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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In February 2009 at age 66 I made my first trip to Africa and luckily, I chose to partner with Cross Cultural Solutions. I can say without reservation that it was, indeed, a peak experience and the best 3 week ‘vacation” of my adult life. It was a perfect combination of living in a college dorm, being at camp and experiencing a new culture with its many challenges and immeasurable rewards.
The accommodations at the Moshi homebase were more than adequate, including an endless supply of bottled water. Better than a college dorm or camp, our room was cleaned daily, all meals included fresh fruits and vegetables and a hot dish, and the staff were friendly and responsive. Aside from helping with transportation and adjustments to the volunteer placement, they were available to give directions into town, help in connecting with reliable taxi drivers, ensuring personal safety in many ways and just to chat about whatever was on my mind.
It was delightful to spend time with the younger generation. They kept my mind and my body active and inspired me with their dedication to volunteer service. My roommates shared their hairdryers and other essentials wit me, invited me to join them during social occasions, acquainted me with the internet cafes and encouraged me on the long day hike up Kilimanjaro. During my placement with Mawenzi Regional Hospital, I was paired with a young nurse from Canada. It was nice on our walks home to stop for coffee and debrief about the almost overwhelming differences in medical delivery and resources available in Tanzania. We became friends through this experience and still keep in touch today.
After our morning placements, the group gathered for Swahili lessons or other cultural experiences arranged by the staff. In the late afternoons and evenings, we were free to relax or enjoy an opportunity of playing with kids at a local orphanage. This was definitely a highlight for me as well as many others. The infectious smiles of the children and the sense of family at the orphanage just grabbed my heart.
You could not help but fall in love with them.
As you can tell, I am crazy about this program. So much so that I will be returning in December 2010. While I know it cannot be a repeat of my first experience, I am confident that it will be equally memorable.

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Posted: July 17, 2010
Overall:
10
Support:
10
Value:
10
By: Anonymous
Age:

Comments

I did a volunteer trip with this company and I would not recommend it. There are many other companies providing much more meaningful volunteer experiences. If you are going to spend this amount of money I would do your homework and make sure you are getting what you pay for. I would venture to say that more than half of the volunteers I was staying with during my trip feel the same as I do.
because CEO of ccs makes more than $300,00 see 990 in guide star.
My son,age 21,is planning to go to Marrakesh in October 2010 I have doubts as to the program's value....for him......and why it cost so much.......to help folks? Can you give me some input? dad

I use to work as a Marketing Coordinator for a jazz/blues/classical/world music record company called Telarc/Heads Up International. In February '09, I was laid off along with half of the employees due to the poor economy. I knew it was a great chance to pursue other opportunities, such as International volunteer work. I've always been interested in South Africa through my studies in African music and work with African musicians. I researched many different volunteer organizations and found Cross-Cultural Solutions to be the most credible and accessible. The Program-Enrollment Managers were always there via phone and e-mail to answer any questions regarding volunteer placements, preparation, and other concerns that would help even a person with little to no experience in international travel. I decided to do a 10 week program in Cape Town, South Africa and was offered an opportunity to work 2 of those weeks at their Robertson program. The experience was incredible as I worked teaching music and marketed a group of professional township musicians that performed at local health clinics treating patients with HIV/AIDS and TB. They performed dramas and music that promoted HIV/AIDS education in a fun and entertaining way. In Robertson I worked at a primary school teaching typing and basic computer skills. The work was extremely gratifying and had me connecting with the people of South Africa in a way that gave me a deep insight into their culture. Although the work I did at these placements had an impact, the largest contribution I made was the idea of cultural exchange. My supervisors from Cape Town and Robertson took me out to the townships to meet their families, which gave me an insight to how South Africans live. So many people decide to volunteer for the wrong reasons by thinking they are going to change the world. Over 300 billion dollars has been poured into relief efforts for Africa since their independence, and it still remains the most poverty stricken continent in the world. Im not saying that organizations that provide financial and material aid don't help, but I think with living in a society that is so economically dependent, we need to focus more alternative forms of relief. Organizations like Cross-Cultural Solutions do that in the way they make volunteering accessible for everyone. I really believe that everyone should have the opportunity to travel to a third world country so they can take back a perspective they can share with the world. Yes the programs are expensive, but the CCS Program Managers give you a lot of support in terms of fundraising options. I was able to fundraise for my entire program through community outreach efforts with my local church, social networking with friends and family, and hosting a charity event. If you are interested in pursuing a volunteer program with CCS feel free to contact me or check out my blog www.kevintacklessouthafrica.blogspot.com to get a better idea of my experience.

