Brazil

Cross-Cultural Solutions

The CCS program in Brazil is fabulous, from the staff, to the placement, to the country. I can truly say that I am richer and wiser person having experienced this program. It is something that I will recommend to any friends and family. Thank you for 30 days of wonder and discovery about myself and the world.

Program: Volunteer Abroad
Location: Brazil
Posted: Aug 26, 2012
Overall:
10
Support:
10
Value:
10

Travellers Worldwide

I was extremely disappointed with my experience, and wouldn't recommend it to anyone. I felt alone and unsupported, but more importantly unwanted in my project. It made me feel as though my money had gone to waste. I would certainly recommend arranging a project yourself. At least then you are in control of your time abroad. So sad that I had such a negative experience as I had looked forward to this project. I wouldn't wish such a bad experience on my enemy.

Program:
Location: Brazil
Posted: Aug 23, 2012
Overall:
1
Support:
1
Value:
1

Cross-Cultural Solutions

I have traveled to 3 countries with CCS and I enjoyed all of my experiences. Last summer I was fortunate enough to travel to Salvador, Brazil with CCS for 3 weeks and I truly enjoyed the experience. The program has many components including volunteering, cultural experiences and free time all of which were packed with new information and new experiences which gave me a deeper understanding of the culture and way of life. I was able to spend my mornings with the most amazing loving children playing games and having fun. Materials and guidance were provided but volunteers were also given freedom to plan activities and able to bring creativity to their volunteer placement. The staff in Brazil was always very helpful answering all questions and giving guidance to explore their beautiful country. They made it feel like I had a family away from home. Salvador was a very special city to see and had so many places to go out and explore. We were able to spend our free time at the beaches, museums, zoos, ice cream or acai places as well as traveling to surrounding islands. Like any other volunteering abroad experience this one brought me out of my comfort zone and challenged me in many ways such as learning a new language, currency, city, culture, living environment and meeting new people. I had to adapt to my new environment in Brazil to truly get the most out of the experience and it was worth it. I left with new friends, an understanding of a different culture, a knowing that I was able to volunteer and work with some of the most special children in the world and I will always remember their smiles. 

Program: Volunteer Abroad
Location: Brazil
Posted: Aug 14, 2012
Overall:
10
Support:
10
Value:
10

Cross-Cultural Solutions

I participated volunteer program in Salvador-Brazil, Nov 2011. It was the best Life time experience I ever had!!! From the first moment when driver Ivan picked me up at the airport, I had a good feeling, that this experience will be great! … when I came to Home Base at the midnight, and Nando showed me around and gave me dinner, instantly I felt I was at home :-)…I was the first volunteer from Lilly group…Next day, I was introduced to the CCS Management and staff …Vini, Lulu, Maria, Viviene, Jo … from the first day, they showed kindness and help like they are our family :-) …Introducing meeting for our placement held by Vini was extremely helpful, and feedback sessions from our first day was really valuable….during entire stay, Vini and other stuff were really supportive, teaching us about life in Brazil, helping us in how to fit in and learning about people and country...My overall experience from the placement at Children Orphanage, was exactly what I was expecting to be…What was amazing is that children needed care, love, hug, kisses, compassion and they were happy only if you were willing to show those feelings or play with them …and the stuff at the placement were happy to have at least 2 more hands to help with regular everyday tasks (playing, feeding, cleaning, washing and taking care of children/babies)…they just needed few moments of rest … I enjoyed just being with the babies and the kids :-) …I would be most happy if I would have hands like octopus and having a chance to carry all of them around the place …I really felt a connection with all of them :-) …The extremely additional value to the program was learning in during after working hours about the country, culture, history, politics, laws, etc …we would never learn so much about the people and country if we would came as tourists! …I was very said that my program lasted only for a 2 weeks :-( …My opinion is that you should participate program for at least 4 weeks!!! …The entire organization was really amazing: every minute was very well planned, working at the placement, support in understanding your work, functioning at the Home-Base, learning classes during after working hours, free time for weekend entertainment….In addition, valuable experience was that during your stay, you share your life/home with other people/colleagues from the program in Home-base, who also came from different countries and cultures…So you have additional value of learning other cultures as well! …My only recommendation for improving the program would be, that working hours at the placement increase to at least 6 hours at the placement (or even 8 hours per day) for the volunteers who stays only 2 weeks in the program…in that way we would more feel that we contributed enough to the local community!!!
I recommend the program to ALL future volunteers and wish them all the best! …And I will apply for the next one very soon :-)
I send my warmest regards to CCS staff in Brazil, and to all people/collegause I met during my stay:-)

