IFRE Volunteers Abroad

Program Reviews

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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.

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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.

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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.

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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!

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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.

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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,

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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.

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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.

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Tiffany
8/10
Yes, I recommend this program

Generally, it was an amazing experience for our high school students. They had unforgettable experience doing volunteering in Yunguilla and teaching the primary school students Chinese words.
My students are asking for more hands-on work in the forest which can give them more sense of achievement.
In addition, if a specific daily schedule can be provided before the program getting started, it would be very helpful and also if the volunteers can know how the money being used to help develop this area, it would be great so that we know what should we do for the next time.

What would you improve about this program?
to change the content of the programs from doing garden work to forest work
Response from IFRE Volunteers Abroad

Dear Tiffany & Group,

Thank you for leaving us a feedback. We will definitely work on your suggestions. We wish you all the best for your future endeavours.

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Jose Carlos
10/10
Yes, I recommend this program

I am a 17 year-old Guatemalan teenager, who had a unique and extraordinary experience in Costa Rica. The kiddos were amazing, and very eager to learn. The host family was very attentive and friendly.
After finishing my classes, I had to opportunity to visit some museums and shopping malls. During the weekend I booked some tours through Tropical Tours (awarded by TripAdvisor), and have a wonderful time with the wildlife of Costa Rica.
I plan to retour to Costa Rica in a near future. Highly recommended.

Response from IFRE Volunteers Abroad

Dear Jose,

Thank you for taking out the time to write us a feedback. We really appreciate your work with the children and are happy that you enjoyed your experiences in Costa Rica.

We wish you all the best for your future endeavours and hope we can see you in the future again!