Institute for Field Research Expeditions - IFRE

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9.2 / 10 after 309 Reviews Based on overall, support & value average ratings

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I used IFRE to connect with Volunteer opportunities in Uganda. I was placed at A babies orphanage in the capital city of Kampala. I was fully satisfied with the placement and the flexibility of the program. I was also placed in a Ugandan home stay which was a nice way to connect with local people. My host family and local event coordinator did a great job at keeping me safe and comfortable. One should have realistic expectations with travel in Uganda though. Certain seasons running water may not be available (however perfectly fine alternatives are provided), electricity is regular but can be a little erratic, and internet is not always easy to find. I was very impressed with my program though, particularly how well I was looked after by my host family and event coordinator in Uganda.

Program:
Location:
Posted: March 10, 2016
Overall:
7
Support:
9
Value:
7
By: Justin L.
Age:
32

Going through IFRE was one of the best experiences of my life. I was able to volunteer in Xela, Guatemala at an orphanage for a month. This program was there for me whenever I needed help and quickly responded to all my questions. The program made the process of volunteering in another country as stress free as it can get. They helped me with all the little deatials, such as where to stay, and transportation. Not only was every day in the orphanage amazing but on the weekends the program allowed us to travel to other destinations throughout Guatemala. They provided information on what tours and places we should go. During my time in Guatemala I stayed with a host family that IFRE set up. My host mom was extremely nice and made me feel right at home. If you are looking for an amazing humbling experience, with beautiful people and places this is the program for you. I highly recommend.

Program:
Location:
Posted: February 3, 2016
Overall:
10
Support:
9
Value:
10
By: ablidy
Age:
19

I am Karen fro Costa Rica, currently studying in China, and I came to do the volunteering job in the Orphanage in Galle. I have had one of the best experiences in my life. I did some volunteering job back home , but get to see the kids and realize how much it means to them the visit of foreigners was amazing. The conditions at the orphanage are not great, but they are there for the kids. Get to see their smiles while plying with them and feeling a relieve after a cuddle or a kiss....I will just say that everyone should eventually be an orphanage and give themselves to these kids. Regarding my staying at the host family I can just say that I definitely felt like at home; I couldn't have asked for more, lovely home made food and nice talks with the members of the family and the other volunteers. Of course, in here as with most of the Sri Lanka's people, I felt pretty comfortable and received a lot of help in almost everything I needed. Thanks Sri Lanka, you got my heart.

Program:
Location:
Posted: February 1, 2016
Overall:
10
Support:
10
Value:
10
By: Kailun
Age:
29

I did a lot of research to decide which program to volunteer abroad with, and IFRE seemed like an organized program with opportunities in many different locations and with many different forms of volunteering. I chose to volunteer in a hospital in Cusco, Peru, and it was the most wonderful experience. All of the staff made me feel very welcome and did a great job of facilitating my stay and helping me plan excursions. They always made themselves available to me and took great care to make me feel safe and comfortable. I was placed in a home-stay with a wonderful family, who I am still in contact with. IFRE really made the effort to make my experience everything I had hoped.

Program:
Location:
Posted: January 28, 2016
Overall:
10
Support:
10
Value:
10
By: katieguty
Age:
20

My finance and I did two weeks of volunteering in Costa Rica, and the first week we volunteered at the Coffee Plantation in Atena and the second week we volunteered at the Child Protective Services in Puntarenas.

Coffee Plantation @ Telodo
For the first week, we stayed with a host family in Atena and we had an amazing time interacting with the family and learning the culture. The host family did everything they could to make us feel like a part of the family despite the fact that we can’t speak Spanish and they couldn’t speak English. Anyhow they went out of the way to introduce us to all their extended family and invited us to all the family gathering during the holiday. We felt like we were part of the family during our stay and we became family at the end and when we travel back to Costa Rica later on our own, we will definitely visit them. The owner of the coffee farm and his family were also amazing people, in fact, they were related to the host family. The two sons of the coffee farm owner can speak English so they were the ones who showed us how to work in the farm. We spent our day drying coffee beans, processing beans for roasting, and drinking coffee. Everyone at the farm was really nice and knowledgeable and would not hesitate to teach us the process of growing coffee, processing them and finally roasting them into beans. If I were to rate this program alone, the rating would have been perfect. We didn’t meet our coordinate during our first week since she lives in Puntarenas, but since we had an amazing host family, it wasn’t a problem at all.

Child Protective Services @ Puntarenas
For the second week, we stayed at group housing with the coordinator's family. The dynamic is different than our stay at Atena but it allows us to meet other volunteers. There were three other volunteers from different programs staying with us at the house. They were all great people and we enjoyed spending time together after work and doing tours together on the weekends. Our work at the child protective services was less productive than I expected, but it mainly due to the language barrier. No one at the center can speak a bit of English and we didn’t have any assigned task or roles so we spent most of our days playing with the children and helped during lunch. I expected more structure but it was more like it’s what you make it and the language barrier made it challenging. I did taught some Cantonese classes to the older children and they were interested to learn but they have short attention span. Maybe this program would have been more valuable for someone who can speak Spanish.

Coordinator
Our coordinator was good and she was also the one who taught the Spanish classes for us. She also picked us up to and from Puntarenas, and gave us rides to work whenever she can. She helped us book 4 tours during our stay and three of them were great and we enjoyed the tours, but one of them didn’t work out. For our first tour to Arenal and the Hot Spring, there seems to be some communication problem and the tour company didn’t know we booked the tour nor paid for the tour until they drove us there but wouldn’t let us do it so we ended up wasting a day. We were supposed to get a refund on the tour but we haven’t yet, so hopefully it will work out.

Program:
Location:
Posted: January 3, 2016
Overall:
8
Support:
7
Value:
7
By: sychuk
Age:
29

Comments

In reference to the review above - the coordinator was able to refund us on the tour after we left through paypal.

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