Institute for Field Research Expeditions - IFRE

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9.2 / 10 after 313 Reviews Based on overall, support & value average ratings

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Great experience with great options! Only wish I had a better breakdown of where money was going.

Program:
Location:
Posted: March 26, 2016
Overall:
8
Support:
8
Value:
7
By: Msmith80
Age:
23

I had a great time on this trip. The only issue I had was the fact that knowing Spanish is really essentially to get the most out of the experience, and we were told that you did not need to know any Spanish.
We volunteered at an old folks home which was interesting, but since no one spoke any English, I felt like I could hardly help at all. They also did not have a lot of medical things for us to do, so we ended up playing games with the residents and helped by feeding some people who could not feed themselves. This did not really pertain to anything I wanted to get out of this trip. Overall, there was a lot of down time, so we were able to go zip lining, visit turtle island, explore Jaco, and visit an animal rescue. Although we had to travel 2 hours go our site, I feel like we wouldn't have been able to do most of the things we did if we hadn't driven as far as we did.
Long story short, would recommend, but know at least intermediate Spanish.

Program:
Location:
Posted: March 26, 2016
Overall:
9
Support:
9
Value:
8
By: cchris28
Age:
23

I chose to volunteer for two weeks at the children's orphanage near Galle. My frequent contacts with IFRE went extremely well, the staff in the US always responded quickly to me and were always helpful with all the questions that I had.

I stayed at Michael Ferreira's (country coordinator) house. Michael was very helpful with questions I had about my stay and the orphanage prior to arriving in Sri Lanka.

Him and his wife Pushpa are very welcoming and always ready to help. Pushpa is a good cook and I certainly enjoyed her curries !

Working at the children's orphanage went well. The children really need the volunteers as the people who work there don't really play with them or give them much love and affection. Daily duties included playing with the children, helping feeding them, bathing them etc.. There are about 65 kids, of which 27 are preschoolers (aged 3 to 5), and the rest between the ages of one month to 2. Some of them have some disabilities.

All in all, I felt that the time I gave was useful and that I helped in my own small way. I would certainly recommend this program.

The only thing that I might add is that the 10/10.30 p.m. curfew at Michael's house is a bit early if you want to go out for a drink or a meal. Maybe that can be negotiated ! Aside from that, I was very happy to be here and stay with a Sri Lankan family. I also met some great volunteers from different countries.

Laurence
from Grenoble, France

Program:
Location:
Posted: March 26, 2016
Overall:
8
Support:
8
Value:
8
Age:
43

Sri Lanka is an absolutely gorgeous country, but in my one month and a half of being here I have found that the beauty does not only lay with in the landscape but the biggest part of it can be found with in the Sri Lankan people. This is my first experience traveling overseas alone, but once upon arrival I realized I am furthest from alone. Sri Lankan people really treat you like family and genuinely love to help foreigners out. I learned this the second I met Michael and his family. They are such lovely people and they really make you feel as though you are a part of their family. I have seen many volunteers come and go here in this one month and a half and something amazing I have observed about the Fierra family is that it doesn't matter if you are staying one week or three months they are going to welcome you into their home and their lives with open arms. Their English is superb and therefore any questions or concerns that you have are going to be answered and answered thoroughly. It is absolutely phenomenal to have a Sri Lankan family on your side here. They of course know all of the ins and outs of the town and the country and I have found that this in turn has lead me to experiences that I am 100% sure I would not have gotten if I were traveling on my own.
Don't be afraid of the food. I once went on a mission trip to Russia and ever since when I travel overseas I am prepared to live on bread and tomatoes, but the Sri Lankan meals that Michaels wife fixes are absolutely amazing. They definitely understand that foreigners are not used to Sri Lankan dishes and so they are never too spicy and never so outlandish. There is always going to be an array of different dishes at every meal. Trust me you will always have something you will enjoy eating.
I am excited that I still have another month and a half left in this amazing country and this lovely household!

Program:
Location:
Posted: March 19, 2016
Overall:
10
Support:
10
Value:
10
By: hollyjade
Age:
23

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

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