Cross-Cultural Solutions: Volunteer Abroad in Ghana

By Cross-Cultural Solutions Reviewer Verified   Reviews (16)   88% Rating

On the west coast of Africa lies a beautiful country with expanses of wilderness and coastline: Ghana, meaning "Warrior King," is a place known for its warm national character, where visitors are always welcomed as friends. Above all, the Ghanaians are peaceful, caring, and hospitable.

Volunteer with Cross-Cultural Solutions and you'll experience not only the great things Ghana is famous for, but also a side that you never knew existed. By connecting with the local staff and serving others, you'll experience Ghana not as a tourist, but more as a member of the community.

For two decades, CCS volunteers have traveled around the world to work on sustainable service projects. Volunteer in Ghana to help improve education for local children, assist with the care of children, work to empower girls and women through education, assist children or adults with disabilities, support those aging with dignity, or provide education and outreach surrounding important health topics.

View Program Information
Location: 
  • Ghana
Volunteer Types: 
Family
Sexual Health
Medical
Education
Computer Literacy
Service Learning
Program Length: 
1-2 weeks
2-4 weeks
1-3 months
Cost: 
$500 - $2,000 (USD)
$2,000 - $5,000 (USD)
See site for details.
Cost Description: 

WHAT'S INCLUDED!
Home-Base: Lodging, Meals, Ground Transportation, In-Country Cultural Activities and Excursions, Language Lessons, Comprehensive Travel Medical Insurance.
Homestay: Volunteers live and eat with a local family, some ground transportation is available. Comprehensive Travel Medical Insurance is included.

Languages: 
English
Housing: 
Home-stay
Volunteer House
Travel: 
Participants travel to the program independently (not in a group with other participants).
Some travel is required during the program.
Application: 
Health Requirement

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Program Reviews (16)

88%
Positive
Leave a Review
  • Impact
    85%
  • Support
    88%
  • Fun
    86%
  • Value
    81%
  • Safety
    93%
  • Jessica
    Age: 19-24
    Female
    Broomfield, colorado
    Other
    10/10
    The best month of my life
    12/17/2015

    I loved every minute of my trip to Ghana, but my favorite moment was when the staff took us to the wli waterfall and as we hiked up a short trail we came upon the beauty of the waterfall. You could see a rainbow forming upon the water and the force of the waterfall was amazing. Of course it was a great way to beat the heat during the summer of Ghana. They had little shops and trinkets at the beginning of the waterfall where they had hand carved animals and hand made blankets baskets and anything you could have wanted. Truly one of the best days of my life.

    How could this program be improved?

    Longer volunteer times since we only got to volunteer for half the day I would have loved to spend the whole entire day at the school.

    Photos:
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  • Jari
    Age: 51 or older
    Female
    Kansas City, MO
    Northwestern University
    10/10
    Ghanian Artistry
    12/17/2015

    I spent three weeks in Ghana in 1999 on behalf of Cross Cultural Solutions (CCS). With the help of my local CCS partners, I traveled the country, interviewing and photographing artists. Upon returning home, I worked with two prior CCS volunteers who had enjoyed the same experience. Together, we authored a book that became a funding tool for what was to become a new Accra (capital city) Art Museum.

    I did exactly what I would have done as a visitor and got the intrinsic reward of contributing to the culture and meeting people I would otherwise been unable to access. It was a wonderful and enlightening experience with great support, both in country and In the US, from Cross Cultural Solutions. HIGHLY recommend!

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  • Sophie
    Age: 19-24
    Female
    Berkeley
    Pitzer College
    9/10
    Amazing experience
    11/11/2014

    I loved my time with CCS Ghana! The staff was incredible, the community was safe and friendly and I met life long volunteer friends in the home base. I would suggest staying as long as possible to have the most time to adjust and really learn about the culture/have the most impact and build the most relationships.

    How could this program be improved?

    Cultural awareness activities for the volunteers to not only learn about the Ghanaian culture but to reflect upon their own and recognize the differences.

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  • Kristen
    Age: 31-50
    Female
    New York
    University at Albany- SUNY
    10/10
    I wish I could have stayed longer.
    11/11/2014

    It was hot. It was my first time in Africa and I was nervous when I stepped off of the plane. The weather was not helping. I very quickly realized that my worries were for nothing and the heat would be a fun part of the experience because the staff, the students I worked with, the people of Hohoe that I met and my fellow volunteers provided me with such an immediate sense of family that I can't even remember any negative feelings creeping in during my week there.
    This trip really showed me how people with common goals and positive attitudes can get great things done together. We all came home from placement exhausted every day but after our delicious meals we found new energy to play outside with the kids in the neighborhood. Teaching the students and being in Ghana gave me so much that it almost seems unfair. I thought I went to help others. Maybe I needed their help more.

