Cross-Cultural Solutions

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9 / 10 after 143 Reviews Based on overall, support & value average ratings

As an international volunteer with Cross-Cultural Solutions, you're making a meaningful contribution, working side-by-side with local people and sharing in the goals of a community that warmly welcomes you. You're experiencing another culture like never before and really getting to know its people. You'll gain new perspectives and insight into the culture and yourself. It's an exciting and personally inspiring experience, and you'll develop memories that will be with you forever.

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My project exceeded my every expectation - this was without a doubt the single greatest experience of my twenty-somethings!

The Home-Base and staff me feel so at home from the moment I got there. They are such an incredible group of people - and it was remarkable getting to know them. Plus, the food was to die for!

My volunteer placement was working at a home for children - very similar to what we might associate as an orphanage. It was run by nuns who did a remarkable job keeping things together but it really have the time to really dive into playtime and really work one-on-one with the kids. That were my group stepped in. I was only there for a week (wish I could have stayed longer) but even within that time we painted, made a mosaic, played games, made necklaces, and made a connection. Plus we in the mid-afternoons sowed pillows to leave once we were gone.

I went to Guatemala during the time of Day of the Dead; they do this huge festival were everyone comes into the cemetery and repaints and fly kites. The concept is that the kites build a colorful border to keep the evil spirits out. The staff took us the night before to a man within the community to see how he makes his kites which opened my eyes to how much this celebration is all connected to their history and cultural identification. I would have never seen this side of the celebration if it wasn't for CCS.

I have traveled with them before to Costa Rica and I plan to with them again soon. Where are you going to go?

Program:
Location:
Posted: May 15, 2013
Overall:
10
Support:
10
Value:
10
By: lmharmon
Age:
25

Cross-Cultural Solutions and their program in Tanzania is fantastic and I would recommend it for anybody looking to volunteer in Africa. In February, I returned from a three-week stay at their Kilimanjaro site and had an incredible time. It was my second trip to Tanzania with CCS, my first was in 2003, and it was great to see how the country has changed in that time, but CCS has only gotten better and more organized. The home base was beautiful and very secure, my placement was wonderful and the people I met, from the CCS staff to the volunteers to the locals, were all very warm and made me feel welcome from day one. There were some rules that were awkward for an independent 29 year old to abide by, curfew and such, but I know it was for our safety and never was a problem. I think CCS does a great job in all aspects of their program. At home I am a videographer, and while in Tanzania I donated my craft to make CCS a short video:
https://www.youtube.com/watch?v=f_m_wMdf2Qg
This will give you a better idea of what the program is like.

Program:
Location:
Posted: April 8, 2013
Overall:
10
Support:
10
Value:
10
Age:
29

I'll say it I was terminated for drinking before the program started. I am a geeky 25 year old and NOT a party girl. On my first night (before orientation and before the program even got started) in Cartago, I went for a walk with some guys. Making friends is a good start, right? I asked the guys to walk me home because they had spent more time figuring out the area. Sometimes, you just need to get out of the crowded compound. On the first day, you are excited to see the town.

I didn't even have my wallet with me it was so spontaneous. I know it's best to be in a group. I sat at a table in a whole in the wall while a fellow volunteer and 50+ year old man showed me pictures of his kids. He was keeping an eye on his 19 year old roommate. I can't drink beer because I'm allergic to gluten and I turned away things offered to me.

Who did we meet in the bar? Cross Cultural Solutions staff who purchased drinks for a 19 year old. The next morning we all received termination letters. After all this, the other volunteer and I took responsibility for a 19 year old with no experience travelling alone in a foreign country. CCS was incredibly condescending considering I met up with the wrong crowd. Our entire group was home by 8:00pm. I'm probably not the first girl in history to make a bad judgement call by hanging out with guys. I just feel like these guys were blacklisted being the only men in the house.

I will be suing for my money back. I don't think meeting new people on the first day violates policy. You are supposed to be safe and with a group. They didn't even talk to us before they decided that we were all unworthy. I will continue to stay in Costa Rica. Cartago, is very far from things so I question being based there for three weeks.

I had every desire to give my best to the program.

Program:
Location:
Posted: March 12, 2013
Overall:
1
Support:
1
Value:
1
Age:
25

Comments

The accusations in this post are false. Therefore, we feel we have to respond. As anyone could imagine, the last thing CCS ever wants to do is terminate a volunteer. When we do, you can be assured it is carefully considered and in the best interests of CCS’s assistance to vulnerable people in the local community.
What people need to understand is that CCS has never bothered to listen to the group of volunteers they terminated. You are guilty of things without proof. I beg you not to travel with this organization. Their goal seems to be to keep people locked in the house. Our termination happened so fast that the term, carefully considered is laughable. We hadn't had orientation and we were never talked to on the night we went out. I believe they pay people to spy on and follow volunteers. It is incredibly arrogant not to believe someone when they say they did not want the drinks offered by the CCS spy. If anything, a group of volunteers being together means we were looking out for our mutual safety. CCS needs to understand that nobody wants to cause a problem and if you treat people so poorly you get back every bit you deserve. Lastly, going out at night is part of the cultural experience and learning experience. Please do not be so foolish as to believe that people who go out in a group all want to cause a problem. Please have the class to speak to me before you call me a liar.
Part 2: The kind people at VISA agreed with me when they gave me my money back. You should have seen the nasty stuff CCS made up. Good riddance and happy trails, CCS.

