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IFRE Volunteers Abroad

About

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.

Founded
2006
Headquarters

3131 McKinney Avenue Suite # 600
Dallas, TX 75204
United States

Reviews

Default avatar
Mary
10/10
Yes, I recommend this program

I spent two weeks teaching English at a school approximately 50 minutes outside of Xela. The entire experience was wonderful. The school staff was great and welcoming. I was glad that I had a bit of Spanish under my belt because it made working with the students easier. The principal/director of the school was also very helpful, making sure that I had the classroom schedule for each day.

The Guatemalan people that I had a chance to talk to were wonderful. I was surprised how my Spanish listening skills improved.

The family I stayed with were very kind and inclusive. Evelyn prepared some traditional Guatemala meals that were delicious. The pepian was yummy! Although accommodations were a little tight at their house, their generosity more than made up for it. I am considering returning next year.

What is your advice to future travelers on this program?
Jump in and enjoy the time! You'll be surprised at how much fun you will have--and how much a difference it will make in your life.
Response from IFRE Volunteers Abroad

Dear Mary,

Thank you for leaving us a feedback and for the wonderful photos. We are happy that you enjoyed your Guatemalan experience. We wish you all the best for future endeavours and hopefully, we can serve you again in the future someday.

Wish you and your family a safe stay during these difficult times due to Covid-19.

Default avatar
Mathilda
10/10
Yes, I recommend this program

I am thoroughly enjoying my experience in Peru. My language has improved enormously thanks to my classes, Roger, and my host family who have all helped me so much. I have the best support if I need it and I am completely welcomed into my family. The project is rewarding and I feel like I’m making a positive impact on the lives of the Mamas and the children I am working with. In order to properly experience the project, I recommend coming for more than 2 months in order to establish real relationships with those you are helping and working with.

If you did this all over again, what's one thing you would change?
I would stay longer! Peru is beautiful and there’s so much to see in and around Cusco, 3 months is not enough!
Response from IFRE Volunteers Abroad

Dear Mathilda,

Thank you so much for leaving us a feedback. We greatly appreciate that you have taken out the time and effort to make a contribution in our program. We hope that you will continue to have a rewarding experience and wish you all the best for your future endeavours.

Default avatar
Julianne
5/10
Yes, I recommend this program

It was wonderful meeting the children and helping to teach them. The other teachers and volunteers were very friendly and helpful. Antigua is a beautiful city. I felt very safe walking around by myself even at night. There are many day trips that you can take on the weekend. I would recommend learning Spanish before volunteering. Not everyone speaks English. You can take lessons while you are there for as little as $10 per hour. It is relatively inexpensive for everything in Guatemala. All of the streets are cobblestone so bring sneakers or shoes with thick soles. I would recommend asking many questions about the house where you will be staying. All the details about it.

What would you improve about this program?
I would let volunteers know that you have to walk outside to go to the bathroom and take a shower at the host family house.
Response from IFRE Volunteers Abroad

Dear Julianne,

Thank you taking out the time to write us a feedback. We greatly appreciate it. We also apologize for any inconveniences during the program. The $500 that you paid was for the entire program - registrations, project, accommodation, meals and airport pick-up. Sorry for any confusion caused.

We wish you all the best for your future endeavours and much success. Thank you so much for volunteering with us.

Default avatar
Lys
10/10
Yes, I recommend this program

Staying with Mama Alice and her daughter Ana was a very fun and safe way to volunteer and explore the Kilimanjaro region. We were able to do lots of extraordinary things such as attend a local wedding, explore hidden restaurants and organize massages at the house! It was great to have built in translators and guides who soon became close friends. Definitely organize a safari on arrival (one of my absolute highlights) and a trip out to Zanzibar if you can make it. In terms of the volunteering, KCMC is a very busy hospital and I enjoyed observing several departments. I gained insight into a very different medical system to my own, and to very different diseases and injuries. I would highly recommend volunteering in Tanzania to anyone visiting the country, as I believe it's a truly unique way of understanding a culture and meeting fascinating locals.

Response from IFRE Volunteers Abroad

Dear Lys,

We would like to thank you for volunteering with us and also talking out the time to write us a feedback.

We wish you all the best for your future endeavours and hope to see you again someday!

Default avatar
Diane
7/10
Yes, I recommend this program

This is an after-school program for needy children, aged 4-15. They come into the centre in the afternoon for help completing their homework, for additional tutoring in English and to have fun. Working with the kids was a great experience. But, the volunteer needs to be prepared for a very unstructured environment that requires that you put some thought into each day's activities. As I was focused on teaching English, I needed to think about the various abilities of the children and how to make the lessons interesting for them. Within any age group there are kids who are more advanced and more motivated than others to learn English. Even so, all in all I loved the experience of working with these children.

What would you improve about this program?
The program could benefit from a little more structure. The volunteer really needs to be organized and self-motivated to engage in activities with the kids. Having said that, many of the children are very bright and fun to work with. The husband and wife managers of the program are wonderful and trying to do their best for some very disadvantaged kids, always wi limited resources.
Response from IFRE Volunteers Abroad

Dear Diane,

Thank you for participating in our volunteer program and for leaving us a review. We are happy to know that you enjoyed your experiences with the children. We will definitely take up your suggestions and improve on the program. Thank you again.

Wish you all the best for your future endeavours.

Programs

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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.