Cross-Cultural Solutions: Volunteer Abroad in Tanzania

This program is no longer offered. View more programs from Cross-Cultural Solutions.

Video and Photos

About

12 million Tanzanians live below the poverty line, a number almost unchanged over the last decade. A significant proportion of the population also hover just above the poverty line, and have very limited access to health care, quality education, and a decent standard of living. Under-nutrition remains one of the largest threats to human development in Tanzania and hits children the hardest by hindering their long-term physical and intellectual development.

Join CCS in Tanzania as we work to ensure children can reach their full potential. Universal primary education has drastically increased enrollment with more than 80% of primary school-age children attending, yet the quality of education offered and the increasing student dropout rates are a huge concern. With just 33% of children enrolling in secondary school our volunteer work focuses on girls and boys from preschool to teenage years to maximize their education as a pathway out of poverty.

After volunteering for the day, you'll be able to walk around your neighborhood or explore some of the gorgeous spots nearby. We proudly believe we provide the perfect mix of quality work, cultural immersion, adventure, and relaxation - all while having 24/7 access to CCS staff and support. Come see for yourself!

*CCS adheres to rigorous safety and security measures that are consistently reviewed by an expertly trained team. This includes weekly car inspections on all CCS vehicles, regular home smoke-detector tests, stocked first-aid kits, and much more. From the highest level to the smallest detail, we've thought of everything so you don't have to!

Questions & Answers

Reviews

85%
based on 23 reviews
  • Impact 7.4
  • Support 9
  • Fun 7
  • Value 8.3
  • Safety 9.5
Showing 1 - 15 of 23
Default avatar
Doyce
9/10

Great experience

The Good:
I really enjoyed my interaction with all the students and teachers at the school I was assigned to, although I'm still not sure how much of an impact I made in such a short time.

I love the program that is currently in place that allows you to really immerse yourself in the culture.

The home base is a beautiful building with nicely manicured grounds. The staff at the home base were pleasant and very helpful. They went over and above in their hospitality. The meals that were prepared were not only nutritious, but also delicious.

The people of Tanzania are warm and friendly. I felt welcomed.

The Bad:
As an older adult who has been on her own for a while, it's not that easy sharing sleeping quarters with three other women.

The Ugly:
Be careful!!! Got my purse snatched right off my shoulder by a motorcyclist. Fortunately, my passport was at the home base. Unfortunately, he got my IPhone, some U.S. dollars, Tanzania shillings, and worse of all my Tanzanite earrings.

How can this program be improved?
Bathroom showers need a remodel...

Yes, I recommend this program
Default avatar
Chelsea
9/10

Left my heart in TZ

The smiles at shared were endless, the time given was always genuine- usually helping with language or working through a challenge. The sites were awe inspiring but it is the people that steal your heart and win over a piece of the soul that leave you wanting to return. After the experience and coming back home it's not a matter of if ll return to TZ but when.
The home staff were kind and considerate, working daily to provide ample opportunity of allowing us to get more culture immersion during our stay. Swahili lessons were helpful- and the locals were always willing to let us try out our new skills and help us along. The Massii locals made their friendships and expertise of the area available along with others, taking us on outings after work and keeping a watchful eye out for our best interest as well. Thanks to the Internet staying in touch with friend made while in TZ has been easier then one could imagine- and gratefully so! A wonderful and enriching experience for anyone looking to expand their minds and sights. One may assume they are there to give and serve, you are, but don't ever amuse you'll be able to pay them back in what is provided during your stay. ❤️

