OUR TEAM

We've got 250+ amazing folks all over the globe working tirelessly to provide you with the very best professional and personal attention, from enrollment all the way through re-entry back home, and beyond. CCS in-country Directors are local experts and every member of our stalwart crew at HQ is a proud CCS alumnus, so we all understand firsthand how international volunteering can be a total "life-changer." Not only are we super dedicated to giving the best international volunteering experience ever, but we’re also a pretty cool bunch.

Steven C. Rosenthal, Executive Director
Steven C. Rosenthal
Executive Director

An expert in the field of international development and volunteerism, Steve has spoken at the U.N. on Non-Governmental Organizations, is the Chairman Emeritus of the International Volunteer Programs Association, and is the Founding Chairman of the Building Bridges Coalition, a Brookings Institution project focused on expanding international volunteer service, improving service quality, and ensuring positive impacts in communities throughout the world. Steve also serves on the advisory boards of More Peace Corps, Atlas Corps, and Global Citizen Year; co-chairs the National Summit for Global Citizen Diplomacy Task Force on Voluntary International Service; and serves on the Roundtable Consortium for the National Clearinghouse on Disability and Exchange.

After rallying CCS staff and alumni around relief efforts at the World Trade Center, Steve accepted the New York Senate Liberty Award "for selfless contributions during the terrorist attacks" of September 11th. Learn more about CCS' efforts at the World Trade Center site after September 11th.

A New York native and graduate of George Washington University and the University of Colorado, Steve founded Cross-Cultural Solutions in 1995 after returning from a year of epic international adventuring and volunteering. As CCS Executive Director, he has traveled extensively throughout the world making frequent trips to the field, and plenty of friends along the way.

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An expert in the field of international development and volunteerism, Steve has spoken at the U.N. on Non-Governmental Organizations, is the Chairman Emeritus of the International …

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Farhana Rehman-Furs, Executive Vice President
Farhana Rehman-Furs
Executive Vice President

As CCS’ Executive Vice President, Farhana oversees all CCS programs worldwide. She’s responsible for the development of new programs and program sites, as well as the recruitment, development, and ongoing management of our Country and Program Directors.

Born in Pakistan and raised in England, Farhana graduated from Bath University with a degree in Business Administration, and spent her first year out of university working with Lloyds Bank in London. In search of a sea change, in December 2000, Farhana found CCS. After four months with CCS Peru, she was hooked! She’d found her calling, her passion, and her future husband. Soon after returning from her CCS program, Farhana joined the team at HQ as our CARE Corps partnership coordinator.

Over the years, Farhana has worked to ensure the highest possible quality of CCS programs. She’s also responsible for the CCS program design and ensures the safety and security of all programs, with a special focus on the health and well-being of our volunteers in-country.

Farhana is passionate about the value of international volunteering and is committed to ensuring CCS volunteers have a positive impact on our partner organizations in the field, and an incredible international experience.

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As CCS’ Executive Vice President, Farhana oversees all CCS programs worldwide. She’s responsible for the development of new programs and program sites, as well as the …

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Adam Hicks, Chief Marketing Officer
Adam Hicks
Chief Marketing Officer

Prior to joining CCS, Adam was Vice President of Marketing and Communications for CARE USA -- one of the largest humanitarian organizations fighting global poverty -- for 11 years. With CARE, he led their "I am Powerful" campaign – chances are, you’ve seen it around! Prior to joining CARE, Adam spent 12 years with The Coca-Cola Company. In his last four years there, he was Director of the Global Education Market Development Group and spearheaded brand-building efforts in over 60 countries around the world. With an incredible breadth of experience in volunteering and global humanitarianism, joining CCS was a “natural” choice for Adam and he’s been using his superstar marketing skills to bring the CCS experience to even more intrepid volunteers ever since he came on board.

Today, Adam serves on the board of HelpAge International and on the advisory board of Men of Valor, Inc. He’s a happy family man with three boys, a lovely wife, and weekends jam-packed with family outings to the soccer field and hockey rink.



Check out my blog posts:

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Prior to joining CCS, Adam was Vice President of Marketing and Communications for CARE USA -- one of the largest humanitarian organizations fighting global poverty -- for 11 …

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Bela Singh, India Country Director
Bela Singh
India Country Director

CCS wouldn’t be CCS without Bela! Not only is she our Country Director for CCS India, but she’s also one of our founding members, and serves on our Board of Directors. Between her first-hand knowledge of CCS India and her professional and academic background in counseling, Bela is an incredible resource for volunteers. She brings with her over 20 years of experience in international development and social services, and is renowned for her work in the field of special education. Bela is full of surprises: she loves all kinds of music, from classical Indian to Arabian music, to Jazz, and she’s an award-winning sharpshooter!

