Cross-Cultural Solutions

Program Reviews

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Aubrey
9/10
Yes, I recommend this program

CCS Guatemala, Tecpan Review

Cross Cultural Solutions allowed for me to experience more than just a volunteer trip, it was a unique travel experience that allowed us participants to completely engage ourselves in the local culture while also volunteering at a nearby school. The school was only in session until noon, which also ended our day of volunteering. This trip was unique because I felt as if we got the best of both worlds, cultural immersion as well as volunteering. The second half of the day was spent engaging ourselves in the local community as we attended different excursions everyday. Both halves of the day were equally as valuable as both opened my eyes to the extreme poverty that this town experienced. It allowed me to see a different perspective of life, as people lived fulfilled lives with little to nothing. By far my favorite memory would simply be the interactions I had with the school children. This being in the classroom, in the garden, or during breaks. This is a life changing trip that I recommend to all.

What would you improve about this program?
This program was incredible and I would recommend it to anyone interesting in learning more about Guatemalan culture while also making a difference in a small-town school. I feel as if the program does have room for improvement. The main thing that I was taken back by was the large the price attached to the program. However, CCS does a good job of guiding participants through the process of how to fundraise money if needed. Another improvement the program could see is providing a detailed itinerary before the volunteers arrived. Often times we would be driving to a cultural activity without being told where we were going. I was always pleased with where we ended up, however knowing in advance would have been nice.
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Michael
10/10
Yes, I recommend this program

Azrou, Morocco was amazing

I was blessed to spend two weeks in Azrou, Morocco with Cross Cultural Solutions. It was an amazing experience and something that I highly recommend to everyone. The country and people are so wonderful. I felt 100% safe the entire time and never had any issues. Everyone we interacted with had a big smile and a welcoming spirit. The volunteer experience they set up will leave a lasting impression in my mind. The whole team was great but especially Mohamed. He was the best. Morocco was fantastic and I hope to visit again. CCS was great!

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Quinn
9/10
Yes, I recommend this program

Wonderful experience, could have more language immersion

I attended CCS's Spanish Immersion Gap program Feb-Apr 2017. We spent a month each in Peru, Costa Rica, and Guatemala. CCS has a home base for volunteers in each country, and in all three locations the staff were lovely. They were primarily Spanish-speaking which gave volunteers a great opportunity to practice their skills while getting to know them. As far as accommodations go, the only complaint I have is that there were no fans in our dorm in Peru. Everything else was fantastic- food, beds, cleanliness, and support if we needed it. CCS provided cultural activities in each location- we toured ruins in Lima, had dance and cooking classes in Costa Rica, and attended a Mayan wedding in Guatemala (among lots more things). Weekends and some afternoons were also left free for volunteers to do as they pleased. My group took advantage of this to explore the countries more, like going to Machu Picchu in Peru, San Jose in Costa Rica, and Lake Atitlan in Guatemala.

Volunteer placements were well-managed and CCS was attentive to where volunteers wanted to help, within the realms of what their respective communities needed. There was an issue with a few of my fellow gappers in Costa Rica at the HIV home, but once it was brought to CCS's attention the problem was quickly resolved. I loved all of my placements: in Peru I worked with 5-year olds, in Costa Rica I was at a senior center/nursing home, and in Guatemala I volunteered with deaf kids. I learned something new at each placement, not only about myself, but also gained a closer look at the cultures of each country which I think couldn't be achieved without being incorporated so thoroughly.

As far as the Spanish immersion aspect of the program goes, it was easy to speak minimal Spanish over the course of the trip. It is up to each volunteer to seek out opportunities to practice, which is easy to do if you look. I wish we could have had more Spanish classes (we had 2 a week in each country), if only to develop a firm foundation to build off of. Once again, the staff in each country were great help with speaking. They were patient, kind, and happy to answer any questions we had.

It was an incredible experience that I think everyone should have the opportunity to do. I met an incredible number of wonderful people whose experiences and stories will stay with me as long as I can remember.

What would you improve about this program?
I would have liked to have more Spanish classes every week.
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Naomi
10/10
Yes, I recommend this program

Morocco - a wonderful and unexpected trip with CCS

I recently found myself in-between jobs and decided to do something 'big' with my time off. Two weeks in Rabat certainly fit the bill! It was an eye-opening, delightful trip. I had the opportunity to visit three volunteer sites - the children's hospital, the school (to teach advanced English), and the orphanage. It is clear that CCS volunteers are welcomed and appreciated at all sites. The CCS onboarding program gives you plenty of ideas to prepare for your volunteer assignment, but there are also many resources at home base that can be used to augment or adjust your plans.
As noted by other reviewers, you have afternoons to learn more about Islam, the Arabic language, cooking lessons, or visit local sites. Safety was a concern for my family... we simply didn't know a whole lot about Morocco in advance. There was no need to worry. There are ample security measures in place, but I felt safer in Rabat than I do in parts of my hometown (Houston). Safety extended to the personal trips I took on weekends (with a housemate). We were on our own but CCS checked on us daily, just to be sure our experience was going well.
I am thrilled to have visited Rabat. It's a beautiful, interesting city. I also had the chance to visit Fes, Tangier, and a few other sites on my time off. Now I can say I rode a camel!
Morocco is a fascinating place. Thanks to this program, I genuinely feel like a better world citizen!

