IFRE Volunteers Abroad

Why choose IFRE Volunteers Abroad?

IFRE Volunteers, a leading U.S. volunteer abroad organization, specializes in ongoing, year-round projects available from 1 week to 12 weeks in 20 countries throughout Asia, Africa and Latin America. Wherever you choose to go, your IFRE volunteer experience will start with a one-week language and cultural immersion program providing you with an in-depth understanding of the local culture, basic language skills, regional issues and local customs. IFRE, a 501(C) 3 non-profit organization, is committed to providing you with a meaningful volunteer abroad experience that will change your life.



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Yes, I recommend this program

A Great Experience!

Overall, our experience in Costa Rica was incredible. My friend Erika and I went together seeking to volunteer as Physical Therapists. We ended up having a wonderful host family and placement, with plenty of free time to explore Costa Rica on the side as well. The program directors ensured we had everything we needed to feel safe and comfortable throughout. I would say our only complaint was not receiving many details about our home stay and placement until we got in the country. We weren't given any specifics and were not guaranteed to be doing Physical Therapy before we actually stepped foot into the country, and this originally made us uneasy. The coordinators we spoke with kept repeating the same things regarding how they can't tell us more due to privacy reasons, and all responses to our questions felt vague. It felt a little sketchy and like we could be scammed, but we weren't at all and everything ended up being amazing once we got there. We felt safe within the country too as we always stayed together and followed basic safety precautions like not carrying valuables, walking alone or at night, taking Ubers instead of Taxis, etc. Despite our initial hesitations throughout the sign up process, we ended up loving every second of the week long trip!

What is your advice to future travelers on this program?
Be open-minded and ready for an adventure!
  • Convenient and affordable transportation within country
  • Lots to explore in Costa Rica
  • Good, clear communication when in the country regarding the program
  • Lack of specific details before arrival in country (housing, program placement)
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Yes, I recommend this program

Medical exposure in Sri Lanka

Overall my experience in this program was a good one. With the help of this program I feel like I have grown so much. Sri Lanka is a beautiful country with some of the most amazing people I have ever met.

My partner and I stayed with Michael and his family, which were all just incredible. Michael was an amazing host, he guided us throughout the entire two weeks of our program and even after we left to travel around the country, he was always ready to help through Whatsapp. Michael organised our daily transport to and from the hospital which was great. He also organised trips for us which were also so much fun. They prepared food for us every day which was delicious. He and his family are very caring and always with a smile on their face. They thought us so much about their culture. We will definitely stay in touch with them.

The actual medical exposure was also eye-opening. We could see how the medical team makes use of little resources to provide the best health care that they can. Nonetheless, my partner and I were a bit disappointed in the fact that the program was not a voluntary type but a more of a medical elective. We did not participate in any medical procedures, something which we both thought we will do.

  • Amazing country and people
  • Not a medical voluntary experience, more of a placement/elective
  • language barrier between us and the patients
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Yes, I recommend this program

Sri Lanka Medical Elective

Sri Lanka Medical experience was an eye opening experience I was able to observe and see medical pathologies and conditions that we do not really get in the western world. During my 2 weeks placement at the hospital I was able to appreciate the art of clinical diagnosis via examination, something that again in the western world is being lost due to the increase accessibility to radiological and laboratory investigations.

The host family that we were living with in Sri Lanka have been amazing, they made us (my partner and I) feel at home. Michael (Host), is an amazing guy, he used to help us and guide us through everything we wanted to do in Sri Lanka both throughout those 2 week while doing our medical placement and even after since we decided to travel around Sri Lanka after finishing the placement.

The only disappointment that both my partner and myself have expressed is that this is not a volunteering project but instead this is a medical elective, but none the less we still made the most out of it and we were still able to obtain some medical knowledge both from the doctors themselves and even from the other medical students.