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CCS wouldn’t be CCS without Bela! Not only is she our Country Director for CCS India, but she’s also one of our founding members, and serves on our Board of Directors. Between …

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Pimsuda Tiandum, Thailand Country Director
Pimsuda Tiandum
Thailand Country Director

What would we do without Pimsuda? A Bangkok native, Pimsuda served as the Associate Regional Director of Family Planning International Assistance, an international arm of Planned Parenthood, and the Associate Director of Programming of the U.S. Peace Corps in Thailand before joining the CCS family as the Director of our Thailand program when it began in 2002. Pimsuda earned her B.S. in nursing and master’s in community and industrial guidance and counseling stateside in Kentucky. With a masters degree under her belt, she returned to Bangkok to work for the Population and Community Development Association, the largest family planning, health, and development non-profit organization in Thailand. She is passionate about many things, from reproductive health issues to Shakespeare, to spending quality time with her mother, husband, two sons, and young granddaughter. Pimsuda likes to joke that she loves citrus fruits so much because she needs the sourness to balance out her naturally sweet disposition – we couldn’t agree more!

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What would we do without Pimsuda? A Bangkok native, Pimsuda served as the Associate Regional Director of Family Planning International Assistance, an international arm of Planned …

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Thea Mushi, Tanzania Country Director
Thea Mushi
Tanzania Country Director

Born in the Kilimanjaro region, Thea came to CCS after serving as Country Director for eight years at the Irish Agency for Personal Service Overseas (APSO). She’s been with CCS since 2003, and has plenty of experience working with international volunteers like you. She is a trained accountant and social and community development worker, and is particularly passionate about the power of education on her community’s youth. Mama Thea, as she is called, loves to dance and has a huge, warm smile. She’s known for her contagious laughter and beautiful singing voice.

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Born in the Kilimanjaro region, Thea came to CCS after serving as Country Director for eight years at the Irish Agency for Personal Service Overseas (APSO). She’s been with CCS …

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Enrique “Kique” Bossio, Peru Country Director
Enrique “Kique” Bossio
Peru Country Director

Before joining CCS, Kique was the Peru and Bolivia Country Director for the Canadian University Service Overseas (CUSO). He also served as an executive committee member for the Movimiento Homosexual de Lima (MHOL), an internationally recognized organization advocating for the rights of the gay and lesbian community as well as individuals affected by HIV/AIDS. Kique has established an AIDS hotline, a Peers Education program, and Safer Sex workshops for MHOL, and has interned with Human Rights Watch in Washington, DC. Born and raised in Peru, Kique has studied in Pontificia Universidad Catolica del Peru, Universidad Nacional Mayor de San Marcos, Universidad de Lima, and the School for International Training in Brattleboro, Vermont. A proud member of the CCS advisory board, Kique is always happy to help CCS volunteers in any way he can, and strives to make the experience as meaningful and memorable as possible.

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Before joining CCS, Kique was the Peru and Bolivia Country Director for the Canadian University Service Overseas (CUSO). He also served as an executive committee member for the …

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Mohamed Mhmmoudi, Morocco Country Director
Mohamed Mhmmoudi
Morocco Country Director

Mohamed comes to CCS after six years with Peace Corps Morocco, where he provided cross-cultural interpretation and language training, managed program logistics, and ensured the safety and security of volunteers stationed throughout Morocco. A former professor of business law and a lifelong student of global affairs. When he’s not cracking jokes or engaging in thoughtful conversation with volunteers, Mohamed enjoys visiting the Moroccan village where he was born and raised to see loved ones and take a ride on his donkey.

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Mohamed comes to CCS after six years with Peace Corps Morocco, where he provided cross-cultural interpretation and language training, managed program logistics, and ensured the …

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Virginia Burmester, Guatemala Country Director
Virginia Burmester
Guatemala Country Director

During her teenage years, Virginia spent a full year studying in the U.S. and soon thereafter, traveled to Belgium as a volunteer. Once she had some globetrotting under her belt, Virginia was inspired to become a local community development leader in her native Guatemala. She's worked as an English teacher in Guatemala City for 25 years, and later, as a liaison to international exchange students and host families with American Field Services. She absolutely adores the opportunity to work with international volunteers and is always happy to share some of her deep knowledge of Guatemalan culture and history. Get to know her family, which includes four daughters, two grandchildren, and pet golden retriever, Mia, when you volunteer abroad in Guatemala.