What would you improve about this program?
No suggestions.
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Julia
10/10
Yes, I recommend this program

Amazing Experience

I had the best summer of my life because of this incredible program. I got to travel to many different places in Guatemala and visit so many diverse locations. I went zip-lining, made chocolate, brought souvenirs in markets and so many other fun activities. I loved teaching in the school! The kids were so sweet and really appreciated us teaching them and playing soccer at recess. I recommend this to anyone!

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Cori
10/10
Yes, I recommend this program

Feeling at Home

One of my favorite parts of the trip was how homey I felt in the house. Guatemala was where I especially felt this. I loved the cooks I loved the security guards and I love the staff, Virginia the director would braid my hair while I sat on the couch! Everyone was so nice. When I had to say goodbye to Faby the program specialist, that was when I cried the most. I loved seeing her everyday, she was always happy and nice and I loved her so much, she was the hardest goodbye for me.

What would you improve about this program?
Maybe just provide more things to do after placement.
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Regina
10/10
Yes, I recommend this program

A change in Latitude: Guatemala

A change in latitude brings about a change in attitude. How else would I have seen both the best and the worst of Guatemala City all within one week. And where else would I have seen the sights that came and went so quickly that I didn't have time to reach for a camera: men swinging in hammocks over a load of goats in the back of a pickup truck; a display of sweet fruits in the market; old stone buildings reminiscent of Spanish architecture; and among that, Guatemalans with ambitions and lives just like mine.

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Sarah
10/10
Yes, I recommend this program

Best trip of my life

After college and before starting my career, I wanted to do something I would never have an opportunity to do again (at least not until retirement) so I decided to volunteer in Brazil for 3 months. The unique part about CCS is that rather than just traveling and visiting yet another touristy spot, you are really immersed in another culture. It is refreshing and humbling to say the least. I would say the thing I took away from this trip the most (besides a bit of Portuguese) is empathy for my fellow man. I also have a new found respect for non-English speaking people living in America. I no longer find myself frustrated with them and try to speak as slowly as possible because I was once in their shoes!

What would you improve about this program?
Offer discounts more often and perhaps warn volunteers on possible safety issues. A couple of the volunteers had their purses stolen at the beach because they were obviously carrying expensive things (I.E. Ipods, expensive purses, etc) so a tutorial explaining that volunteers should not bring their valuables into view would have been helpful.
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Melissa
10/10
Yes, I recommend this program

this trip will change your life

The CCS Guatemala cultural experiences were life changing. The first day I hiked up an active volcano! The city tour really changed my perspective of life and resiliency plus gave me a better understanding of the culture I was volunteering in. Antigua is beautiful and rich with history. The home base was comfy and clean plus the staff was so friendly and helpful. The food was amazing! I loved helping Maria cook while she helped me with my Spanish. I felt extremely safe the entire trip. I will definitely be going back.

What would you improve about this program?
As a pre-med student I was hoping to do serve in a more medical aspect. I thought I had communicate this through my online paperwork. I still enjoyed my service but next time I will try to be more clear.
Alicia Harris
Alicia
8/10
Yes, I recommend this program

Los Martincitos in Lima

So I made it to Lima, Peru three days ago & yesterday I started my first day working with the senior citizens at Los Martincitos. The elderly who attend Los Martincitos on a regular basis usually have been neglected by family, abused, socially rejected for race or age reasons, have a lack of resources to take care of themselves... Today as I walked in with the other volunteers I was expecting to see sad situations, but it was the complete opposite..There was so much life when I walked into the room. The seniors and staff welcomed us with open arms, kisses, hugs & did a welcoming ceremony for us too. After I help cut up vegetables for the cooks, I served breakfast and lunch ....Just before my shift was over I took my camera out just to take pictures of the place and this feisty beautiful soul named Delia walked into my shot and started posing haha she can't hear or speak so we communicated with each other through hand signals and gestures ...We instantly connected..Soon after she pointed to the wheel chairs for us to take a picture together , she put on these glasses.. The rest is history

What would you improve about this program?
WiFi in the house was not all day. It was from 5pm-7am. Wasn't good because my mom tried to contact me a few times and they turned out to be very important missed calls.