Compassion International has been working around the globe since 1952. We understand that God’s calling to go to the “ends of the earth” is not a figure of speech.
We want to connect sponsors and partners in the developed world with children in the developing world. A lot of the time that connection happens through photos, letters and prayers. But sometimes, it happens in person. We love when it happens in person!
The Compassion difference
On a Compassion Exposure Trip, you won’t see a representation of another culture. You will experience that culture first-hand. And it will change your life.
Compassion Trips provide a unique opportunity because of our focus on one-to-one relationship through sponsorship. Part of that deep connection is the prospect of traveling on a world-class, safe and guided experience to your child’s world. We do everything to ensure your health and safety on a Compassion Trip, and our staff has gone through extensive training to make sure you have an incredible experience.
These detailed, authentic and immersive trips bring you to the villages, the neighborhoods, the backyards of children living in extreme poverty — and then give you the chance to have your life changed by all that you see, taste and do.
When you are on a Compassion Trip, you will…
- Explore a rich and diverse culture full of new foods, sounds and experiences.
- Visit the homes of children and families whose lives have been transformed.
- Meet the Compassion staff members who make a daily difference in the lives of children.
- Be immersed in the lives of children we serve — you will play games, share meals, give hugs and live life with these precious children!
- May serve a meal to children at a centre, fulfill a practical need within the local community and empower the Church.
- Be challenged to understand a world outside of yourself that opens your heart and mind to your role as a sponsor, advocate and partner with Compassion.
Compassion Trips intentionally place you in areas where the need is real and the impact is life changing. With the expert leadership of seasoned, country staff, we travel around the globe safely and with purpose. We have studied and observed that the impact of your personal visit encourages children to stay in school, connect more deeply through letter writing, and builds hope into their futures. Children thrive under the influence of a loving community.
Joining a Exposure Trip demonstrates a lasting commitment and profound value to the heart of your child! When determining whether to give financial gifts or visit in person, know that both have wonderful outcomes. However, the immeasurable gift of meeting your child is an indescribable experience… for both you and your child. One so rewarding that you might not be able to resist!
If a trip to a developing country is outside your comfort zone, be assured we will be alongside you every step of the way.
We will guide you through key trip preparation, such as obtaining passports, visas (if necessary) and immunizations. We’ll provide travel tips, a packing list and fun ideas for children’s gifts.
Exposure Trip costs include travel and in-country costs. For instance:
- all airfare, fuel and surcharges for international flights (unless a trip is noted as “LAND ONLY”)
- in-country hotel costs
- in-country transportation costs from buses to in-country flights
- in-country meals
- tips, fees and entrance/exit costs as well as “fun day” venue costs and visits to any tourist attractions
- travel insurance (download a PDF with complete policy information)
Most importantly, the trip cost includes all expenses associated with the child-sponsor visit. This includes transportation (bus, air, taxi, train, boat), translation services, meals, lodging, activity entrance fees, etc., for the children, their student centre representative and parent. (Please note, each Exposure Trip has different inclusions, which you can learn about on each trip page.)
- Visits with up to three personally Compassion children are included in each trip cost. If you desire to meet more children, they may be added for an additional fee.
“I was encouraged by the intimacy that I felt with Jesus while on the trip. Taking the time to be in His presence, in prayer, and in tune with the Holy Spirit all week was incredible. I strive now to keep that intimacy in my everyday life as a Mom of three young kids. Although it may be a few years before I have another opportunity to travel with Compassion again, I already look forward to the next experience.”
What to expect
Perhaps you’re thinking about traveling with Compassion for the first time, but you’re not sure what to expect. “Where will I sleep?” you wonder. “What will I eat? Will I be riding in a chicken bus?”
International travel is full of adventures, and there’s no such thing as a silly question! We have great information to help you discover what our trips are like. Below you will find information about hotel accommodations, transportation and other details involved in a typical Compassion trip. Each trip is unique and filled with discovery, so we want you to understand what is involved, and be ready to join us for this exciting journey!
Visiting a Compassion development centre
There is nothing quite like entering a development centre full of excited children who are ready to welcome Compassion sponsors! The children, their families and the staff members are ready to engage as soon as they arrive, frequently putting on a welcome program for the visitors.
After the celebration, travelers will be able to tour the facility and witness first-hand what their sponsorship funds provide. Some centres demonstrate vocational programs for the older students and explain how they minister within the Child Survival Program to mothers and babies. Each student centre is different and unique!
And of course, there is always time to play with the children and be immersed in the joy and love of the children around you.
Many families of Compassion children are waiting and praying for the opportunity to open their homes to sponsors or visitors!
