IFRE Volunteers Abroad

Program Reviews

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Arthur
5/5
Yes, I recommend this program

Photojournalism in Nepal

This was my first time in Nepal, so I didn’t really know what to expect, but as soon as I arrived I felt welcomed and made myself at home very easily and quickly.
The food prepared for us was always amazing, and the location of the guest house in Kathmandu was a short walk from the town centre.
I was on the photojournalism course, which was an amazing experience in itself. The first week was a bit tough to get in the working rhythm. I also thought I would be having photography classes, as the program presented it in such a way - but ended up having a few talks with the teacher to understand what my work was and that was sufficient for me to get on my way.
Overall it was an amazing experience where I learnt a lot and met amazing people. 100% would reccomend.

If you did this all over again, what's one thing you would change?
I would go trekking and explore the remote areas of Nepal more
Pros
  • Close to city center
  • Lovely food
  • Beautiful views
Cons
  • Outside of the city center
  • Not many people
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Sarvesh
5/5
Yes, I recommend this program

Medical Shadowing

I volunteered at Sahid Memorial Hospital, a small community based hospital in Kathmandu,Nepal. During my volunteering stint, I was attached to the Emergency Department (ED). In the ED, they had a different medical officer in charge every day, which allowed me to interact with and learn from multiple doctors. Despite being a small hospital, there was a significant number of walk-in patients in the ED with diverse medical needs. During the afternoons, I was given the opportunity to explore different departments in the Hospital. My personal favourite was the Surgery department. The highlight of the program was observing live surgeries.

Registering for the program was easy. The program cost is fairy affordable as well.
Anjana, my program coordinator was friendly, accommodating and supportive throughout my stay in Nepal.

I would strongly recommend pre-med students to apply for this program to witness firsthand the diverse medical practices and gain invaluable clinical experience.

Pros
  • The staff at IFRE are friendly and helpful
  • The hospital had various departments for exploring niche opportunities
  • I had an opportunity to interact with different medical officer on a daily basis
Cons
  • The accommodation (Hostel) wasn't comfortable for my stay.
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Michael
5/5
Yes, I recommend this program

Sahid Memorial Hospital Experience

I volunteered in Sahid Memorial Hospital in the heart of Kathmandu in April 2024. I was assigned to the ER. I also made rounds in the General Ward with two of the ER young doctors. I participated in the assessments and treatment plans for some of the patients. The nursing and medical staff I interacted with were friendly. I felt at home after the first day. It’s a wonderful experience for me. I’d definitely seize another opportunity to go back. I spent some time touring the city. I also took a guided hiking tour of Shivapuri Peak which was exhausting but fun.

What was your funniest moment?
Riding on a commercial scooter.
Pros
  • Eye opener
  • Fulfilling
  • Cost-effective
Cons
  • Travel time
  • Long layover
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Chloe
5/5
Yes, I recommend this program

Best experience

I was able to volunteer at a camp for the kids in Antigua, Guatemala and this experience was life changing. I was able to make such meaningful relationships with the kids and improving my Spanish was a bonus!! The host family I was with was also so so amazing and I had no problems with them at all. They were the sweetest people and I cannot wait to go back and stay with them!! Even outside of the program, I was able to explore the beautiful city of Antigua and it was so fun being able to immerse myself in the culture there. I highly recommend this program !!

What is your advice to future travelers on this program?
Definitely soak in every moment because everything goes by so fast! I never wanted the week to end.
Pros
  • relationships
  • adventure
  • new opportunities
Cons
  • bug bites
  • some food didn’t match well with me
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Caleb
4/5
Yes, I recommend this program

Kathmandu Volunteer Work

Had an absolute blast. So much to see in Nepal and so many Nepali youth to help and just have fun with. Nepali locals are friendly and accommodating, and working with the IFRE allowed for a smooth, welcome transition into Nepal. Food and activities are great and cheap. There's a ton to experience in Nepal, especially if you want to take a hiking trip outside of Kathmandu. Try to see and enjoy as much as possible, especially helping with loads of diverse volunteer work. It can be a very fulfilling trip to take, as well just a lot of fun.

