Institute for Field Research Expeditions - IFRE

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9.2 / 10 after 312 Reviews Based on overall, support & value average ratings

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I had a great time while my stay in Sri Lanka. Michael made us feel very welcome in his home as well as made sure we felt very safe while traveling. He was always asking what he could do to make our stay better and he helped me with some independent travels outside Galle which was very helpful. I got to catch my first express bus to Mirissa which was amazing and Michael helped me through it all. I also had a couple days of being sick and he helped me get to the right clinic and get the best care needed. Very thankful to Michael and all he has done for this group.

Program:
Location:
Posted: November 27, 2016
Overall:
9
Support:
8
Value:
7
Age:
22

Our group had an excellent time staying with Michael and his family while in Sri Lanka. Five members of our group stayed at Michael's house while five others stayed with his daughter. We stayed two weeks all together learning about the language and culture of Sri Lanka and volunteering.

Michael is very knowledgeable and was able to share with us a great deal of history on Sri Lanka and help us speak useful phrases.

At all times, whenever our group needed anything, Michael was always quick to respond. He helped us make changes in our volunteer schedule as needed, move students around in the two houses, and was very attuned to our needs. I want to thank Michael for all of the work that he and his family did to help us feel welcome in his home and in Sri Lanka.

I wish our experience with the IFRE office was as great as it was on the ground with Michael. I understand that they are a large organization in many countries, but we had significant issues dealing with them. In the week leading up to the program, our main office contact went on medical leave. As the new person took over communication, they made changes to the total cost we agreed on, then the payment was demanded upfront (before we had agreed to pre-pay half and then pay half at the end). After months of planning, we were told that the program would be canceled unless we met these stipulations.

We were worried about how the experience would be when we began because of our experience with their office, but as soon as we met Michael, his willingness to work with us gave us confidence that it would be a good trip.

I don't believe that IFRE is a bad organization, and perhaps our experience with the office was unique. I recommend being very clear early on about payments especially if volunteering with a large group.

Program:
Location:
Posted: November 27, 2016
Overall:
10
Support:
10
Value:
10
By: Tomgray
Age:
30

I went to Nepal for two weeks to work in a hospital in Kathmandu. I went through the Global Crossroads program, which appears to stem from the same base as this one. Overall I had a great experience. Arriving was a little sketchy, as we were picked up late at night at the airport by a man who was a stranger to us. Quickly our luggage was taken by another man and set into the car for us, and he then asked for payment, which I wasn't happy about. I learned then that he wasn't a part of the program, I'm just advising you to be wary of that. We went to a very nice hostel near the center of Kathmandu, just a short walk away from the hospital we worked at. The hostel held around 10 volunteers, but it was never completely full during our stay. It was also where the organization takes place, so if I had any questions or concerns, I could just walk to their area of the house and ask. The hostel had kids and families in it, two sisters were in charge of all the food, and were very accepting and accommodating of my diet restrictions.

I'm not sure of the official title, but let's call her our coordinator. Pratima was essential in helping us figure out a new culture, and she gave us a crash course into what to expect, and how to react in different situations, which was very helpful.
We had several kinks along the way, such as loosing our luggage, and injuries as well, and Pratima was accommodating to all of it, calling the airport everyday to locate the luggage. When we needed to find a place she told us where to go, and acted as a translator when needed. Also, the organization created a little 'tour' type thing for us and a few others staying in the hostel to see some of the well-known temples and such. We were also given a little tour of all the places we might need to go while we were in the area, like the ATM, the store, our work place, etc. so that we didn't go in blind.

The reason this has 9 stars out of 10 was because there was a little hassle with the money which was a little suspicious to me, but understandable because I think they work from both the US and Nepal, it was just unclear who I had to pay and how much.

Overall I had a great experience through this program, and would recommend it. Just be aware of working out the payments very clear. Everyone was helpful and accommodating, I plan on returning there later in life!

Program:
Location:
Posted: November 22, 2016
Overall:
8
Support:
10
Value:
6
Age:
18

There were two reasons why I wanted to volunteer abroad: 1. Gain valuable clinical experience 2. Practice my spanish. Both of these were fulfilled to an amazing extent. My clinical site was San Juan De Dios with the Physical Therapy department. The staff was welcoming and willing to teach me. Working with disabled children was an unbelievably rewarding experience. Practicing spanish was easy and Peru, specifically Cusco, is a wonderful place. The host family, like everyone else here, were wonderful. There wasn't a day where I felt like this wasn't home.

Program:
Location:
Posted: June 7, 2016
Overall:
10
Support:
10
Value:
10
Age:
20

I really enjoyed the program and the director of the program Lauren was really nice. She took me around the country and really made sure I felt comfortable in her home which was also the volunteer home. She was very interested in any improvements we wanted or any ideas we had for around the house . she wanted to hear everything we were doing and helped anyway she could and really went out and took care of whatever was needed. The orphanage was really really well kept and ran so well. The children had a routine that they showed the volunteers and helped us get to know what to do. It was really amazing. I really think ur level of Spanish should be at a level for basic conversation and basic child commands to be able to keep the children safe. Also bring a debit card to atm out money don't come with cash because you will need to exchange it. My only regret was I didn't stay longer because it does take time to get use to the Costa Rican coulture and day to day routine and you do want to travel on the weekend so I would really recommended staying as long as you could to truly get the experience you want.

Program:
Location:
Posted: June 5, 2016
Overall:
7
Support:
7
Value:
6
Age:
29

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