I volunteered in Peru for two months and due to every option CCS provided me I feel confident saying that rather - I lived in Peru for two months. I got to go into the local people's homes, hold their grandchildren, listen to their life stories, drive with them to the park, and eat breakfast with the in-country staff one on one. My placement was at a senior center for disabled and neglected abuelos. Every morning when I got dropped of at Los Martincitos (the placement) nearly all of the 100+ abuelos swarmed me and gave me hugs and kisses. If that was not enough to make my heart burst into a gazillion pieces everyday, the rest of my experience should have. Due to the length of my stay I was privileged enough to check out other placements as well and it is apparent that the program in Peru is flawless. The in-country staff was so accommodating and understanding to any and all requests from the volunteers, which made everyone's time in Peru with CCS whatever they wanted it to be. Every week all of the volunteers were offered dance classes, guest speakers on the history of the districts we all volunteered in, Spanish lessons, and adventures around the city. As a group we got to visit several Incan Ruins, museums, and so much more. Although every week, down to the day and hour was structured and mapped out, we were given the freedom to plan alternate trips on the weekends and leave the house during the afternoons as we wished. I hiked Machu Picchu, visited the second oldest civilization in the world Caral (first in the America's), and so many ruins around Lima. It was so interesting! I was able to get a feel for the culture in my own way. The current history in Peru is just as fascinating to me if not more than the Incan history. The government and the corruption really put the difference between the three America's into perspective for me. Every question I had was answered by the in-country staff, who by the way, made my trip all the more perfect. They made me laugh, ate meals with everyone, asked me questions about the United States and my personal life, shared their family photos with me, tried to learn English while I tried to learn Spanish which made every conversation so much more hilarious and meaningful, and just so much more. They went above and beyond to make everyone feel at home and never left empty-handed. Thinking back on it makes my heart skip a beat. I know this review is cheesy and silly, but I fell in love with the locals, the culture, and the BEAUTY of Peru. It is gorgeous! To put this whole review into a few words I would say this: I am actually bummed that CCS Peru was my first location (yes, I will be traveling through CCS again) because I feel as if every other location is set up for a loss now. I truly believe no other place in the world, no other in-country staff, no other placement other than Martincitos could have changed my heart the way Peru has. I am 19, and because of my time spent in South America I have a life of volunteering ahead of me. I wish I had only stayed longer.

Program:
Location:
Posted: January 7, 2013
Overall:
10
Support:
10
Value:
10
Age:

I would never change the time I spent in Hohoe, Ghana. This town consisted of the friendliest and most welcoming people I've ever met. The town also has some of the most gorgeous scenery.

Some great things about this company:
- staff: The staff was exceptional. Always willing to help me if I had a problem or needed to talk. The chef's food was delicious, the place was always clean, our sheets were changed every couple of days, and all of them were so friendly and fun to be around. I miss the staff so much!!

- schedules: Once we got there, we had a schedule for each week. These schedules consisted of 4 hours of volunteer work a day, breakfast, lunch, and dinner, free time, and either a workshop or a trip somewhere. Hohoe is conveniently located near Ghana's largest mountain and highest waterfall - both breathtaking to see. The best thing about the schedules though, was that you had the option of doing something else if you wanted. For instance, instead of coming back for lunch, sometimes I would stay at my volunteer placement for a couple more hours, and I would come back to have my lunch waiting for me in the kitchen. It was nice that the schedule wasn't so strict because I felt like I was getting what I wanted out of my time in Ghana.

-free time: Although there wasn't much free time because of the schedules, the time we did have was so much fun. There is plenty to do in Hohoe. The town has a lot of shops, internet cafes, and eateries to go to. We also travelled on the weekends to different parts of Ghana, such as Accra and Cape Coast.

Things to be prepared for:

-The initial landing in Accra, Ghana (the capital) till the point I got to the CCS Home Base in Hohoe was somewhat scary. I advise you double and triple check with the program leader as to how the airport pickup process will commence.

-Be aware that you are on 'Africa Time' as our director called it. Sometimes you will be waiting for an hour/two hours for certain events or people.

- If you are volunteering at elementary schools, be prepared to see how they discipline their students. It was hard for me to watch.

- Be aware that the classes will not be organized for you. Don't be afraid to take control of the class and plan an agenda.

If I could change one thing, it would be the cost of the program. I wanted to stay for more than three weeks so I could travel around Africa, but three weeks was already too expensive.

Bottom line, the best thing about volunteering with CCS in Ghana was the people I met. The other volunteers are now some of my closest friends, the staff made me feel like I was in my second home, and the children/people of Hohoe were so friendly and happy. If I could go back and do it again, I would in a heartbeat.

Program:
Location:
Posted: January 4, 2013
Overall:
9
Support:
10
Value:
9
By: Leigh03
Age:

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