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Institute for Field Research Expeditions - IFRE

My name is Laetitia and I am half French half Sri Lankan, but I am at university in Newcastle in the UK. My stay here has been exceptional. I have experienced some things that I will never forget. I stayed with a host family, (Michael) who were beyond welcoming and friendly. Their food was amazing and the whole family was very close and had a great sense of humour! At first, I thought I would be the only one staying with this host family, but turns out there were several other volunteers from all over the world. I met some amazing people whom I shared unforgettable memories with. Regarding the orphanage, it was a lot of hard work but it was very rewarding to know that we were helping them out a lot. I grew very attached to certain kids and the whole experience really opened my eyes as to how lucky I am. I strongly recommend individuals, no matter what age, to try such an experience at least once in their life. Weekends were free to us and so I was able to travel to nearby places just for a little break along with the other people I had met. All in all, this is something that will stay in my heart and I would already like to come back to see how the kids have grown and changed throughout the year.

Program: Volunteer Abroad
Location: Sri Lanka
Posted: Jul 28, 2015
Overall:
10
Support:
10
Value:
10

Global Crossroad

I arrived at Kenyatta International airport in Nairobi Kenya several days before the visit of Obama. After I got my visa,one of my hosts Jackson picked me. Then he drove to the place where i will live for 3 weeks. On our way home, Jackson told me a lot about the Nairobi. He showed me where the downtown area and the tallest tower. The place where I live is located inside the slum Kibera.The environment is soso but worth to experience. In the afternoon,Leah(volunteer from Canada) and I went to the YAYA center and had our money exchanged and we got local Sim card with 3G network access too. This was basically what happened on the first day. On the next 4 following days, I worked at a Children Center inside the slum. It only costs around 10mins to walk there. When I went the the first day, the kids were a little bit shy. They were curious about me. Later, I was assigned by the Domitila(founder of center this children) to teach the class 2. When the kids first saw me, they were yelling Jackie Chan and Bruce Lee all the time because I am from Hong Kong, China. They really wanted to learn Kung Fu and, fortunately, I have learned Kung Fu when I was a kid. I do not want to let them down so i decided to teach them Kung Fu on the following two weeks. We truly had a good time and 8 of them will performance Kung Fu at the following school festival. Besides teaching Kung Fu, I graded their English assignments and helped the kitchen to serve breeakfast and lunch to the kids. I also helped the teacher Tarson to cut out the letters for the following school festival. In a word, this place is definitely worth coming and the coordinator Barnabas will take good care of you. Kenya welcomes you and the kids are waiting for you.

Program: Volunteer Abroad
Location: Africa
Posted: Jul 28, 2015
Overall:
9
Support:
9
Value:
9

TRACC Borneo

I stayed on Pompom Island for more than 4 month at the end of 2013 for an unbelievably amazing time! After completing my Bachelor of Science in Marine Biology I was looking for a conservation project in southeast Asia where I could learn how to restore coral reefs. I chose to stay with TRACC as a volunteer for 6 weeks but ended up staying another 3 months after that - because it was exactly what I had been looking for. During my stay I also completed my PADI Advanced and PADI Rescue Diver courses - all inclusive!

TRACC has two main goals on Pompom island: Enhancing the state of the surrounding coral reefs and securing the survival of the local sea turtle population. Our daily life on the island was structured accordingly: On a typical day, we would get into the water right after breakfast to collect broken coral fragments from surrounding reefs. We would then stabilise these, using a range of techniques, before securing them once again on damaged reefs on Pompom, enabling and accelerating natural recovery processes. In addition, we maintained various different coral nurseries which were used to allow collected coral fragments to grow before they were being used for reef restoration. At night, small teams would walk around the island along the beach, looking for freshly laid turtle eggs. When a new nest was found, we would carefully collect the eggs and transfer them to a turtle hatchery where they could then hatch in peace - my favorite part was releasing the little baby turtles after a couple of weeks!

Life on Pompom was simple and yet unbelievably fulfilling - every day was seized to the max! The island truly is a small paradise, exactly how one would imagine - warm, clear waters, white beaches, amazing underwater-life, unforgettably beautiful sunsets and unique dives, also on surrounding islands. Tents are provided for a good night's rest and food is prepared in a basic open-air kitchen. The communal area was our meeting place for breakfast, lunch and dinner and a bit later in the night, also for the occasional cold beer (or two). There was always a great group spirit and a generally relaxed atmosphere.

If you are looking for a really "different" experience, far away from the daily hustle and stressfulness of a "normal" life then you have to come to Pompom! If you can imagine to live in a tent for a couple of weeks and spend every day in the water or on the beach then you have to come to Pompom! If you want to learn how to conserve and enhance coral reefs with a sustainable approach then you have to come to Pompom!

My last stay was so fulfilling, educational and meaningful that I decided to go back to Pompom once again this year to do my PADI Divemaster training - I cannot wait for the day to finally arrive - I will see you there ;)

Program: Volunteer Abroad
Location: Malaysia
Posted: Jul 28, 2015
Overall:
10
Support:
10
Value:
10

Institute for Field Research Expeditions - IFRE

I had a very nice experience while volunteering in Uganda with IFRE. I spent 1 month at the golden heart junior school in Nabingo. Working with the kids was amazing and extremely fun. My host family, the teachers and workers were really nice and made me feel at home. The accommodation was good and i had no problem living there. Thanks to my country coordinator i was able to explore Uganda and it's culture. He made it really easy for me to travel all around the country.
It being my first time volunteering, i was a little anxious going there but the kids, the teachers, my country coordinator, my host family, everybody made my month unforgettable. I strongly recommend using IFRE. THey made my trip a life-changing experience.

Program: Volunteer Abroad
Location: Uganda
Posted: Jul 27, 2015
Overall:
8
Support:
8
Value:
10

Vina Volunteer Service

I have been in Mai Chau for 3 weeks teaching English. It was an amazing experience! I taught 1 to 3 hours per day in one of the local schools and 2h to adults in the evening. I slept in a homestay with the lovely Xuan, who took care of me as if I was her daughter and took me on bike and hiking tours to see the surroundings. Mai Chau is a quiet place, where you can really take your mind off the stress of a city life. There you really get in touch with the traditions and life style of the white Thai people, one of Vietnam’s ethnic minorities. People are very friendly and although you can rarely find someone who speaks English it is amazing how one can communicate without a language, if there is good will and a smile.

Teaching in the school was sometimes challenging as not even the teachers could speak English and the organization in the school was not very good, but I saw that as part of the experience, it would have been boring without one adventure or two. Although the students were doing 5th to 9th grade, their English level was very basic. Until they got used to me they had problems understanding even the most basic sentences. So I invested in vocabulary, using drawings and mimics, we played game and sang songs. In the end I was proud of how much they had learned in only 3 weeks.

About Vina Volunteer Service I have only good things to say. It is a very small organization orchestrated by Vietnamese people. I was a bit nervous about it, normally people look for very big and controlled organizations acting worldwide, but it worked really well. I got the feeling that Vietnamese people are very honest and caring. Everything went on as planned, I was picked up at the airport and taken to Mai Chau, David stayed with me overnight to explain me everything, introduce me in the school and translate. Every time I needed I could reach him on his phone and get his support. When I returned alone to Ha Noi, I went blind, without understanding anything of what people were saying to me and I got to my destiny without any kind of problem. David also helped me afterward organizing my trip in Vietnam, buying tickets etc.

Thank you for the wonderful experience.

Helen Buzz

(Portugal)

Program: Volunteer Abroad
Location: Vietnam
Posted: Jul 27, 2015
Overall:
10
Support:
10
Value:
10

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