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.