On each trip, we have the unique opportunity to visit homes of children in small groups. This gives visitors a chance to see what a typical house and home environment is like in the area. While visiting the family home, the group can ask the family questions, learn about the community, and pray for the family. This is usually an unbelievable experience that allows the visitors to connect with a family and see what day-to-day life is like in that part of the world.
Compassion staff will also frequently provide the travelers visiting each home with a practical gift to bless the family and show the appreciation of allowing the group to visit.
Compassion carefully selects the lodging for each trip, which is determined by many variables, such as safety, menu, location and amenities. It is the pleasure of our field staff to search out perfect accommodations for each trip.
Because they have relationships with hotels in their areas, local staff are often able to secure venues that offer Compassion generous discounts because of our frequent trips and our overall mission. Most hotels we utilize for Exposure Trips are equivalent to United States’ four-star hotels (or higher).
Of course, the accommodations vary depending on the country and what is available in the area.
There are so many places to go and so much to see! On each trip, our leaders want you to experience different areas of the country — which does mean that there can be significant time spent on the road. Whether that means you will be commuting to student centres or historic landmarks, please know that Compassion secures the most comfortable and safe transportation available in the area.
Depending on the size of your group, you may be transported by a mini-bus or coach. Normally our trips will have the same driver for the entirety of your stay. That driver will ensure that the bus is locked and commonly waits on-site for the group, for when they are ready to depart. Coach buses usually have air conditioning and restroom facilities available, and the Compassion staff brings bottled water for you (and may also provide snacks for the long commutes). Other modes of transportation may include safari vehicles, trains or prop airplanes — it all depends on the adventure you sign up for!
Meeting your Compassion child
Undeniably, meeting your Compassion child will be the highlight of your trip and an unforgettable experience for you and your child.
For an entire day, you and your Compassion child will be together at a local recreational area. You will get the chance to play games, share a meal, take photos, and connect in a way that’s possible only in person! Along with your Compassion child, a guardian and a program worker will accompany you for this exciting day.
And if you are wondering about a language barrier, don’t worry! A translator will be on-hand throughout the day to ensure easy communication between you and your child. However, the hugs, smiles and laughter you share with your Compassion child won’t need any translation!
Be prepared for a day of fun, laughter and — likely — a few happy tears.
Experiencing the culture
No matter which country you choose, experiencing the culture is bound to be a unique opportunity. We always strive to give you an experience that integrates what Compassion does in-country during your stay, while also letting you experience the culture found within the city and rural areas.
If you are in-country on a Sunday, we work to include an authentic worship experience at a local church. We also want to give you a chance to see what life is like in the cities, often going to a market so that you can bring home special items for loved ones. Meeting people within other cultures is always an enlightening experience, and you will get a chance to have fellowship and fun with many people.
In addition to the general culture of the area, you may also have the opportunity to travel to a landmark location — whether that may be a trip to the Taj Mahal or viewing wild animals at the Maasai Mara Game Park — each trip offers a special opportunity to fully engage with the culture.
There is nothing quite as exciting as tasting new tastes (foods)! During your visits at local student centres, you will have homemade typical foods from the area. These meals are very similar to the meals that the children who attend the student centres receive. This will give you a great chance to feel, experience and taste what your child experiences at our student centre.
On a trip, you will get to experience different restaurants as well as receive meals at the hotel. All of the food that is provided during our trips is clean and safe. At other times, the group may be offered a meal from a home visit or street vendor. Our trip leaders are very knowledgeable on what is and is not safe to consume internationally and will help guide you in making safe choices. Remember that your trip cost includes meals, drinks and tips!
Many travelers desire to travel with us to bless others. You will be amazed how easy it is to bless children and their families simply by being present and wanting to learn about their country, communities and offering your prayers.
While Exposure Trips are not “mission trips,” some trips may include a light service element, such as painting a classroom, serving the children a meal, or a group activity (such as vacation Bible school) for the children to enjoy. We hope we are each a blessing in a special way to the students and community, but it regularly turns out that we are actually the ones who are blessed the most!
International traveler safety
Compassion has a dynamic approach when it comes to the safety of our travelers. While there is always a risk with international travel, Compassion has the following practices regarding safety:
- Each trip attendee is registered with the Canadian Embassy and are covered by our basic medical and evacuation insurance plan.
Child protection policy
Concern for the well-being of children is the cornerstone of our ministry. It is important to read our full Trips and Visits Child Protection Policy if you are considering traveling with us, as it guides interactions between sponsors and children occurring in-country. This policy is intended to protect the children in our program from abuse, as well as our visitors from any wrongful allegations.
*Please note that we require a background check for everyone of legal age in your province (18 or 19) and older who interacts with any beneficiary of our program.