Thailand

Cross-Cultural Solutions

Volunteered in Bangkok with CCS. Much more expensive than other similar companies, but they offer much more hand holding and have excellent orientation programs, so if this is new for you it may be worth the extra money. You are housed in a compound with other volunteers rather than staying with locals, although the staff are local.
I had two negative issues with the program. First, it didn't feel like we were really accomplishing anything. I was there two weeks and in that time was only scheduled to volunteer for 8 days out of 14, and only for about 2 1/2 hours a day. My placement was a day care that was well staffed and we were just sort of there. Once a day they would ask us to read a story to the kids, but that was about it. It felt more like we were the ones being baby sat. (Part of this was admittedly due to my limited time in country-- the more involved placements require longer stays.)
My second issue with the program was most of the volunteers seemed to be there more to experience the Bangkok scene than to actually do any volunteering good. Placements were frequently forsaken due to hangovers and late nights out. That fault is on the volunteers, not CCS, but it did kind of seem like the program was "dumbed down" and volunteering hours limited to accommodate other volunteers misplaced priorities.
All in all the program was very well organized, if maybe overly so, and the staff were great, but I left with a pretty empty and detached feeling. I had previously volunteered in Uganda for 2 weeks with Global Volunteer Network and, despite the similarly-limited time there, I left feeling much more connected with the people/culture and like I had made a difference with them (and they with me). With CCS I just left wondering why I had bothered. And considering that for my 2 week program GVN cost about $600 while CCS cost nearly $3000, it seems like I could have found better uses for my money.

Program: Volunteer Abroad
Location: Thailand
Posted: Apr 7, 2009
Overall:
6
Support:
10
Value:
3

Comments

I went to Cartago and would not recommend this location at all!!! I don't know anything about San Carlos.
Not sure this will get a response since it's so after the fact, but the person who replied and who had a negative experience in Costa Rica, I'm wondering which location you went to. I'm considering going to San Carlos, and I don't want to feel like a prisoner who can't interact with the locals. Thanks!
I couldn't agree more. I went to Costa Rica and I felt that we were unable to be a part of the culture of the city and really know the people. We were forbidden to drink and if caught were sent home, so people were afraid to leave the home base, especially women on their own because of safety issues. I ended up leaving early, I am not 20 something anymore and I left my family at home for this experience and I was not expecting to sit in a homebase with other Americans and not see the real culture around me!!! This experience was NOT good and I would not recommend this program to anyone. It is much too expensive for what you get and I felt like a 12 year old in a military camp for my whole stay. If you are looking to travel and volunteer abroad and have fun at the same time I would not recommend this program.
Hi, I volunteered with CCS in India and thought it was well-run and organized. My assignment was to teach computers/teach english. The computer teaching didn't work out - you need english -- but teaching english was a gas. TheThe biggest drawback were the 20 something volunteers who provided a lot of "drama" and seemed to be more interested in shopping than volunteering. I am impressed by the program and am going back.
I had a similar experience with CCS in Thailand. The volunteers were always drunk or smoking pot. The staff was never really there....and I didn't do much of anything at my site. However, I volunteered with CCS in India which was the opposite! It was an amazing experience. The staff is amazing and I felt like I was actually doing something worthwhile.

International Volunteer HQ (IVHQ)

I taught English through IVHQ in Chiang Rai, Thailand and it was one of my most memorable experiences of my life. I'll admit I had heard second hand terrible stories from people that volunteered with other companies so was a bit nervous before I went but to future volunteers - don't be. IVHQ do an outstanding job ensuring local staff are right (for the Thailand project anyway) and my project was incredible. Blanche (my program coordinator at ivhq) answered all my questions promptly before I left which was reassuring and never did I feel unsafe (which was another of my concerns before I left). I agree with the girl below who said if you could give this experience an 11 I would. If you are considering it - do it. You will not regret it.

Program: Volunteer Abroad
Location: Thailand
Posted: Feb 10, 2009
Overall:
10
Support:
10
Value:
10

Comments

My cousin and I are planning to go to Chiang Rai this December, so this is great to hear! We're so excited. Question: did you have power? We were wondering if there would be a way to charge our cameras :) Thanks!

Volunteering Solutions

Just came back from an amazing trip! Everything turned out great as people at volunteering solutions were great and helped at every step. A must visit if you are planning for Thailand...

Program: Volunteer Abroad
Location: Thailand
Posted: Feb 8, 2009
Overall:
10
Support:
10
Value:
9

International Volunteer HQ (IVHQ)

IVHQ is fantastic! Incredible value, there were other volunteers here from different organisations who paid DOUBLE what I paid for exactly the same experience. Email responses were extremely fast. I cannot wait to do another program through IVHQ.
The staff here in thailand were fantastic, i felt so welcomed and they were always trying to help make my stay easier and more comfortable!

Program: Volunteer Abroad
Location: Thailand
Posted: Jan 14, 2009
Overall:
10
Support:
10
Value:
10

Cross-Cultural Solutions

This is my second volunteer association with CCS and I am very, very pleased with their programs and the fantastic staff in both places. I can't say enough about them. I spent 12 weeks in Costa Rica and 6 weeks in Trang, Thailand and can hardly wait to do another tour as a volunteer. I wear my CCS shirt with pride and I am always telling people how great I have been treated and how concerned the organization is in getting me properly placed. The driver takes us shopping and picks us up at a given time. This is a good time for the volunteers to hang out together and get acquainted. The cooks prepare foods that you like, if you have a favorite. Clean beds and clean towels and clean rooms are always there for us. Some afternoons are planned with cultural experiences or you can sleep or plan your own entertainment. They try very hard to make sure we are comfortable. The driver takes us to our assignment, along with a packed lunch made by the cook...and then picks us all up when our day is done. Quite often I am approached by a staff member asking if everything is ok and do I have any questions or comments. They really want to know if there is any problem. I get a lot of compliments and respect from the public. Most people have commitments and cannot do what we are doing. We are lucky! This is sharing your life, your love and your culture with others. I LOVE IT ! I became an "adopted" family member of several of the teachers and students at the schools and also of the cooks, drivers and other staff members of CCS. I care about them. THEY CARE ABOUT ALL OF US. I cried when I left and I still find it difficult not to cry anymore. I have lots of good memories. Thanks CROSS-CULTURAL SOLUTIONS. I won't ever forget you. I will be back. EDG

Program: Volunteer Abroad
Location: Thailand
Posted: Nov 19, 2008
Overall:
10
Support:
10
Value:
10

Comments

I was wondering what is usually the average age of the people that do these programs?

Cross-Cultural Solutions

Not everybody is cut out to be a volunteer. Cross-Cultural Solutions made it easy for me to volunteer. They just told me what they needed and I was happy to do what they asked. It was that simple. I know there are cheaper organizations asking for volunteers but the ones I checked out, you had to get your own rides to your placement...or walk... you had to buy your own food and you had to live in homes with people you didn't know. I didn't care for any of those. With CCS they picked you up at the airport, took good care of you during your time and then the whole group would see you off at the airport again when you left. They always took care of me and the other volunteers. The Security Officer made his rounds often and let us know where he was. I felt like they always had a hold of my hand. That was important.

Program: Volunteer Abroad
Location: Thailand
Posted: Nov 19, 2008
Overall:
10
Support:
10
Value:
10

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