Cross-Cultural Solutions

Fully Verified What's this?
8.9 / 10 after 102 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.

Submit a review

About a week ago, I returned from my first venture out of the United States. I had traveled for 2 weeks to New Delhi, India, to volunteer and tour with Cross-Cultural Solutions (CCS). I pushed myself outside of my comfort zone by signing up for the program solo, but I cannot say that I was terribly nervous given the preparation and support I received from the staff at the CCS headquarters in New York.

My experience not only met my expectations, but far exceeded them. The in-country staff was incredible. They were welcoming, friendly, and attentive to our needs. They answered any question we had and provided us with plenty of information about the Indian culture. They took great care in making sure that our interests and skills matched our volunteer placement as best they could. I loved my placement teaching conversational English and interview skills to teens from low-income neighborhoods.

They also planned fascinating and educational cultural immersion activities: tours of a local mosque, hindu temple, and sikh temple, guest speakers, Hindi lessons, cooking lessons, traditional dance demonstrations, bridal preparation demonstration, museum visits, shopping at local markets.

Additionally, the accommodations were quite comfortable and clean. I really grew attached to the community in which our apartment flat was located. The food was prepared by members of the CCS staff daily and was delicious.

I feel that my experience with CCS was a well-rounded, beautiful, life-changing experience.

I definitely plan to keep up with the organization and show my support in any way I can. I want to spread the word about what an amazing organization this is so that more people can have the opportunity to share my expeience. I also hope to go on another CCS trip in the near future. I am grateful for all of the wonderful people I met in the CCS India staff, my fellow volunteers, and the kids that I worked with through my volunteer placement.

Program:
Location:
Posted: April 14, 2014
Overall:
10
Support:
10
Value:
10
By: kpeter6
Age:
28

I participated in this program as a part of my gap year and it turned out to be one of the most extraordinary experiences of my life--my greatest regret now is that I didn't stay for more time. For anyone considering a gap year specifically, a big part of the program that was really special to me as a gap year student was the time allotted to explore Lima independently, particularly given my age and that "between high school and college" feeling. Since I was there for a while, this was an aspect that allowed me to experience a city in a way which was not entirely tourist-y and to feel as though I could learn more about Peru in an organic and self-guided manner.

This is not to say that there was not an incredible amount of support and guidance from the staff that worked there. They take special care to ensure that everyone is comfortable and generally happy and are particularly concerned with securing the safety of all those who participate in the program. They have guards at the house at all times and are always on hand to dispense tips for being careful when going around the city. This is not necessarily because Lima is a particularly violent or dangerous place to be in, but rather, as the volunteers are foreigners in a very large city, thoughtful and pragmatic considerations.

Of course, one of the most important aspects of the program was the volunteering. I worked at a government daycare for children from families at the poverty line, and it was an extraordinary experience. I was able to form relationships with the teachers/staff, children, and abuelos there that I still continue to have. CCS ensured that I had access to materials for the classroom and other things I requested--they did an excellent job with placement for me. That having been said, for those seeking a volunteering experience that deals more with physical labor such as house-building or well-digging, this may not be what you expect. That's not to say that corralling twenty to thirty children under the hot sun is not exhausting, but my volunteer experience was one which demanded a slightly different skill set yet nonetheless was one of the most fulfilling experiences of my life, and I think for that reason ought to be given the same consideration for anybody looking to volunteer abroad.

Consequently, I highly recommend a stint with CCS Peru because of the excellent balance it strikes between structure and freedom, the care and attentiveness of the staff, the attention paid to the safety of its volunteers, and the unbelievably rewarding volunteer work available. I can't wait to go back!

