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.