    How could this program be improved?

    This is hard to pick something to improve. The ride from the airport to the house was an hour longer because a bridge was out. Hopefully it's been fixed.

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  • Kaleigh
    Age: 19-24
    Female
    Waterloo, Ontario, Canada
    Wilfrid Laurier University
    8/10
    Gone to Ghana: CCS Trip
    11/10/2014

    I thought that CCS provides excellent services to individuals searching for a short time in a voluntourism setting. There was a solid mix of time in placement and 'cultural activities' for fun. Mornings were spent at placement, and afternoons were spent exploring and participating in cultural activities to teach us more about the country and culture we were living in.

    How could this program be improved?

    The program is run on a 2 week rotation. Any volunteer there for more than 2 weeks ends up repeating the same activities, and not furthering their cultural experience. Allowing for more time in the local community (as opposed to travelling with others) would be beneficial. I found that as a volunteer staying for an extended period of time, I did not enjoy the experience as much in my last few weeks because the programming was so repetitive.

    Photos:
    Making Friends in the Market
    A Day at Placement
    Exploring Ghana
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  • Alexis
    Age: 31-50
    Female
    United States, Washington DC
    Howard University
    7/10
    Good experience, room for improvement
    11/10/2014

    Had a great experience volunteering in Hohoe with CCS. The placement was an incredible opportunity, as was the Ewe education and cultural events. The Hohoe program director was unprofessional. Some of the students who volunteered for a week were very disrespectful and impacted the trip negatively for others. Really enjoyed the weekend getaways.

    How could this program be improved?

    Better leadership. More scrutiny in selecting volunteers. (A group of VERY disrespectful teenagers came for a week, and significantly impacted the groups experience in a negative way)

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  • Robin
    Age: 51 or older
    Female
    Indianapolis, Indiana, USA
    University of Washington- Seattle
    9/10
    Ideal Volunteer Experience for Making A Difference, Not a Donation
    11/10/2014

    I spent 2 weeks teaching reading to 7th graders at a parochial school in late November 2011, but CCS usually requires a 3 week volunteer minimum and we overlapped with some recent college grads on longer internships. The local CCS staff were organized (especially by African standards), diligent, warm and friendly. We stayed in a newly built, comfortable, dormitory-style compound (4-6 people to a room with a shared bath) surrounded by a waist-high wall and took a mini-bus or taxi to our volunteer jobs each day where we worked for 3-4 hours. This doesn't sound like very long, but you work hard! In my case, the teacher completely disappeared for the entire 2 weeks after the first hour the first day leaving me completely on my own, though this may have been because I came well prepared. Afternoons were reserved for language lessons, cultural lectures, field trips to outdoor attractions and some free time to relax or walk into town to shop and explore.

    The homebase was spacious, with electricity to run fans and lights plus running (cold) water for toilets, showers and washing. We arranged for brief, nightly internet access for work purposes, but in general CCS discourages volunteers from spending lots of time on computers. There were internet cafes in town (a 30 minute way to the center), but there were lengthy waits for erratic and unreliable connections. As more mature volunteers unwilling to risk getting sick we ate all our meals at the homebase which were prepared by professional cooks using imported meats (mostly chicken) and local fruits and vegetables. CCS provided unlimited bottled water, but you're on your own if you want soda and they have a no-alcohol policy during the week and at the homebase. Only one person in our group suffered a GI illness. We had guards for the compound, but their main job seemed to be keeping neighborhood goats, chickens and kids out of the yard. None of us ever felt unsafe while in Ghana where tourists are warmly welcomed though women need to stick with modest attire.

    CCS met us in Accra, the capital, when we arrived and arrangd transportation to and from Hohoe, a 4-6 hour drive (depending on traffic) to the Volta Region. We found out our volunteer assignments about 2 weeks in advance, but you should come prepared to be flexible as the local situation is fluid and can change quickly. For example, one microfinance organization shut down without advance notice for a week to allow their staff to travel to a funeral. My school didn't inform CCS of upcoming exams that would prevent regular class instruction until the Thursday before exam week. If you come prepared to integrate into the local organizations on their terms rather than arrive with an agenda then you'll be fine. In my case, I felt less anxious by having more structure so I partnered with a local school to bring books, curriculum plans, and tests to use then I donated all of it to CCS at the end for future volunteers. If you're working with younger students then there were some craft supplies and books at the CCS homebase, but if you have something special planned to share or something from your culture then bring it as local supplies are hit and miss. We were free to travel personally over the weekend, but note that bus connections are prohibitively time consuming for a weekend so you must rent a car and driver to get anywhere. It's 7 hours minimum to the coast to tour the Slave Forts and about 3 hours to Lake Volta. This wasn't a problem for us as everyone wanted to go somewhere, but you're responsible for organizing it which is best done in advance. CCS can help you find a local driver, but they're not travel agents.

