I volunteered with CCS in Costa Rica for two weeks, working in an orphanage in Cartago for both weeks. The information that CCS provided in advance when I was preparing for my trip was very thorough and I could access it on demand via the website at times that were convenient for me. I felt as well-informed as I could be before arriving in Costa Rica. The in-country orientation after arrival was more specific to my assignment and other local matters and was exceptionally comprehensive. CCS made resources available such as tip sheets from previous volunteers as well as access to local CCS employees with direct knowledge of the orphanage. The CCS staff in Cartago all were amazing, from the driver who greeted me at the airport all the way up to the country director. They made me feel welcome and made it easy to assimilate quickly and get ready for my first day of volunteer work. They could answer every question and someone was always available to lend a hand. The housing is basic as you might expect but comfortable and safe. There was round the clock security, and plenty of snacks and beverages available at all times, not to mention comfortable hammocks for lounging time. The cultural activities available to volunteers were diverse so there was something for everyone -- seeing local sights, taking dance lessons, or learning to make homemade tortillas, among other things. My experience at the orphanage will have a lasting impact on me. The children there don't normally have the opportunity to get the kind of attention that we as volunteers are able to provide to them while we are there. Even on tiring days when there are a lot of kids present, you know that it matters that you came. All in all this experience was both fulfilling and fun. I would volunteer with CCS again in the future.
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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.
Volunteering with CCS in Costa Rica for 3 months was the best idea I have ever had. I was a recent college graduate looking for something to do to fill my time between job searching and figuring out life as a post grad. This was exactly the experience I needed in my life. I volunteered for 4 weeks in a Special Education School, then another 4 weeks in an Orphanage, and my last 4 weeks I was in a Regular School teaching English. The intrinsic rewards I took away from each placement was unbelievable. The sense of gratification that while I was only in each placement for 4 weeks at a time these kids had such a huge impact on my life and outlook on life!
The cultural learning activities that the staff takes you on was always fun. I saw so much during the work week. The rain forest, coffee plantation, Irazu volcano, and the butterfly house were among my favorites. The staff was absolutely amazing. Everyone is friendly and willing to do whatever it is to make you feel comfortable. It was comforting as someone who only knew basic Spanish that the staff spoke English. The living conditions are clean and safe. The night guard was friendly and very alert of activity outside the gates.
As a CCS alum I can not wait to continue doing my part with this organization and continue to explore the world while making an impact in the lives of those in need of a helping hand.
I spent one week in Hohoe, Ghana with Cross Cultural Solutions. This was one of the most amazing and memorable experiences of my life. I was picked up by the in country director and was able to talk to him the whole way to the home base. He shared with my information about Ghana and the Volta Region, which is where I was stationed. Upon arriving at the home base I was greeted with a hot meal and a bedroom ready for me and my belongings. While in Hohoe, I felt so welcomed by the staff and within the first day felt like part of the family. My placement was at a local private school and I chose to work with Junior High School students. The experience and relationship that I made with the students was something I will never forget. The staff at the school was so welcoming and enjoyed my being there. The town of Hohoe itself is such a great place. I never felt unsafe walking around and everyone was extremely friendly. While most people speak English, they would say various phrases to me in Ewe to help me learn and were happy to correct me if I stumbled with my wording. The children were also excited when I tried to speak Ewe to them and would laugh and correct me when I messed up. The cultural excursions were very fun and memorable. Atsu, the house manager, spent most of the time with us while on excursions and knew very much about each location and was able to answer any questions and also give his input. Leaving my class on the last day was a very emotional day for me and also leaving Ghana altogether was very hard. I plan to make another trip to Hohoe in the next few months to be re-united with my Ghanian family!
This was an amazing experience that I will be doing again. Upon arrival the staff were very welcoming and they immediately treated me like family. I felt very safe at all times and had no problems getting around town or to excursions. The excursions were great! We visited a waterfall, climbed to the second tallest mountain in Ghana, visited local farms, and more! I was placed to volunteer in a local private school and I loved all the children. They welcome you with open arms and love to see you everytime you come. I will miss their smiles! I have made great friends on this trip with the staff because they are so much and make it fun for you. Do not be afraid of anything here, it is very safe and everyone is very friendly and welcoming to visitiors. The community loves visitors! I would recommend this program to everyone because it is something you will enjoy throughout! Go to Ghana!! I loved it and will return!
My 16 year old daughter and I volunteered with Cross Cultural Solutions in Hohoe, Ghana this summer. Cross Cultural Solutions is a top notch organization that I highly recommend for a great volunteer experience and authentic cultural experience! The staff were very professional, took care of our every need, made us feel comfortable and safe.
We were matched perfectly with a kindergarten and first grade classroom at a local primary school. We were able to see our positive educational impact in the two weeks of service. The CCS staff provided the needed supply's to teach and the college students that we shared the house with were so helpful to offer creative teaching ideas that had worked for them.
We woke the first morning to roosters crowing outside our windows and the view of women with happy babies strapped to their backs walking down the path to the community well with water containers on their heads. Goats, sheep and chickens roamed the neighborhood. The neighbors were so very friendly and welcoming.
My daughter and I enjoyed all of the cultural activities such as visiting Tafi Atome monkey sanctuary( feeding a Mona monkey that hoped on my shoulder), hiking to and swimming in the highest waterfall in west Africa, climbing the highest mountain in west Africa, batik lessons, language lessons, visiting a witch doctor and bone setter, pounding cassava, weaving kente clothe visiting a church and having traditional skirts made for us.
We hope to participate in another Cross Cultural Solutions program in the future.
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