either at nearby internet cafes, the language school, homestay or housing, or by purchasing a USB modem. Skype is an affordable way of keeping in touch.

Remember, CFHI is in regular contact with our in-country partners who notify us of any issues, so “no news is good news.” Please be patient as your son/daughter will be very busy throughout the program. Visit Go Overseas for additional tips and things to consider.

How do I know my son/daughter will be safe?

All CFHI partners are proactive about ensuring student safety (link to Safety Page), which is of the utmost priority for CFHI. CFHI has been running programs since 1992, sending over 8,000 students abroad on our programs. CFHI has an impeccable reputation and is recognized by both the United Nations and the Better Business Bureau. While no organization can guarantee participant safety 100%, CFHI’s longevity, track record, and close relationships with our international partners provide a network for safe and secure student experiences abroad. Get more details about student safety on CFHI’s safety page.

What happens when my son/daughter arrives in country?

A CFHI representative will be at the airport to pick-up your son/daughter. This person is a trusted driver chosen carefully by the Local Coordinator at each program site. He or she will be holding a sign labeled CFHI. Your son/daughter will then be taken to meet the Local Coordinator or to their respective home stays or lodging.

Contact information for the local team and housing arrangements are sent via email 1-2 weeks before the program start date. Your son/daughter should keep this information handy in case they need to get in touch.

Where will my son/daughter be staying during the program?

Depending on the country and program, CFHI participants will be housed in university dorms, at private hospital or clinic staff quarters, in an ashram,  apartments, or with a home stay family. At the majority of program sites, CFHI participants stay with a local family. Host families are carefully screened by the CFHI Local Coordinator, who also gives consideration towards proximity to clinical rotations or public health sites and language schools, safety, and comfort when selecting host families.

How can I make payments to CFHI?

There are several ways to make payment towards your son/daughter’s program.

1. Online via credit card (Visa or Mastercard) using your son/daughter’s CFHI online account.

2. Submit check made out to “Child Family Health International” or “CFHI” and send to:

Child Family Health International
2369 Ocean Avenue, Suite 200
San Francisco, CA 94127

3. Over the phone by calling 415.957.9000 to speak with CFHI head office staff. 

For advice on how to finance your son/daughter’s program, check out these 5 Saving Tips from Go Overseas.  More ideas are also available on our Funding Opportunities page

Are payments made towards my son/daughter’s program tax-deductible?

CFHI is a section 501(c)3 nonprofit but we are not tax professionals. CFHI is not at liberty to determine tax deduction status or to provide donor specific legal or tax advice on donations. We suggest you consult with your tax adviser or the IRS to determine whether a contribution is deductible, which usually depends on a number of factors. The IRS’s Publication 526, Charitable Contributions may be helpful in providing further clarification.

Please visit the General FAQs page for more information on CFHI programs.