    If you're looking for a volunteer assignment that requires you to live on the local economy, fend for yourself in most instances and really suffer, then CCS is not for you. CCS approaches the volunteer assignments in a fairly structured (though flexible) way that alternates time volunteering with cultural lectures, language lessons and a modest amount of free time. You will get a flavor for life in a low resource country (cold water showers, hand-washing your laundry) without having to actually suffer through the worst of it. If you accept the premise that personally interacting with organizations on their terms and helping them advance their mission, not yours (i.e., you are not allowed to donate anything but your time) is the approach you want to take then CCS is perfect. If you have a high need to make donations directly and live on the local economy with lots of free time then I would look elsewhere.

    How could this program be improved?

    We had enormous difficulty finding any local language (Ewe) resources outside of Ghana. Most people speak English, but I would have appreciated more help from CCS to learn the language further in advance. They did send us a file, but not everyone could access it.

    Photos:
    CCS Homebase
    Fun, but rustic local nightlife!
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  • adupre
    Age: 25-30
    Female
    Charleston, South Carolina
    Louisiana State University- Baton Rouge
    10/10
    My time in Hohoe
    11/10/2014

    It was unfortunate that I could only spend a week in Hohoe because I immediately feel in love with the country! From the moment I arrived in Ghana I was welcomed by Makafui, the in country director and upon arriving at the home base I felt like I was part of the CCS family. The entire in country staff was so welcoming and helping. The really make it a point to give you the best experience. I was happy to find that my placement was at a local school and I chose to work with a JHS 1 class. My time working with the students in that class was so rewarding and positive that I look forward to returning and seeing the progress each student has made. I have nothing but positive things to say about my experience with CCS and my time in Ghana. Ghana truly is a beautiful place and the people are some of the most friendly people I have interacted with while volunteering!

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  • Lauren
    Age: 25-30
    Female
    Chicago, Illinois
    Miami University
    8/10
    Ghana is an incredible country
    11/04/2014

    Overall, this is a very well organized program, with a great support structure. The program management staff was just okay, but the in-country staff was absolutely amazing. I will remember them forever. It's been a while, but I wonder if Makafui is still there running the show!

    When I did the program, I was placed in Akatsi, a very small "town". I'm not sure if they're placing there anymore. Our volunteer house was in the middle of a small village, where we were greeted by the village chief every time we entered! The housing was very safe, but did feel a bit removed from the community in terms of immersion.

    The food the staff cooked was incredible - more than you could ever eat, but we'd force ourselves just to see the look of joy on their faces!

    Don't forget to take your malaria pills! I got it while I was there, despite being on the pills, but I was well taken care of.

    How could this program be improved?

    I had no idea what type of volunteering I'd be doing until a night or two before I left. I was placed as an "English Teacher" in a local private school. I adored my co-teacher (we became quite close) and the kids (omg, the kids, I fell in love).

    But, the problem is that I had no guidance or structure, and no real direction for what I should be doing or how I should be helping. I really just ended up playing with the kids most of the time and singing songs. I feel like I didn't make much of an impact beyond the cultural exchange experience.

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  • Fiona
    Age: 18 or younger
    Female
    New York
    9/10
    My Experience
    09/18/2014

    I thought this was a great experience. I worked in schools and loved it. Teaching kids how to add and subtract is incredibly rewording and so much fun. We also went to water falls, the market, monkey sanctuaries, which are just fun memories I'll never forget.

    How could this program be improved?

    I don't know. Of course we didn't have the food or showers or electronics we have here, but it meant that we could get a better idea of the culture surrounding us and it also made sure that the volunteers didn't get special treatment then the people living in the area, which to me I thought was really important.

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  • Leigh03
    Age: 19-24
    Female
    New York, NY
    9/10
    Three Weeks in Hohoe, Ghana
    01/04/2013

    I would never change the time I spent in Hohoe, Ghana. This town consisted of the friendliest and most welcoming people I've ever met. The town also has some of the most gorgeous scenery.

    Some great things about this company:

    - staff: The staff was exceptional. Always willing to help me if I had a problem or needed to talk. The chef's food was delicious, the place was always clean, our sheets were changed every couple of days, and all of them were so friendly and fun to be around. I miss the staff so much!!