  • Very nice people and a vibrant smile
  • Language barrier, patients don't speak English so I had to really on other medical student to translate for me.
  • Some doctors did not speak in English during their ward round so at time I felt completely lost
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Yes, I recommend this program

Cusco Hands-on Volunteer

My first volunteer experience in Cusco. Poor advice on local accommodation. Local transportation not provided. Feeding on your own. Language barrier a major factor. Limited site orientation. Airport pickup on arrival. Arranged a private accommodation. Feeding and accommodation cost should be separated from the fee. Provision of interpreter should be
explored. Overall, it’s a unique and interesting experience. Regular training should be offered to country coordinator and staff. Improving the presence of IFRE in a country should be made a priority.

  • Opportunity to share knowledge.
  • Affordable
  • Nice volunteer site
  • Language
  • Poor access. Elevator not working.
  • Minimum supplies.
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Yes, I recommend this program

Kathmandu RCDP International Photojournalism

My time in Kathmandu within the photojournalism volunteer placement was a fulfilling experience. My instructor, Ram, had detailed knowledge of photography and the city’s culture. All coordinators were accommodating and helpful making for a great support group. I highly recommend for those looking to embark on international experience as Nepal is an exciting and welcoming country for tourists. There are other volunteer options available which I’m sure are just as impactful, however, I’m partial to the photojournalism placement as it allows for travel access to city’s main attractions and newly equipped photography skills for which to store lasting memories!

  • New skills and experience
  • Accommodations and 3 meals/day
  • Building relationships and learning of culture
  • Accommodations are very basic


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Alumni Interviews

These are in-depth Q&A sessions with verified alumni.

Why did you choose this program?

I spent one month in Bali in 2018 and I fell in love with the exotic island of Gods and its wonderful people, hence I made a promise to myself and decided to go back a year after to give some of the kindness and helpfulness back to their community.

I have always been interested in teaching; however, I have never done it in a classroom before. Therefore, for me, the combination of traveling and volunteering with IFRE as an English teacher seemed to be a perfect opportunity.

What did your program provider (or university) assist you with, and what did you have to organize on your own?

During the process of my online application, everything went smoothly; I was given all the help and support that I needed.

The in-country coordinator Komang was more than just a support for us: he took us to a traditional Balinese wedding, showed us the most beautiful authentic parts of Bali and was there whenever we needed him. He was also really flexible and helpful when we wanted to change our accommodation or had any other questions.

What is one piece of advice you'd give to someone going on your program?

My advice to other volunteers is to be really open-minded and take every opportunity you have to get involved in an authentic cultural experience. Nothing compares to the feeling of getting to know multiple different cultures, religions, people and their stories. It also truly is a wonderful thing to see how huge an impact you can make just by teaching English in a primary school.

What does an average day/week look like as a participant of this program?

We were teaching from Monday to Friday, three classes per day in a primary school in Bali. The entire school had one English teacher, Miss Surya, and we were assisting her from 9.30 until 12.30. The students (age 6-12) were really respectful, energetic and lovable, and all the teachers we met were very helpful and amazing.

We had breakfast and lunch cooked by a wonderful Balinese lady and had our meals nearby the school which was approximately 30 minutes from our accommodation and organized by the in-country coordinator, Komang. The program does have accommodation 5 minutes' walk from the school; however, I and my friend decided to stay somewhere else as that place suited us and our needs better.

Going into your experience abroad, what was your biggest fear, and how did you overcome it? How did your views on the issue change?

My biggest fear was being alone in a far-away foreign country. Luckily, one of my friends joined me on this journey and that was a great help. However, the organization and their in-country coordinator in Bali do give you all the support and help that you need. Though, if you are planning to volunteer on your own, and you do not like being alone, this might not be the best option for you.

As IFRE is a smaller organization, they spread out the volunteers all over the island, hence do not really expect to meet with other volunteers.

What did you like the most during your stay?

The first five years are crucial for children’s cognitive development. During these early years and even after, children have the ability to pick up, process and understand languages much quicker.

That’s why I’m more than thankful I could be part of these wonderful, energetic and lovable Balinese children’s journey of learning English as a second language.