Alumni Spotlight: Ally Barrale

Ally Barrale lives in New York, NY and currently goes to school for musical theatre. She enjoys volunteering around New York, quoting movies, and tap dancing.

Why did you decide to intern with CCS in Ghana?

Ally: I decided to volunteer in Ghana last summer because I knew it was going to be the only time I could volunteer internationally before I had to start working. I've always wanted to volunteer in Africa, but the only organizations I found were ones from my church, and I didn't want to go with a religious affiliation. That's when I found an advertisement for Cross Cultural Solutions hanging in the cafeteria of my university, and after a LOT of research and persuading my parents, I signed up for 3 weeks in Hohoe, Ghana.

Explore Ghana while volunteering!

Describe your day to day activities as an intern.

Ally: Our days started around 7:30am. Breakfast was served at 8am and then by 830 everyone was out the door and on their way to their volunteer placements (check out the CCS website to learn about all the things you can volunteer for). I taught kindergarden to a group of 40 children at a local elementary school.

At noon, we would go home for lunch. However, you had the option to stay with your volunteer placements for longer if you wanted (so long as you communicated it to the staff beforehand) and when you got home, a plate would be waiting for you. After lunch, we would either have a guest speaker, an Ewe lesson (the language they spoke in Hohoe), or a trip somewhere. We learned about the history of Ghana from a guest speaker, and climbed Mount Afadjato - the highest mountain in Ghana.

Dinner was then served around 6ish. Afterwards, you had free time. I usually played outside/played board games with Hohoe children near our home, went into town, read, or hung out at the homebase with the other volunteers. Hohoe had a town curfew that CCS enforced and it never became a problem. We had the weekends to ourselves. A group of volunteers and I planned trips to Accra and Cape Coast, both beautiful cities I recommend checking out if you decide to travel to Ghana!

What made this volunteer abroad experience unique and special?

Ally: As stated in my review of CCS on this website, the people I met during my travel abroad definitely made my experience special and something that I will remember. The other volunteers I met there are now good friends of mine and the people of Hohoe were so friendly and welcoming. The CCS staff at the homebase were also welcoming and warm, it felt so relaxing even though I was so far away from home.

How has this experience impacted your future?

Ally: This experience has definitely made me excited to travel in the future. Of course, I'm not made of money so I can't do that, but CCS actually has this alumni program that discounts your next volunteer trip every time you speak at a volunteer conference. All you have to do is talk about your experience volunteering abroad, something that is quite easy for me to do. My next stop is India!

Classroom full of children in Ghana