    - schedules: Once we got there, we had a schedule for each week. These schedules consisted of 4 hours of volunteer work a day, breakfast, lunch, and dinner, free time, and either a workshop or a trip somewhere. Hohoe is conveniently located near Ghana's largest mountain and highest waterfall - both breathtaking to see. The best thing about the schedules though, was that you had the option of doing something else if you wanted. For instance, instead of coming back for lunch, sometimes I would stay at my volunteer placement for a couple more hours, and I would come back to have my lunch waiting for me in the kitchen. It was nice that the schedule wasn't so strict because I felt like I was getting what I wanted out of my time in Ghana.

    -free time: Although there wasn't much free time because of the schedules, the time we did have was so much fun. There is plenty to do in Hohoe. The town has a lot of shops, internet cafes, and eateries to go to. We also travelled on the weekends to different parts of Ghana, such as Accra and Cape Coast.

    Things to be prepared for:

    -The initial landing in Accra, Ghana (the capital) till the point I got to the CCS Home Base in Hohoe was somewhat scary. I advise you double and triple check with the program leader as to how the airport pickup process will commence.

    -Be aware that you are on 'Africa Time' as our director called it. Sometimes you will be waiting for an hour/two hours for certain events or people.

    - If you are volunteering at elementary schools, be prepared to see how they discipline their students. It was hard for me to watch.

    - Be aware that the classes will not be organized for you. Don't be afraid to take control of the class and plan an agenda.

    Bottom line, the best thing about volunteering with CCS in Ghana was the people I met. The other volunteers are now some of my closest friends, the staff made me feel like I was in my second home, and the children/people of Hohoe were so friendly and happy. If I could go back and do it again, I would in a heartbeat.

    How could this program be improved?

    If I could change one thing, it would be the cost of the program. I wanted to stay for more than three weeks so I could travel around Africa, but three weeks was already too expensive.

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  • L.
    Age: 31-50
    Male
    Baltimore, Maryland
    2/10
    Don't go
    12/05/2012

    so many reasons. I got dropped off at a local nonprofit every day with no real coordinator, without fellow volunteers. There was a poor, clearly badly paid guard at our house that slept on a dirty mat, poorly organized. all of us ended up buying our own food on the streets. They seem to just drop each person off at one of a variety of local nonprofits with no real plans and nothings organized. I feel I REALLY wasted my money and won't go back

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  • Candy
    Age: 31-50
    Female
    Atlanta, GA
    Other
    10/10
    It changed my life!
    07/13/2012

    I really enjoyed the volunteer program to Ghana and kudos to corporate CCS and their Ghana on-site staff, too.

    I worked as a caregiver in an orphanage and the children were welcoming, grateful and precious. I really looked forward to seeing them everyday and I continue to think about them...almost 3 years later.

    I think I got more out of the program than the children. I was in their life for a few weeks, however, they will forever remain in my heart.

    They changed my life for the better forever.

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  • MommaD
    Age: 51 or older
    Female
    Pottsville, PA
    Drexel University
    10/10
    Ghana will change your life!
    05/02/2012

    Ghana was the most primitive of my volunteer experiences. The town where I lived for a month had open sewer, mostly dirt roads, and lost electrical power daily. We slept under mosquito netting and took showers with buckets of cold water. We also washed our clothes in buckets as well. That said, I would do it all over again in a heartbeat. Each and every person in the community welcomes you with open arms. I felt such a sense of purpose everyday. I taught kindergarten in a school that lacked basic supplies we in the US take for granted, but still the children were happy to come and learn. As I would walk home from work I would see children playing with old bike tires or tin cans tied to a string or playing in a field with an old ball that was barely inflated. The remarkable thing about this is that the children were so happy with so little. Teenage girls and boys would help care for their younger brothers and sisters. There was such a sense of family and community in this town. It was as if they got it right and the rest of the world needed to follow their example. I have been many places in my life but I left my heart in Ghana.

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  • Lvazquez
    Age: 25-30
    Female
    Houston
    Interdenominational Theological Center
    10/10
    Volunteering in Ghana
    10/13/2011

    This program was amazing. I loved where my placement was and liked how they did things with us in the afternoon so that we could get a better understanding of the cultural. The staff was amazing there and loved showing us how to cook, play their games, and whatever else. They were all very supportive and easy to talk to. I would definitely use them to go again!

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About the provider

The Cross-Cultural Solutions Volunteer Abroad experience allows students and travelers to gain valuable experience overseas while working side by side with local individuals and communities to make an impact.

Since 1995, over 35,000 people have volunteered with Cross-Cultural Solutions, providing meaningful and sustainable volunteer services to international communities, and contributing responsibly to local economies.

Volunteers gain valuable experience working in areas such as education, healthcare, and social services. Visit the Cross-Cultural Solutions website to learn more about how we're changing everything.

Affiliations: AGA, USA Gap Year Fairs

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