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Posted: January 21, 2010
Overall:
10
Support:
10
Value:
10
By: Anonymous
Age:

Comments

I am wondering if anyone can tell me what they think about CCS for a family. I am planning on taking my children ages: 16, 10, & 9. I am a teacher who hopes to help the native population, but I think this would be of great value for all of us. Do you think this would work with children??

I had a fantastic time in Costa Rica! I found CCS to be more expensive than other organizations, but they also do a lot more for you in the way of support. Before you even leave, you receive lots of information, e-mails, and phone calls to make sure you're fully prepared. The in-country staff were amazing - so welcoming, and always willing to talk or help you with anything. I really enjoyed my placement, as well, and found all the field trips fun and interesting. As for the food, let's just say that I came home with an additional ten pounds because it all tasted SO good!! I would highly recommend CCS, especially if this is your first experience volunteering abroad.

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Posted: December 16, 2009
Overall:
9
Support:
10
Value:
8
By: Anonymous
Age:

Comments

If you are proficient in Spanish, it will be an asset, but you will be fine even if you are a beginner, because you will pick the language up quickly while there!
Do you recommend to be proficient in conversational Spanish before going?

I had an amazing experience with CCS in Ghana. The staff were incredible and some of the friendliest people I have ever met.The support in country and out of country was worth the extra money that CCS charges. We were picked up and taken to the airport, transportation to volunteer placement, food, lodging etc.I immediately felt like family. For my first trip to Africa I wanted a lot of support and CCS gave me just that. In the morning I went to an orphanage to teach (which I loved!)and then in the afternoon we would go on a cultural activity such as a Ewe language lesson, hike the highest mountain, feed monkeys, go swimming under a waterfall etc. I stayed for 2 months and towards the end I would go back to volunteer at the orphanage in the afternoon. I have no complaints about this program. The food was excellent, the lodging was excellent and as I mentioned before the staff members were beyond excellent! I completely recommend this program. I came back to the US feeling completely satisfied by my experience with CCS. It was the most rewarding life changing experience that I have ever had.

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Posted: December 14, 2009
Overall:
10
Support:
10
Value:
9
By: Anonymous
Age:

Comments

This is very helpful! For years I've wanted to go to Ghana, and was wondering if the high price this group charges is worth it, because I too, want to be able to have a lot of contacts/support to feel safe there.
Well in the beginning I only volunteered about 3 hours in the morning and then we went on cultural field trips in the afternoon but since I stayed longer than 3 weeks after those 3 weeks I went back to placement for another 3 or 4 hours. It is really up to you if you want to go back and volunteer in the afternoon. The driver was more than willing to take me back to placement. Hope that helps!
How much time did you get to spend doing work because it seems a lot of other people did not get to do much.

At first, I was a little bit disappointed with CCS in Russia. I was told I would have multiple placements and that I would be crafting with the people in each. I was sceptical and felt a bit ridiculous that I had come so far just to make some photo frames with a bunch of people who probably didn't want to know anyway.
I couldn't have been more wrong. When you get out there and you see the joy that simply having visitors - whether you are making pots or reading magazines or running around with a football - brings to these people, you understand that the crafting is secondary. Yes, your lollipop stick photo frame might be lame - but these people are some of the most neglected, hidden away, loving people in the world, and they don't CARE how lame your craft is (though, of course, you try and make something that isn't lame, because you want them to have fun with the craft too). They are just glad to be seen.
People in this country would turn their nose up at a bunch of randomers miming how to make flip books and origami boxes because they can't speak the language. Not a single person in Russia did that. Not once.
I was glad for the multiple placements, too -I felt like I got to see so much more and help so many more people, and it also meant that none of us had to spend an unbearable amount of time in the truly heartbreaking placements.
In several placements, the volunteers are the ONLY visitors these people get, so you can really see how you are making a difference just by being there.
There is a translator with you at all times during the placements, two lovely cooks, a really nice homebase, a great city to explore and trips out are easily arranged. We worked two "shifts" a day at placements, had language lessons and cultural trips every week, even a Russian cooking lesson. In Russia, you also have the benefit of being able to get to know the other volunteers really well - they don't have big groups of 20 or more there all the time like some of the other, more popular countries. The day I arrived, there were four of us at the airport and two already in the house.
I honestly had the time of my life and I would recommend it to anyone. CCS held our hands the whole way through, for every silly little question I had at the beginning right through to feedback, and I am still in touch with the other volunteers and even my programme manager. I am definitely going to volunteer with CCS again.

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Posted: November 9, 2009
Overall:
9
Support:
10
Value:
9
By: Anonymous
Age:

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