Program: Volunteer Abroad
Location: Brazil
Posted: Aug 11, 2012
Overall:
9
Support:
10
Value:
10

Cross-Cultural Solutions

I cannot believe it has been 6 years since I volunteered in Salvador, Brazil. I think about the children and the school I worked in everyday and I always dream of going back. I signed up for 10 weeks initially but in my first week was already making plans to extend my stay. i ended up volunteering for another month and didn't leave brazil for another month after that! And even then i wasn't ready to come home and leave such a wonderful country with the most beautiful, happy and friendly people I have still yet to meet anywhere else. If anyone were to have concerns about volunteering in a country they haven't visited before, don't speak the language and are perhaps travelling alone there is no need to worry with CCS. From the contact you receive once you have signed up, to pick up at the airport, to being supported and part of the CCS family throughout your stay, you are never alone and you are always supported and made to feel at home. volunteering for CCS is an experience that really no one can really understand unless they have shared that experience. Because of that the staff and your fellow volunteers become your family. I am still friends with the amazing people I volunteered with and always be. The experience will never leave you. I had no idea what to expect work wise and i was surprised to learn that the working day lasted only til lunch time and then you have the afternoons todo as you like. i worked in a junior school in a classroom of 30 odd 1-3 year olds. i cant begin to describe what I got out of this, but leaving the children on my last day was one of the hardest and saddest things i have ever had to do. I always hoped that they got something out of me, its hard to tell, but if you are making them smile and laugh then you hope you are. Aside from volunteering there is then the greatest experience of Brazil itself. beaches, islands, boat trips, music,beach parties, the list is endless. CCS also organise some great trips. my only regret is that i didn't do all of them. If you are thinking of volunteering in Brazil my advice is don't sit and think about doing it one day. Just do it. When i think back i am always still surprised how easy it all was to organise. Just to it and sign up for something you will have forever. don't sit and regret not doing it.

Program: Volunteer Abroad
Location: Brazil
Posted: Aug 4, 2012
Overall:
10
Support:
10
Value:
10

Cross-Cultural Solutions

I have always been into volunteering since age 10 and sometime around 2009 in 2010 I realized I let its importance escape me. Then I decided to look into volunteering abroad. I did it in the past as a part of an alternative winter break through my school but had since graduated and would therefore have to scope things out on my own. That's when I came across Cross Cultural Solutions. As a working professional the Insight Abroad program appealed to me as I was able to take one week to volunteer (although I wish I would have been able to go longer). CCS was there for me through every step, whether I needed pointers on how to fundraise or just had a few questions on things. I came across one small hiccup when making my way to Brazil when I had to switch flights due to my first plane arriving later than expected. I was able to get a hold of someone at the home base and the reassured me that it would be ok and that someone would meet me as soon as I landed in Salvador. One of the Program Associates (Ivan) was there to create me with a smiling face and a quiz of Brazil Portugues words.

The Program Director, Vini was wonderful, teaching us new things each day, laughing with us and telling us all about the people we were working with. It was refreshing to see how passionate he was about this mission and it made me all the more excited to be a part of it.

Brazil as a whole was a wonderful experience as I was able to work in a classroom of 2-3 year olds who were calling me "Tia" (Auntie) from the start, ate delicious food made at the home base, made a "journey" to the beaches and explored the town. Through this experience I also had opportunities to learn about the culture and to go to places I may not have seen had I been a mere tourist. The best part about this program is the fact that you are working with people native to the country you are in. My only regret is not signing up for a longer term.

It's so easy for people to say what they gave when it comes to service but I think I received much more than I gave through the generosity of the Brazilian people.

It's been a couple of years and I am certainly ready for a new adventure!

Program: Volunteer Abroad
Location: Brazil
Posted: Aug 3, 2012
Overall:
10
Support:
8
Value:
8

Cross-Cultural Solutions

I spent an incredible 8 weeks volunteering with Cross Cultural Solutions in Salvador, Brazil in 2011. The experience was amazing, and I highly recommend CCS to anyone interested in doing international volunteering. The CCS staff, both in the US and in Brazil is very professional and helps facilitate the experience from the very beginning. The home base is in a nice neighborhood (about a 10 minute walk to the beach) and secure. In additional to the daily volunteer placements, CCS organizes various cultural activities, including tours of various parts of Salvador and guest speakers, to help you get to know the city and Brazil better. The combination of the volunteer placements, structured cultural activities and free time gives a nice balance between having the flexibility to explore and do activities that you are interested in and having activities planned for you.

