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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

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!

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.

Joseph
10/10
Yes, I recommend this program

My time volunteering in Bali was split between volunteering at a sea turtle conservation center and teaching English in a small village in east Bali. Volunteering and living in Bali is completely different from going on holiday in Bali. The Bali you see on social media filled with white sand beaches, vegan food, smiling white people, and luxury resorts is actually not the Bali that locals live in obviously. There's so much depth to the culture here and until you fully embrace it, you will not learn to appreciate all this amazing island has to offer. I love working with animals and working with the sea turtles at the conservation center was out of this world. We even got to see a mother turtle laying her eggs in the middle of the night several times and it was so incredible to see "nature" in action. Teaching in Karangasem changed everything I thought I knew about Bali. The students were lovely and loved having a foreigner in their classroom. I enjoyed it very much. I have taught English many times and in many different countries but I have to say teaching here in Bali was an experience of a lifetime - the teachers were incredible welcoming and gracious towards me and constantly invited me to see the village with them. My direct host made the experience happen smoothly and was there whenever I had any question - big or small. Would recommend this program to a well seasoned traveler and someone really able to get out of their comfort zone.

What was the most surprising thing you saw or did?
I attended many family ceremonies in Bali with my host family. I attended several Balinese weddings, a funeral "celebration of life", and others. Every moment of these events was fascinating and shows that we should preserve this unique culture.
Response from IFRE Volunteers Abroad

Thank you for you feedback.

We are happy to know that you enjoyed your experiences in our volunteer programs.

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

Joseph
10/10
Yes, I recommend this program

I spent two weeks volunteering in the elephant village. It was extremely rewarding a lots of fun. Be prepared for physical labor and to be fully immersed in the Thai village life and culture. The local staff was great, the food we ate everyday was amazing and I just loved living so close to the elephants. Few comments: although I volunteered for 2 weeks, you were only allowed to stay in the elephant village Monday to Thursday and stayed in a volunteer house for the weekends (some people traveled on the weekends but I would have preferred to stay with the elephants), the overall crowd of the others there was very very young (teenagers to young 20s) and although I enjoyed the company of the other more mature volunteers I was not expecting such a young group. Overall, a really life changing experience - I will cherish those two weeks with the elephants for the rest of my life. Such a beautiful memory. Thailand is just lovely - I didn't meet a single person I did not like in Thailand.

What would you improve about this program?
IFRE / GoOverseas partners with other travel organizations for their Thailand programs. The first few days in Bangkok caused lots of confusion as to "which program you were doing" and there was way too many people in the orientation dinner / felt extremely unorganized. Once we got to the elephant village and into our smaller group, I enjoyed it very much.
Response from IFRE Volunteers Abroad

Thank you for your feedback.

Joseph
10/10
Yes, I recommend this program

I chose to work on a community development program 1x1 with the main program manager in the volunteer office. My project was to assist in a school building project in a small and poor village in Cambodia. My responsibilities were to re-write and improve the funding proposal (12 pages+), write the newsletter (5 pages+) to the current supporters who have already donated to the project, edit a marketing video that was previously recorded, and start the GoFundMe page for the project. I was only volunteering here 2 weeks and I definitely feel like I had a huge impact. During my time in Phnom Penh, I also visited the village where the school would be built. Although I left Cambodia after those 2 weeks, I have been in weekly contact with the program manager to help finish the project and we are nearly done!

What is your advice to future travelers on this program?
Be open. Cambodia is an extremely different culture from the US / England / the western world. The people are absolutely lovely but live a different life to us "as we know it." You will enjoy the project more if you do not have expectations as to what you will gain or add on your resume.
Response from IFRE Volunteers Abroad

Thank you for your feedback.

Programs

Displaying 19 - 23 of 23

Alumni Interviews

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

Reka Nagy

Reka works as a receptionist in England, and she is a freshly graduated yoga teacher. She finished university in 2014, Hungary, where she studied English language and culture, translation and linguistics and after that, she moved to England.

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.