IFRE Volunteers Abroad

Program Reviews

Jennifer
7/10
Yes, I recommend this program

The programme was inspiring and eventful. Our host, Michael was supportive and very helpful. The hospital segment was useful in certain aspects. I was posted to surgery and while it was interesting to watch the surgeons, there was a language barrier and the surgeons are focused on their patients, making our learning harder. This opened my eyes to the different healthcare system in Sri Lanka and the limited resources that the public hospitals have. It was rather hard to communicate with the Sri Lankan’s as there was a language barrier. It was also interesting to see the contrast between the state of the hospital in Galle and the hospitals we have back in Sydney.

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What would you improve about this program?
The hospital segment could be better planned out. Some of the doctors were too busy with their patients that some of us felt that we’ve missed a learning experience. The program’s length of 2 weeks is a little bit too long as hospital sessions end at 12 and community outreach programs could be done after 12, if possible.
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Fathima Rismah
8/10
Yes, I recommend this program

My week at the hospital has been very wholesome. I got a great insight on the medical systems in Sri Lanka. I listened to at least 7 heart murmurs in 5 days, that’s more than I’ve ever listened to in two years of medical school. Most of what I got through hospital was self directed. The doctors can be very busy but, are quite willing to teach. However, whether you ask the doctors to teach you and seem interested in it is only up to you. Micheal was a great host. He was very friendly and approachable, and his family made me feel like I was at home. The facilities met the standards band I really appreciate their hospitality! The driving was quite fast and felt a bit dangerous, however looks like most driving in Sri Lanka is quite fast. I was afraid of mosquitos but there were insecticides being sprayed. Looks like there was a solution for every problem. Overall I really enjoyed this trip so far!

What would you improve about this program?
Educationally, it was very productive. Perhaps room for improvement lies in the planning of activities for the rest of the day.
Natalie
7/10
Yes, I recommend this program

Michael and Bernie were lovely hosts, opening their homes with great food and hospitality. They really went above and beyond to make sure our stay was comfortable and safe such as organising Tuk tuks. However, I would’ve liked to know where the money from this trip was going towards as 1200 AUD in Sri Lanka is a surmountable amount. Moreover community activities needed to be better organised as we were left not knowing what or daily activities were.

Michael and Bernie were lovely hosts, opening their homes with great food and hospitality. They really went above and beyond to make sure our stay was comfortable and safe such as organising Tuk tuks. However, I would’ve liked to know where the money from this trip was going towards as 1200 AUD in Sri Lanka is a surmountable amount. Moreover community activities needed to be better organised as we were left not knowing what or daily activities were.

What would you improve about this program?
More organisation is needed. There were times in community volunteering where activities were not organised and we were left for 1-1.5 hrs with nothing planned. Each day had no concrete plan and it would’ve been nice to have an outline of eXactly what we were doing to maximise giving back to the community
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Alex
7/10
Yes, I recommend this program

I really enjoyed this trip. It was very safe and entertaining while being able to help the community. Language barriers and the locals heavily ripping off the tourists were a problem but other than that, i throughpy enjoyed the trip and would definitely recommend this trip to other people.

We're excited to hear more! For example: share why your experience was unique. What would future participants want to know? How did this impact your life post-program? Tell us about any useful tips, your favorite memory, etc.

We're excited to hear more! For example: share why your experience was unique. What would future participants want to know? How did this impact your life post-program? Tell us about any useful tips, your favorite memory, etc.

Thanks.

Tiyasha
10/10
Yes, I recommend this program

MOA in conjunction with go overseas did an amazing job in organising this programme, which not only benefited me academically but also socially. It taught me the different ways of life, made me meet such wonderful people like Michael and his family! It has been the most wholesome experience of my life as of yet and I’m loving it! Would definitely recommend it to all the people out there! As of now, I am very happy with the content of the program and am eagerly waiting for the coming one week ( to serve the community ). The home we are staying in is very nice in terms of good care and support! The people are wonderful and they’ve been extremely caring! If I were to do this again I’d definitely come and stay with them since it’s cheaper and better. In terms of the content of the program, it’s well organised and well put as well!