Yes, I recommend this program
Default avatar
Julie
10/10

Pros and Cons to CCS

Pros: nice, safe dormitory style housing that was very clean and really good food. fun cultural trips. speakers that would come and talk to us about current issues affecting the country, i.e. female genital mutilation, HIV/AIDS. you are picked up at the airport by a representative and they take you back to the airport at the end of your visit. they also drive you to/from your volunteer site. one previous review said she was given a hard time about wanting to walk to her volunteer site because it was only a few minutes away. several of my co-volunteers also walked to their site daily and were never made to feel like that was wrong. it was actually encouraged. you have almost all of your afternoons off and all of your weekends so you can do your own activities (but they do get expensive).
Cons: the person that gave the informative presentations before the trip had never actually set foot in Tanzania before. she was obviously reading from a script or something. some of the information was outdated and/or false. (i.e. don't take pictures in public because the locals think having their picture taken steals their soul. maybe in the remote areas of the country, but in Moshi, there are plenty of international visitors that all the locals know what a camera is. they don't really want you taking their picture because they think you might go back home and sell it for a huge profit). I think the cost is overpriced. yes, its good if its your first time visiting the country, but if you want to return, it would be much less expensive if you rented a house with a group of people. a vast majority of volunteers will end up at schools (not the fault of CCS), but you're not really given any kind of direction for how to teach lessons or given any idea what the curriculum is for the different levels (or grades in the US). So its kind of frustrating if you have no teaching experience. volunteers are required to adhere to a curfew every night, unless you're staying away from home base (like for the weekend). I understand that CCS has our safety in mind, but as an adult, its a little condescending.
Overall, I absolutely do not regret going thru the CCS program, I had the most amazing time of my life. Just do your homework and compare as many other programs as you can. Remember to make the most of your experience, go with the flow, and have a wonderful time! And always be safe!!!

How can this program be improved?
Cost, better volunteer site resources, hearing presentations from someone who has actually been through the program in that specific country so they are actually speaking from experience.
Yes, I recommend this program
Default avatar
Prashant
9/10

Volunteering in Tanzania

I went during a sabbatical from work. I enjoy traveling internationally and wanted to spend my time not only making a difference in the lives of others, but also making sure I was able to get something out of it too. This program from CCS is perfect in that it allows you to spend a significant amount of time working with children and the community to make their future a little brighter, but it also allows you sufficient free time to learn about the area you are visiting and take trips/sightseeing adventures, etc. I also met other volunteers with unique backgrounds and keep in touch with many of them even after returning 5 1/2 months ago. It was definitely a trip of a lifetime, and I can't wait to do another program in the future.

How can this program be improved?
I wish it was a slightly cheaper so I could stay longer --- was definitely way above my expectations.
Yes, I recommend this program
Default avatar
Megan
10/10

Life Changing Experience

I left for 4 weeks in Tanzania having never really been out of the country (one family trip to cancun doesn't count...). Cross Cultural Solutions was so good in preparing me for this big trip - the resources they provided, the weekly checkins to make sure I felt ready and was prepared were so helpful. I really enjoyed the opportunity to work with the children in the orphanage, and the language and cultural classes we took really helped me to understand and relate the community that we were working in. I met some really great volunteers on the trip and have only the best things to say about the whole experience. I would highly recommend this program to first timers as well as experienced international volunteers.

Yes, I recommend this program
Default avatar
Elizabeth
9/10

Shantytown = Anazingtown

Shantytown in Moshi Tanzania will forever be in my heart. From my kindergarten class to my babies at Upendo children's home the experience was incredible. CCS is an expensive organization by they do take good care of their volunteers.
My second week there I was in a horrible safari truck accident resulting in the death of a fellow volunteer. I decided to stay my remaining 6 weeks to share myself & love w the children of Tanzania. I was there to save the children yet they ended up saving me.
I went to Upendo in the afternoon each day. We fed them grain cereal several times a day & played w them outside a lot. Bath time was my favorite! Getting them all clean & ready for bed and in their pajamas was so fun!
Kindergarten at Rau primary school was equally rewarding. I was teaching English to them in simple form such as alphabet, animals, colors etc. The little stinkers got good at memorization so I got to mix it up so they actually learned separate letters not just the alphabet A-Z. I loved the teacher I taught with & got to be a special guest at her wedding!
I could write pages on my time in Tanzania! For the most part I felt safe & often walked to many places. Such a simple humble place & way of life. I made lifelong friends with other volunteers. Due to my circumstances 5 girls I was in the accident with and also the family of our friend who passed are a big part of my life to this day.
The landscape, the people, the children are all so incredible and will forever be in my heart & mind.