My volunteer placement was teaching English to adults at two different community centers. I didn't have any experience teaching English, so at first I was a little nervous, but between the support of the CCS staff and the sheer enthusiasm of my students, that didn't last long. It was incredibly satisfying to be able to watch them learn.

Overall, my eight weeks in Salvador were some of the best of my life and I’m looking forward to a return trip later this year.

Program: Volunteer Abroad
Location: Brazil
Posted: Jul 29, 2012
Overall:
10
Support:
10
Value:
10

Comments

About 10 glowing reviews of the Brazil program posted in 3 days. What are the odds?
Maybe they give out the address of this website to the people who they know they'll get a good review from?

Cross-Cultural Solutions

I volunteered with CCS in 2006 in Salvador, Brazil. I don't want to sound overly dramatic, but it definitely changed my life. Apart from being able to teach english to adults and children--many of whom I am still in touch with to this day--it also introduced me to a new and wonderful country and language. I've been back to Brazil twice since then, I've become fluent in Portuguese (although I'm slipping a little bit these days), and at some point I may even decide to live there for a few years.

The volunteer experience is not without its difficulties, but that is where the value lies. You're going to have challenges communicating with people, and you're going to wonder at times if you're really making a difference. But the fact of the matter is that for some of the people you meet, you'll be someone who they remember for the rest of their lives. You might give someone the gift of a second language that will help them enormously for years to come. For a sick child or a lonely elderly person, you might be the only person who helps them through the day. As a volunteer, if you accept the challenges that your work presents you, you will make an immeasurable difference in someone's life. And they may also make a similar difference in yours.

As for the CCS program specifically, the people who run it are serious about their work and they take care of their volunteers very well. They are very professional. They will make sure that you are safe, that you learn about your surroundings, and that you will work in a place where you matter to someone. The volunteer house is very nice and is located in one of the nicest and best-located neighborhoods in Salvador for getting around on your own and seeing what the city has to offer.

Program: Volunteer Abroad
Location: Brazil
Posted: Jul 28, 2012
Overall:
10
Support:
10
Value:
10

Cross-Cultural Solutions

I spent 12 weeks working with Cross Cultural Solutions in Brazil, Salvador and also 6 weeks in the South Africa,Cape Town program. Both program were excellent, but my favorite was definately the Brazil program.

Initially, i was looking for a break in my life, and researched all the volunteer programs. Cross Cultural caught my eye; i also met a past volunteer from CCS who lives in San Francisco, who gave me more information on the program. What stood out to me was the cultural immersion aspect that Cross Cultural offers. The staff in Brazil have built relationships with the local community, and truly want the best experience for the volunteer as well as the placement. Its a two way street.The management at CCS Brazil are extremely professional, kind, caring and above all honest. Quite simply, they became my family for 12 weeks - from the housekeeper Lulu and cook Maria(like my second mothers!); Vini and Vivi management; security guards Nando and Jo; driver Ivan - the list is really endless.

I worked in an HIV/AIDS center for 3 months, and also taught English. I was struggling at first with my HIV placement because i did not know how to cope ; it was a very intense placement especially when you do not speak Portuguese, plus you are not sure how you can help. But after a while i grew comfortable, and CCS staff really helped and supported me by listening . Ultimately and ironically, i really feel that even though i was volunteer - the people that i have met and was helping really were helping me the whole time. It is a great feeling.

I literally flew back from South Africa CCS yesterday night, but felt it was important to write this review on Brazil CCS because i feel so strongly about this program. I have the utmost respect for my Brazil family and know that they have made an impact on my life. I could not have been luckier to have chosen this specific program.

Program: Volunteer Abroad
Location: Brazil
Posted: Jul 27, 2012
Overall:
10
Support:
10
Value:
10

Cross-Cultural Solutions

I first volunteered with Cross Cultral Solutions in 2006, I had just graduated from high school and I didn't know what the next step in my life should be. It was the best choice I have ever made. I was inspired by the kids I worked with and I knew that I wanted to be a teacher. I have been back every year to visit my kids at the orphanage. CCS will change your life.

Program: Volunteer Abroad
Location: Brazil
Posted: Jul 27, 2012
Overall:
10
Support:
10
Value:
10

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