What would you improve about this program?
Nothing is crossing my mind as of now since I seem to be pretty happy and content with the quality of everything!
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mitra
9/10
Yes, I recommend this program

I have been volunteering for an health program in a hospital in Kathmandu for 3 weeks by now. I am an authorized docter who has been working as a doctor in 2 years after my internship. It was very interesting to observe how they worked in the hospital and I felt I did learn about some rare diseases that I had only read about in the books before. The staff of the hospital was very nice and friendly and if showed enough interest they would always answer me. I have to be honest that I didn't really felt like I was a resource for the hospital, they had enough staff and didn't really need an extra person around to help them. They did everything on their own. I did some nursing assignment in order to keep my self bussy. But after second week I felt like I didn't have so much to do there, I think its because once your are used to work as a doctor its hard to just stay and watch for long time. That is my opinion about the medical program, its more suited for students then doctors in practice. Or in that case for shorter period for doctors. On the other hand, I am really interested in culture and people around. And that I got most of through this program. I loved living with an host family and having my coordinator so close and available all the time. They were very kind and friendly. It gave me a great opportunity to learn about the country, religions, the living and food culture in the very closest way. That is something I really appreciate. They helped me with what I wanted to and were very flexible and understanding, something that made me continue staying here after the second week even though I wasn't sure I was very much of health care resource in the hospital.

Prarthna
8/10
Yes, I recommend this program

I've really enjoyed my stay in Sri Lanka so far and am looking forward for the rest of the week. Micheal and his family have been an amazing hosts and have really taken care of us. The first week of community outreach experience has overall be good. One of the experiences I really enjoyed was learning from the doctor about a case that she had pre planned for us. This session at the orphanage was well organised and quite informative. Spending time at the rehab with the girls was very valuable as well. I found that planned sessions by the doctors really aided my learning. Activities such as going to the Yala National Park, Cinnamon island, Still fishing and Turtle hatchery were very enjoyable and gave me the opportunity to also explore Sri Lanka along with the educational experience.

What would you improve about this program?
I feel if in the community outreach setting if the teaching doctors planned the teaching sessions it would be more beneficial and aid learning.
Rachel
8/10
Yes, I recommend this program

The outreaches were special in that we were able to visit a variety of places including a school, orphanage, and rehabilitation centre. This gave us an opportunity to meet many people from different demographics. My favourite memory is definitely of playing with the children at the orphanage. They’re extremely energetic and it was certainly tiring but their joy is contagious and their smiles touch everyone’s hearts. This experience gave me a better idea of the healthcare setting in rural Sri Lanka and made me more aware of how culture and environment significantly impact health. I was also able to witness the groundwork that is being done in schools, orphanages, and correction centres around Galle and understand how these facilities are benefitting people of many ages and backgrounds. Some aspects were challenging - it was difficult to navigate the language barriers, and many of the people’s circumstances affected me emotionally as well. Still, it is so worthwhile to just be there with people and love on them.

What would you improve about this program?
In my opinion, the outreaches could be better planned. For example, instead of having just the doctor in charge lead everything, we (the volunteers) could plan some workshops or sessions beforehand so that we’re more prepared for the sessions. This would allow us to have a greater impact and be more productive with our time. With the resources that we have, it wouldn’t be too difficult just to plan a simple hand washing station or have some health-related diagrams to show the kids.
Suresh
9/10
Yes, I recommend this program

This week we had sessions at an orphanage, probation service and school. It was good that we had a doctor in each session to teach us medical aspects. Doctors all seem very knowledgeable, friendly and willing to teach us medical students of varying experience levels. Staff at each place were also very friendly and helpful. Due to time constraints and language barrier it felt like we did not have as much of a social impact with the children as we initially thought possible. Outside the placement times our host was very supportive and helpful with any of our requests. Also very friendly and easy to get along with. Made us feel very comfortable in the home. It was good that we were taken to see local attractions. Facilities in the home are reasonable. Meals provided were nice

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David
10/10
Yes, I recommend this program

During this summer break I decided to give something back to the community by volunteering to Teach English in South Africa. I was very much optimistic about my decision from the start.

Pre-Departure process was handled very professionally by IFRE. I was greeted at the airport and taken to a Hostel by the country coordinator. She was very Professional. She frankly mentioned all the difficulties I might face before the start of my project. She also provided me solutions to avoid such difficulties. The school was outside the boundaries of Cape Town. I used the Uber Cab Service to get to the project. I liked this because I also got a chance to analyze and witness the area from the hostel to the school. I taught grade seven students. They all were very nice and comforting to me. My responsibility also included assisting with the local teachers. I found this very challenging in the beginning. As the days went by and as I started socializing everything felt great.

The country coordinator was always a phone call away. She would take care of any hurdles on my way.

What would you improve about this program?
Understanding the school system can be frustrating at first. Getting to know the local teachers and communicating with them is very important. This can be bit difficult especially during first few days. An orientation with the local teacher before the start of the project would solve this.