Cultural Embrace

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6 / 10 after 15 Reviews Based on overall, support & value average ratings

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What is the most important thing from a program when you are hundreds of miles away from home...good contact from the organization that sent you there! Prompt responses and swift action give me great peace of mind while I am in this foreign environment. Without a doubt Cultural Embrace has been right behind me the whole time. I never felt abandoned and was even assisted with issues that I told them I would try to handle on my own. From the first time I contacted the organization their communication has been professional and expedient. I was accepted into other teaching programs at the same time but chose to go with CE for this reason. Having been in Guatemala for several weeks now I know I made the right choice in selecting Cultural Embrace. They have assisted me greatly with any and everything under their control. I definitely recommend taking an adventure with them :)

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Location:
Posted: February 22, 2011
Overall:
9
Support:
10
Value:
9
By: oujerzy
Age:
New User

Cultural Embrace found me a placement in a good, up and coming city in China, beginning in July 2008. I was given thorough, thoughtful and PERSONALIZED support before and during what became a two year stay (I had originally only intended to spend up to a year abroad).

For what I spent on the program fee and flight (the schools reimburse your return flight for one semester, or roundtrip for a full year), I made up for in less than two months. I was able to make real money tutoring on the side (more an hour than for the same service in New York City) and came home from China with significant savings.

CE also consistently asked for my feedback about improving the program throughout the experience. The small company was certainly dedicated to providing me with a good service, but I could also tell they were excited about any new realization, overcome challenge, or delicious experience I had been through, with me. In short, this company has soul.

Program:
Location:
Posted: February 21, 2011
Overall:
10
Support:
10
Value:
10
By: aluna
Age:
New User

I paid the 1500$ required for a placement in Ecuador assuming that I would be placed with a job and host family a reasonable amount of time before I needed to leave. It got down to one week before I needed to leave and I still had neither, and buying a flight at this time would have been ridiculous. I had to cancel my application with no refund because that is how their contract works and they made no attempt whatsoever to compensate me for the fact that they had 6 months to place me and failed. I experienced horrible service through them and was left with a week to find myself a job in the states for the summer.

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Location:
Posted: July 27, 2010
Overall:
0 (worst)
Support:
1
Value:
0
By: Anonymous
Age:

Comments

I'm a rep from C.E. and hope my response will hopefully bring more insight to future travelers wanting a successful placement abroad. C.E. (and most of these other companies on this site) serves as the liaison to help you have a smooth transition of going abroad, and to meet the needs and availability of the host community. C.E.'s process requires at least 50% of the program fee (not just the application) so our local representative will seek out and secure the placement, accommodations, and other logistical details. During the placement process, we appreciate your patience as it may be a timely manner, particularly in a tough and competitive economy. Again, the employer, agency, school, etc make the ultimate decision of the applicant they want to accept and be part of their team. Your fees for an internship are covering accommodations, meals, marketing, and administrative costs, and unfortunately does not buy an 'instant' placement, as well as jobs and duties that you envision to be the perfect placement. Interning, volunteering, teaching, and working anywhere in this world (including in your home town) will require flexibility, patience, and ability to be a team player. C.E. has a refund policy that is stated (and does not change) on our website, applications, and program details. More insight about internship & volunteer placements and traveling abroad may be found: http://culturalembrace.blogspot.com/search/label/Intern, http://culturalembrace.blogspot.com/search/label/Travel%20Tips, http://culturalembrace.blogspot.com

I signed up with Cultural Embrace during the summer of 2008 for their work New Zealand program. I was told I would receive "Guaranteed Job Placement and Housing Assistance" when I paid them a US$665 fee. Being naieve, I paid it thinking they would deliver what they promised. That was not the case. I showed up in New Zealand and was told there was no Job Placement Guarantee, and to get a newspaper and start looking. They also strongly encourage the workers to get a cell phone, which is an astronomical cost. I ended up leaving the company and going off on my own. I have voiced all of my concern to the company, via Katy Larkin and Emlyn Lee, and she stands firm with her fist clenched around my money and her back turned to my dissatisfaction. I would not advise anyone to use them for working abroad services.

Program:
Location:
Posted: November 30, 2008
Overall:
0 (worst)
Support:
1
Value:
0
By: Anonymous
Age:

Comments

Cultural Embrace has been responding directly to the participant with the comments listed above, as well as through Better Business Bureau(which BBB dismissed this case), but I would like to take this opportunity to explain our Work in New Zealand program and services (for this participant and future candidates' sake). Firstly, CE's Work in NZ program is a Job Placement Assistance that offers our participants up to 12 months of offers and access to job center's in New Zealand. We have other programs and destinations that 'guarantee' job, teach, work, or volunteer placements, but assistance for NZ. Our Kiwi partners will help organize job leads, interviews, and contacts through on-line job databanks, and local listings. Although most of the positions available on this program are hospitality or non-technical skilled jobs, you are still required to act professionally during the application and interview process, and during the job duration. In regards to this "astronomical" cost for a local cell phone in NZ it is NZ$100 equivalent to US$60...which seems comparable or even cheaper to what US charges for a new mobile phone service. This participant mentioned in her BBB complaint that she did not receive the airport transfer service that CE offers, but it also the participant's responsibility to follow through with instructions. For example, this participant received the airport pick-up voucher in Cultural Embrace's pre-departure cultural kit. When our Coordinator, Katy, followed up before she left to see if she had any questions, this participant said she did not receive the voucher, so Katy sent her another one electronically (email). Right before her departure, she said she was having trouble and couldn't print the voucher, so Katy contacted CE's local partners to inform them that this participant would be arriving and to be prepared for her arrival without a voucher. Upon arrival to Auckland, New Zealand, this participant still misunderstood the airport pick-up procedures and contacted the emergency number that we gave to her in her pre-departure kit, and our local partners instructed her of where to find our airport shuttle “Airbus Express”. While this participant claims we are just ‘fist clenching’ her program fee of US$665, (which does not meet up to the time and energy that we (CE and our local partners in New Zealand, have spent to consult her)), we have met our services of what the Work New Zealand program entails. From our interpretation to the comments above, our partners in NZ offered her job leads and assistance (yes, that may include picking up the local paper and looking through the classified section!) but it is ultimately up to the employer to accept the applicant based on skills, experience, qualifications, attitude and interviews. I admit, it is getting more competitive out there with a global recession, which supports another reason why you should use a program provider, like Cultural Embrace. Candidates will need to step up to the plate, be sharp, and ready to take the world on (no pun attended). My advice for those that are looking for a job abroad: write a resume/cv that will stand out, interview well and put yourself in the hiring manager's shoe (why would he/she hire you over a local--someone that knows the local culture, and can work long term?) and follow through after your interview with the employer. An old school thank you note or email does make a difference, especially in the customer service industry. We hope our participants and future candidates understand that using a program provider, like Cultural Embrace, open doors and windows to make this world a smaller, friendlier, and more peaceful place. CE's goals are to alleviate the stress and anxieties before, during and after your time abroad. We want to pave a smoother road for you to explore your world and to guard your safety, health, and well-being. But you have to be realistic, because there will still be speedbumps and potholes throughout on your adventure...but isn't that the beauty of traveling?

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