How can this program be improved?
I would love to still be able to know how the babies & children I was with are doing.
Yes, I recommend this program
Default avatar
Kim
8/10

In the shadow of Kilimanjaro

Right from the beginning of my volunteer experience I felt at ease. I was picked up from the airport in Kilimanjaro and taken to the CCS house where I would spend the next month. The staff were soooo welcoming and supportive. The orientation is extensive and provides you with the chance to get to know your felow houseguests/volunteers. My volunteer experience wasn't quite what I expected. I was teamed with a local NGO. I expected that there would be a project that I would just pick up with and get to work. But it wasn't really structured like that. Nevertheless, I made use of my time and hopefully made a contribution to the local community. This was and experience and opportunity I hold dear and I'm so grateful I was able to participate.

How can this program be improved?
Maybe more structure for programming or communication as to what is expected of a volunteer. I was not at a nursery school so when I walked through the door of my volunteer placement it was all on me to determine how I would fill my time there. Having had little experience in Africa and aid work I didn't come prepared to develop a project for myself.
Yes, I recommend this program
Default avatar
sandy
10/10

My home in Kilimanjaro

Most inspiring is the love I received from the children. They received so much more then I feel I gave. So many of them are like sponges soaking up all the learning opportunities. The kids , teachers, and locals won my heart. My heart and soul now lie in Tanzania until I return for a year on my own. I will depart again only 10 weeks after my return from the first trip to the Kilimanjaro Region. I will be home in Tanzania.

How can this program be improved?
Need for more volunteers and/or caregivers involvement to reduce the teacher/student ratio.
Yes, I recommend this program
Default avatar
Mimi
9/10

An introduction to Tanzania

I spent 4 weeks with CCS at the Moshi/Karanga location in Tanzania, while volunteering at a nursery school. I have mixed notes, (although mostly positive,) to make about the experience I had with CCS, starting with the overall prep to make the journey overseas to Tanzania. I was travelling alone, as a young female, and I felt confident and prepared for my arrival in Kilimanjaro thanks to the help of CCS; from immunizations, to my visa, to my flights, they were very helpful in all aspects to prepare me for my time in Tanzania. The home-base staff were amazing and so welcoming. They made me feel safe and comfortable, and definitely became my family away from home. And I still keep in touch with many of the staff to this day. The first two weeks are filled with mandatory cultural and educational activities. I enjoyed the guest speakers, which ranged from education and gender struggles, to HIV/Aids within the community. The Swahili lessons were a bit silly. I learnt more of the national language while volunteering with the children, or through the locals and staff at home-base than through the Swahili lessons. I INSIST that anyone who is considering this program to go for over two weeks. Since the first two weeks are filled with activities, you don't have too much free time to get to the know the locals or wander around Moshi on your own. And, although CCS provided a clean and safe environment for myself and the other volunteers, after the first week or so you will realize how sheltered they keep you seems a tad unnecessary. They have strict rules about where you can go in town, along with a set curfew. After meeting so many locals and 'ex-pats' in town, (who lived in the community, cooked for themselves, and walked to work like everyone else,) I quickly came to the conclusion that CCS was a bit of a rip off, and how I would personally prefer to be a bigger part of the community. That being said, it was an amazing introduction to Tanzania. As for the volunteer aspect of CCS, I have no complaints. I worked at an established nursery school and was guided in the beginning on what areas the children needed help with before taking over as the class teacher. (TEACHA TEACHA!) I took it upon myself to create lesson plans, educational games, and fun activities for the children, along with spending time with the kids who needed individual attention to succeed with the lesson plans. With my free-time after the first two weeks, I spent more afternoons, (since you only work mornings according to the CCS schedule,) at the nursery school and even checking out other placements. Throughout this experience I have made life-long friends, whether they were other volunteers, or locals I met. I will now be returning for my third visit to East Africa, as an independent volunteer, which saves me a ton of money and gives me more freedom to be a part of the everyday life in Moshi!

How can this program be improved?
You will need to take it upon yourself to see more of the community and to meet others outside of the home-base walls, along with being able to create your own plan for your volunteer assignment, if you want to make a lasting impact while in Tanzania.
Yes, I recommend this program
Default avatar
A.
5/10

Expensive & doesn't help the community

I would research other organizations that do more for the local community. The program fee is on an American scale, and our fees do not help the local community, but rather the overpaid staff and very nice CCS headquarters in the US.