Program:
Location:
Posted: April 11, 2014
Overall:
10
Support:
10
Value:
10
By: azhang123
Age:
18

Since I had no international volunteer experience and knew I was going to be traveling alone, I wanted to be sure I chose a very reputable organization with which to partner. Cross Cultural Solutions (CCS) exceeded my expectations. Immediately after registering, I received my initial packet of information, followed soon after by a welcoming phone call. Regular communication continued by either email, phone, or through the CCS website until my departure. Although I don't think you ever entirely know what to expect, there were no surprises.
From the moment I was met at the airport, I felt safe with the CCS staff. Transportation was reliable, the house staff was excellent providing security, and meals were home cooked fresh daily. Although tentative schedules were prepared for the week, the staff proved very flexible with special requests by many of the volunteers.
My experience at the designated volunteer site was amazing. We were warmly welcomed and made to feel a part of the site "family." I was fortunate to work with seniors as requested, and after a very quick week, actually felt sad to be leaving. The thank-you received by the volunteers was personal and sincere.
A day of volunteering with CCS is not just about "working." The volunteer experience is completed in the morning, and following lunch, there is an opportunity for a cultural experience in the afternoon and/or evening. Staff, along with other volunteers, also had suggestions for free time activities.
My experience was positive in every way. My only regret is that my Spanish was not good enough to converse with everyone involved, and saying a mere Gracias when leaving just didn't seem sufficient. Somehow I feel that I got more out of my one week abroad than I was able to give. I hope that wasn't the case.
If someone is at all hesitant about an international volunteer experience, I highly recommend registering with Cross Cultural Solutions, placing your trust in their organization, prepare as necessary, and then just relax and allow the experience to unfold.

Program:
Location:
Posted: March 22, 2014
Overall:
10
Support:
10
Value:
10
By: tschul2
Age:
54

Cross Cultural Solutions gave me an opportunity of a lifetime! I had always wanted to volunteer abroad for several years and after some research, I decided CCS would be a great start and it was definitely the best decision of my life. The program specialist works closely with you, getting you prepared to the fullest before you depart to your trip. I had many questions as I was beginning my application process and they were all thoroughly answered. Next arriving to your home base can make someone anxious especially if this is something they are doing for the very first time in their life. And that was me. Being that it was my first time doing a volunteer abroad trip, I was a bit nervous about how I would acclimate to the new culture and how I would do at my volunteer placement. However, right when I got to Guatemala, the in-country staff relieved many of my anxieties. They were extremely pleasant and so helpful in making me feel comfortable and right at home. And the volunteer placement was awesome. It was such a rewarding experience. I learned so much from the ladies that I helped at the elderly center there. I will cherish the time spent with them and will never forget this experience. It was an eye-opener for me and I wish everyone gets the opportunity to do something like this in their lifetime. Another thing I loved about CCS was their way of immersing you into the culture. Each day they had a cultural activity planned for us which gave us the chance to learn about the people, the culture, the language and the country we were visiting. CCS seriously over succeeded my expectations. I went in not know this experience would change my life, but it did. And now I can't wait to do my next trip. I want to try all of the locations CCS works with. I highly recommend everyone to look into this program. You won't be disappointed!

Program:
Location:
Posted: February 3, 2014
Overall:
10
Support:
10
Value:
10
By: nagrap
Age:
24

The volunteer work through Cross-Cultural Solutions was such a fulfilling experience. The staff at CCS are extremely helpful and prompt in the pre-departure by frequently checking up, sending updates, and answering any questions. The volunteer work was extremely rewarding, and the cultural activities that CCS provided were phenomenal in terms of providing a holistic lens of the country, along with its cultural uniqueness to be celebrated and its issues to be acknowledged and acted upon.
The in-country staff does an incredible job of making the volunteer feel at home with their friendly companionship and awareness of how you are personally feeling. The focus of exposure and education in addition to the service work allowed this trip to unexpectedly be one that teaches volunteers both the tangible and intangible aspects of this life that are so essential to be recognized.
I am considering traveling through CCS in the future, and I am extremely delighted in the opportunity. If you are considering volunteering abroad, I have hope that CCS will provide an opportunity for a life-changing experience.

Program:
Location:
Posted: February 2, 2014
Overall:
10
Support:
10
Value:
10
Age:
19

Pages