There is no better way to witness the incredible work Operation Smile does to change the lives of children living with facial deformities than joining us for one of our medical missions. Selected high school students and interested student sponsors accompany our surgical teams to clinics and facilities all over the world where these life-changing surgeries are taking place. Check out the information below for more details:

Operation Smile Student Programs continues to keep an eye on the developing situation of COVID-19. Our priority the safety and security of our students.

Due to travel restrictions implemented because of COVID-19, Operation Smile Student Programs has put a hold on the Mission Training Workshop. However, we remain hopeful to get out students trained and back out in the field soon.


The primary role of a student team member is to educate and prepare the trip’s local populations on basic healthcare that will improve their quality of life.

To prepare students for this vital role, we invite them to apply for Mission Training Workshop. This is hosted twice a year in the United States: once in January at Operation Smile Global Headquarters in Virginia Beach, and once three days prior to our International Student Leadership Conference in July. These students are tasked with being health care educators; during mission training, professionals train them in burn care, oral rehydration therapy, dental hygiene, hand-washing, nutrition, and hands-only CPR. This workshop gives attendees the confidence to teach this important information with patients, their families and others. Students who are accepted into Mission Training Workshop MUST be able to attend a medical mission prior to their high school graduation date.


  • A rising high school sophomore, junior, or senior (at least 16 years of age)
  • An active member of an Operation Smile Student Club or founding member of an Operation Smile Club
  • Involved with Operation Smile for at least one year
  • Indicate dedicated participation and exceptional leadership
  • Attended a previous International Student Leadership Conference (ISLC)
  • Students MUST meet all requirements in order to apply


On each mission, students are accompanied by an adult student sponsor. Adults are invited to apply for Mission Training Workshop. Adults applying must accept the responsibilities that accompany that role. During a medical mission, the student sponsor has many obligations, primarily:

  • Ensure the safety and security of the high school student team
  • The students are trained to teach the fundamentals of basic health care, informing local populations of skills that will improve quality of life; ensure student team teaches these health care modules and tally and report the number of presentations
  • Encourage the development and growth of the high school student team


  • An adult older than 26
  • Able to demonstrate previous involvement in Operation Smile
  • Involved for at least one year
  • An adult participant at a previous International Student Leadership Conference (ISLC)
  • Comfortable chaperoning two high school students in a foreign country
  • Sponsors MUST meet all requirements in order to apply

If accepted to Mission Training Workshop, each participant will have a fee of $325 USD to cover program costs. The fee to attend a mission is $1,000 USD and this covers airfare, accommodations and some meals. Participants will have to pay for their visa (Operation Smile will facilitate the process), required or updated vaccines to enter the country, some meals and their own incidentals.