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Iko Poran Volunteer Abroad - IKPVA Header Image Iko Poran Volunteer Abroad - IKPVA Header Image

Most Affordable Teaching Program in Brazil

Overall Rating

10/ 10

  • Volunteer Experience

    10

  • Program Administration

    9

  • Living Situation

    9

  • Community Impact

    10

  • Health and Safety

    10

  • Social Life

    10

The best experience of my life

After four years in a fairly unsatisfying job I decided it was time for a break - so I volunteered in Rio de Janeiro in a teaching English program. The NGO in Rio I was volunteering for - Iko Poran - is led by Felipe, who right from the beginning made me feel welcome: he always replied to my emails straight away and gave me tips on how to cope with my "stage fright". I had never volunteered before and didn't really know what to expect, but most of all I was scared of the language barrier, but there really was no need for that because everyone I met was so friendly and tried their best to understand me, the gringa.

My work was in a favela called Batan, in zona oeste. To go to work from the hostel, where all volunteers are staying, it takes about 90 minutes door to door - on a good day. This includes going to the bus stop and waiting for the bus... Brasil has its own pace, things happen when they happen. You just have to go with the flow and accept that this is the way it's going to be, even if it can be frustrating at times.
I was teaching in the local community centre called "ONG Tatiane Lima", which is run by Luciano and Eliane - the best people in the world. They made me feel welcome, they taught me Portuguese, they accepted me into their family without asking any questions - I couldn't have asked for more support. Teaching itself was fun, challenging and always different. My students were mainly teenagers, but the age range was quite wide. My two youngest girls were nine years old and my oldest student 61.
Most of the time I was teaching with another volunteer, which made things a lot easier, as people would not come according to the time table but when they had time. So more often than not we would give basic English classes when actually we should be sitting with advanced students...

After ten weeks in Batan it was time for me to say goodbye to my students and to my new family, which was very hard. All the guys that came to class regularly made such an impact on my life, every single one of them. I hope that I have left a little bit too and that they will remember the crazy German, that would always had a go at them when they were late... ;-)

Volunteering was the best thing I've ever done in my entire life, as corny as that sounds. I went out of my comfort zone, expecting to be uncomfortable when in fact it was so lovely and I don't regret for a second having made this choice. I met amazing people in the hostel and in the favela, people that are extremely beautiful and talented, funny, kind and caring. These people will stay in my heart forever, because they are the cast of the most exciting summer I've had in my life. Without them it would have been nothing.

I'd like to thank Felipe again for placing me in that particular community - it couldn't have been a better fit. He was always there when I needed advice or just a chat and I'm very grateful for having been given the opportunity to hopefully make a lasting impression. And if you ask me would I do it again, all I will say is: "In a heartbeat."

Overall Rating

10/ 10

  • Volunteer Experience

    10

  • Program Administration

    10

  • Living Situation

    9

  • Community Impact

    10

  • Health and Safety

    9

  • Social Life

    10

Road to Rio

Brazil has always been on the top of my bucket list and 3 months ago I decided that this was the year I go. I did some research and chose Iko Poran because it seemed like a more personal, family type of organization. I was really happy with my decision. From the first email I sent, till the day I left, felipe and Iko Poran have been nothing but supportive and helpful. The program is really great value for money and includes Portuguese classes. The hostel is situated in Santa Teresa, which is central to most areas in Rio. The other volunteers that I worked with were a real asset to my stay as well. Over weekends we would explore Rio and not an off day went by were we didn't have an adventure. Rio itself is breath taking and probably one of the best cities I have visited. The project I worked on was on the outskirts of Rio teaching English. My students were eager to learn and I was welcomed in with open arms. I would recommend Iko Poran if you're up for a great experience!