What was the most nerve-racking moment and how did you overcome it?
Arriving to the Kathmandu airport, especially if you don't have a ton of experience with international travel (specifically entering third world countries), can be pretty surprising and overwhelming. Walking outside into the frenzy of taxis and noise can be nerve-racking. Just keep moving and trust in the volunteer organization that your working with. They'll take care of you.
Pros
  • Diverse volunteer work to participate in.
  • Very cheap once your in Nepal
  • Very kind people all around
Cons
  • It's going to feel like your being too spontaneous with the information your given beforehand. You'll be fine, you kinda just gotta go for it.
  • You might get a little sick of eating very similar foods the whole time.
  • Air pollution/quality is not great.
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Wendy
5/5
Yes, I recommend this program

Orphanage

Volunteering at the orphanage was more than just a simple act of giving back; it was a deeply enriching and transformative experience that left an indelible mark on my heart. From the moment I stepped through the doors of the orphanage, I was greeted with smiles that radiated warmth and genuine affection. The children, despite facing challenges and hardships that no child should ever have to endure, possessed an incredible resilience that was both humbling and awe-inspiring.
One of the most striking aspects of the experience was witnessing the boundless energy and zest for life that the children exhibited on a daily basis. Despite the uncertainty of their circumstances, they approached each day with an infectious enthusiasm that was impossible to resist. Whether they were playing games engaging in creative activities, or simply learning, their joy was palpable and served as a powerful reminder of the resilience of the human spirit.

What was your funniest moment?
Learning handball from the boys at the orphanage was definitely a highlight! Despite my best efforts, my goal-scoring skills left much to be desired. Their patience and laughter made the experience incredibly enjoyable, showing that sometimes the best moments are the ones filled with joy and shared laughter, even if the goals weren't exactly plentiful.
Pros
  • Opportunity to make a difference
  • Food was amazing
  • Flexibility to contribute in many ways
Cons
  • Language gap was hard sometimes
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Shao Wei
4/5
Yes, I recommend this program

Photojournalism volunteering

The project itself was a wonderful stage for me. Kathmandu is full of festivals, events and beautiful moments. The coordinator will help you figure out your topic and offer you information around it and any related things that are happening in the city. You can build your portfolio with them and experience life as a photojournalist. The program does require you to be highly proactive. After all, it's a stage, you are the performer. I'm glad and happy that I joined the program and met wonderful people. The hostel feels like a second home to me.

What was your funniest moment?
Got misunderstood to be nepalese, and was somehow ended up walking in the middle of rally.
Pros
  • Profile building
  • Experience photojournalism
  • Experience local culture
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Angela
5/5
Yes, I recommend this program

Volunteering (and fun!) in Ayutthaya

This was my first time doing an overseas volunteering program and it was absolutely amazing! The placement in the school was quite nice and the students really enjoyed your company there. Although they clearly were not used to English, they put effort and they were very eager to show their culture. The hostel accommodation was very safe, clean, and the family was superbly fun! I really miss the hotpots and the delicious curry! Ayutthaya is a gorgeous city and I have plenty of time to explore it (to the point of getting a sunburn from trying to visit all the places!). I was checking the photos of took there the other day and there is none where I'm not smiling. It was my first time in Thailand and I think I never learned so much about a foreign culture as I did this time. I definitely recommend it!

What was the most surprising thing you saw or did?
I went on a bicycle trip around the city for basically a full day. I'm not an expert in riding it and I was quite scared riding it in roads with a lot of cars and such. However, I never discovered so much about a place as I did that time. I did earn a painful sunburn but it was worth it!
Pros
  • Good accommodation in a safe and convenient location.
  • The school children and school staff were very accommodating.
  • Local people are very nice to foreigners.
Cons
  • Sometimes it can be hard to buy something since most people don't understand English.
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Jess
5/5
Yes, I recommend this program

Kathmandu 2024

The language and culture course in Kathmandu was fantastic. It gave me an opportunity learn about Nepali culture as well the basics of the language. It afforded me the opportunity to be a conscientious traveler, not just a tourist. The staff were very welcoming and helpful. I would recommend this program for anyone staying in Nepal for an extended period. The staff at the home stay provided breakfast, lunch, and dinner every day and they made a concerted effort to serve appealing food for foreign visitors.

What was your funniest moment?
Nepali people eat rice and dhal with their hands, they thought that I was strange when I was eating with utensils.
Pros
  • Friendly and helpful staff
  • Great initiation to Nepal
  • Good opportunity to learn a foreign language
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Tyler
5/5
Yes, I recommend this program

HORAC Nepal

This has been a great experience. I was pick-up from the airport and taken to the hostel and had a day to rest! I was also feed at the hostel and was told about Nepal and its custom and about the orphanage I was going to. The orphanage has been great the kids are the best part! The staff is so nice and helpful always answering my questions and helping me. The orphanage and apartments are safe too. The staff is so helpful as well letting you know things to see and places to avoid to be safe. Being with the kids is the highlight of the trip and an experience I will never forget!

If you did this all over again, what's one thing you would change?
I would write down everyday it’s a unique experience and the best way to always remember it is to write about your days here at the orphanage.
Pros
  • The children!!
  • The staff!
  • Good price!!