No, I don't recommend this program
Default avatar
Gord
9/10

CCS Karanga, Tanzania

The whole experience in Karanga was beyond my expectations. The staff was very open, friendly, helpful and readily answered all questions. They made my placement enjoyable and safe. The home base was nicer than I expected, very clean and modern. The cultural education we received made the trip more than "just a vacation." We got to know the Tanzanian people, culture and history in ways I never would have otherwise. Thanks.

How can this program be improved?
More free time in the afternoons.
Yes, I recommend this program
Default avatar
kdonna
1/10

No added value to the community

CCS sends volunteers to different places such as kindergartens, schools, clinics etc. Often the teachers think it is time off. There is no guidance. CCS drops you off at work but that's all. They actually do nothing for the community and the projects they 'support'. So basically you pay a hefty fee to support their expensive office in NY and the local house staff. I don't need anybody to make my bed every day!!! I just wanted to come in and actually help only to realize there was no added value. They don't create or run any projects. They house you and feed you and drive you around. And it is a super corrupt place, if you stay there long enough you learn how it all actually works.
I was very disappointed. I can't believe they get away with this. Definitely not an NGO. I could have stayed at some cheap place in town and went to volunteer in a school myself. But then what's the point when that school already has a teacher and I am not a professional teacher thus have not much to ad in terms of professional development?
There are a lot more worthy projects around, that don't charge arm and a leg and actually do something for the community. Do your home work and ask where your money goes. This is a money making business. At 20 + volunteers per month, over $2000 each...do the math. And they give nothing to the community. So where does it go?
If you just want a good pub story and feel good about partying with 20 other volunteers then go with CCS. You'll certainly get a party environment.

No, I don't recommend this program
Default avatar
Amy
8/10

Just Do It!

Volunteering in Tanzania is something I will never forget. While in Tanzania I was placed in a Nursery school (preschool - Kindergarten). I took the children in small groups to give them extra practice with their English - we played games, and used flashcards. I showed them objects in their everyday use to help them. We covered shapes, colors, animals, fruit/vegetables.
In the afternoons we had really good guest speakers come in and share about their country. We had outings into the communities and surrounding areas.
My favorite non-volunteering experience was learning how to bargain at the street markets. Its quite the experience.
Everything about the program (Moshi/Karanga) was absolutely amazing!

How can this program be improved?
I would add more cultural experience to the first 2 weeks - less guest speakers, and more cultural experiences. Although the guest speakers had an impact on some of the volunteers.
Yes, I recommend this program
Default avatar
Jess
9/10

Amazing Experience in Moshi, Tanzania

The CCS staff was wonderful from the beginning - helpful with answering questions and allowing me to practice my horrible Kiswahili. I was placed at an orphanage that didn't have a lot of structure, but you get out of it what you put into it. The children were wonderful and our daily exchanges were a lot of fun.
The cultural explorations, and educational trips were informative and enjoyable.
The facilities and accommodations were much nicer than expected and I don't know if I've ever eaten so well.

Yes, I recommend this program
Default avatar
Justine
10/10

"Lay down your heart" in Bagamoyo

I spent 4 weeks during the summer of 2012 in Bagamoyo, Tanzania with CCS. I am still trying to figure out how to describe my time there. It was fun, enriching, rewarding, challenging, motivating, awesome. I was placed at a local primary school and taught English to 10 and 11 year olds. They were so welcoming and so much fun. The in-country staff is outstanding and supported us in so many ways. They were friendly and caring and definitely created a home away from home. The programming included awesome events, guest speakers, and field trips. Plus, the weekends were free to do some traveling, and I got to visit Zanzibar and the incredible national parks in Northern Tanzania. CCS provides a well-rounded experience. I thought I was traveling as a volunteer, but the CCS program was much more than that. I have learned so much about the country of Tanzania and its people. I would highly recommend volunteering with CCS.

Yes, I recommend this program

Interviews

Meet the Alumni

Meet the Staff

About Cross-Cultural Solutions

For 22 years, CCS has been the standard setter for the safest, most meaningful, and enriching volunteer abroad programs while striving to be a global leader in child development and women's empowerment.

Since 1995, over 35,000 people have volunteered...