Overall Rating

10/ 10

  • Volunteer Experience

    10

  • Program Administration

    8

  • Living Situation

    8

  • Community Impact

    8

  • Health and Safety

    7

  • Social Life

    10

Best experience as volunteer

With Iko Poran, I was really able to get to enter into the Brazilian culture. People are charming, location is good and the project is really challenging (because of the language barrier) but rewarding.
I had such a great time that words could not be enough !
Saudades.

Overall Rating

9/ 10

  • Volunteer Experience

    9

  • Program Administration

    10

  • Living Situation

    7

  • Community Impact

    9

  • Health and Safety

    8

  • Social Life

    10

Good things and bad things about my volunteer experience

Good things
1. The Safety in the Community of Batan, i never felt in any danger while i was teaching english.

2. The Social life with the other volunteers was great, we were always doing things and having adventures.

3. Felipe's Churrasco Barbecues are really really good.

4. The Hostel has a Pool for the hot days

5. The Hostel staff are really friendly and Helpful.

6. The students i taught English to were really cool and willing to learn.

7. I never got mugged and didnt catch Zika virus.

8. Felipe is awesome at does a great job running the programs.

9. Class was only 3 days a week so had 4 days to organize trips to see other parts of Rio and Brazil.

Go to Ilha Grande and Paraty while you are in Rio.

Bad Things

1. Lapa is a little dangerous and had some friends who got mugged outside our hostel.
So please be wise and careful.
But don't be afraid to venture out and enjoy yourself.


2. Batan is a loooonngg way from the hostel.

3. Hostel had bed bugs.

4. Needs more English books or resources to be provided.
(Best to bring your own)


Overall
it was a great experience for me and i would recommend it to anyone.
teaching english is really rewarding.
Food was great
Tourist attractions are cool
Go to a Cachaca bar Drink Cachaca

  • Iko Poran Volunteer Abroad - IKPVA responded to this review July 15, 2016 at 9:08 AM

    Hi Nick,
    Thank you very much for your review. It is great to know you had a great experience with us and liked my barbecue. I am making it every other weekend after the arrival dates in a way everybody gets to taste it at least once. About your comments: Rio is like any other big city in the world, it is dangerous for those that don’t pay attention and think that nothing is going to happen to them. So far, only one of our volunteers got mugged this year and she ended up extending her stay from 4 to 20 weeks; they finally finished the way to Batan that was under construction for the Olympic games and it takes now half of the time it used to take; beds were treated and do not have bugs anymore; our volunteers are now writing a syllabus based on a TEFL course from Cambridge.
    It was great to have you here and I look forward to receiving you in other destinations. Returning volunteers have 50% off the registration fee.

Overall Rating

8/ 10

  • Volunteer Experience

    8

  • Program Administration

    8

  • Living Situation

    8

  • Community Impact

    7

  • Health and Safety

    8

  • Social Life

    9

Mas... Você fala português do Portugal

Hi there,
My name is Denis and I have finally gotten around to writing a review for the programme I did about two months ago now.
This, in my opinion, is the most challenging programme out of the lot, but it brought out my creative side, whilst testing myself in 4 different languages at once (I worked alongside Alejandro from Colombia and Laetitia from France), and opening my eyes to the real struggle of each individual living in the favelas of Rio de Janeiro. My only confusion about it all was that it wasn't cheap to do this programme and resources were very limited at the work place, but I managed to make do, regardless.
Outside of work, it was great to come back to the hostel in the beautiful but sometimes not so safe Santa Teresa, to chill out for a bit with the volunteers who for the most part are in their late teens or early 20s (I was 20 at the time), so it was a lively social atmosphere and plenty of plans to go out at night and see things on the weekends.
As for the main man operating it all, Felipe, I commend his drive to succeed and make an impact and change things for the less fortunate, whilst also catering to our needs, and last but not least hosting the best BBQ I've ever had.
Whatever programme you pick, just know that it's not just a holiday, if you take the programme seriously, but it is an enjoyable and valuable learning experience, and I would certainly recommend a 4-week stay one summer if you're about my age and in need of avoiding cabin fever staying at home.