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During her teenage years, Virginia spent a full year studying in the U.S. and soon thereafter, traveled to Belgium as a volunteer. Once she had some globetrotting under her belt, …

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Makafui Amenuvor , Ghana Country Director
Makafui Amenuvor
Ghana Country Director

Born and raised in Ghana's Volta Region, Makafui has been with CCS Ghana since its launch in 1998. After earning his bachelor's degree stateside at the University of North Dakota, Makafui established the CCS Hohoe program, and has been steering the ship ever since. When he's not busy with CCS Ghana or showing off his dance moves, Makafui loves to swim, after recently conquering a childhood fear of the water. Go, Makafui, go! A dream of his is to build an operational plane out of scrap parts; so while in Ghana, keep an eye out for anything he might be able to use.

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Born and raised in Ghana's Volta Region, Makafui has been with CCS Ghana since its launch in 1998. After earning his bachelor's degree stateside at the University of North Dakota, …

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Jose Hernández-Ugalde, Costa Rica Country Director
Jose Hernández-Ugalde
Costa Rica Country Director

Through his work with the University of Costa Rica’s International Programs department, the Foreign Service Foundation for Peace and Democracy, the United Nations Conference on the Environment, and the Close-Up Foundation in Washington, D.C., Jose brings with him extensive experience in the field of international development. Born and raised in Costa Rica, Jose is deeply involved in his community and especially committed to eliminating child abuse. A lifelong learner, Jose speaks fluent Spanish, English, and Portuguese, is currently studying International Relations and Diplomacy, and has set his sights on moonlighting as a DJ so he can make people dance. Basically, he does it all.

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Through his work with the University of Costa Rica’s International Programs department, the Foreign Service Foundation for Peace and Democracy, the United Nations Conference on …

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Vinicius Prado, Brazil Country Director
Vinicius Prado
Brazil Country Director

Vinicius (better known as Vini) was born and raised in Salvador, Brazil. He came to CCS in 2003, and since joining the team, he's earned a degree in Business Administration as well as a post-graduate MBA. He came on board with us as the CCS driver in Salvador, but these days (over a decade later), he's running the show! Vini is adored by our volunteers (and by the CCS HQ staff) and we couldn't be happier that he's stepped into the position of Country Director.

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Vinicius (better known as Vini) was born and raised in Salvador, Brazil. He came to CCS in 2003, and since joining the team, he's earned a degree in Business Administration as …

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Cassandra Tomkin, Chief Operating Officer
Cassandra Tomkin
Chief Operating Officer

My best piece of advice for future international volunteers:
Take a leap and let yourself be immersed in the world. On my first international volunteer program to Peru, I was definitely nervous, but I never could have imagined the way that those 3 weeks would change my life. Today, my career, my goals, even the way that I travel has all been changed by being adventurous enough to say, "I'm going to make this happen!"

What changed for me:
I made so many changes in my life after my CCS programs—but the biggest is the way that I approach the world, and other people. I learned about patience, laughter, and that it's moments and memories that matter most. I realized what was really important to me, and I learned how much I value all of these experiences.

CCS programs I’ve completed:



Check out my blog posts:

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My best piece of advice for future international volunteers:Take a leap and let yourself be immersed in the world. On my first international volunteer program …

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Carlton Rounds, Director of Campus Engagement
Carlton Rounds
Director of Campus Engagement

Carlton was raised in the Hudson Valley of New York State, and attended Simon’s Rock Early College, Reed College, and The School for International Training. Carlton has been working in the fields of international education, volunteer service, and proactive social inclusion and diversity for nearly 30 years. He has traveled, served, and taught all over the world in areas of democratic transition with the intention of expanding the rights of marginalized people and communities. Carlton is an international education professional having led study abroad offices both public and private, admission offices, and financial aid centers, and in the role of selector and mentor for high level merit scholarship programs like The Soros Foundation, The Point Foundation, and The Institute for International Liberal Education at Bard College. Carlton has also dedicated a significant amount of time working with marginalized youth through Upward Bound, and through agencies in the South Bronx and Portland, Oregon.

An expert in his field, Carlton has been honored with numerous awards for his diversity work, and has been an honored presenter for Charles University in Prague, University of Washington School of Global Health, National Summit for Long Term Survivors, Concordia College/IPSL, Institute for Disaster Mental Health, NAFSA, Forum for Education Abroad, PFLAG, World Scholar Athlete Games, World Learning, and Simon’s Rock for its Outstanding Alumni Award. Carlton was recognized for being one of the top 100 innovators for 2011 through POZ Magazine, and was a first place national award winner that same year with Diversity Abroad Network. Carlton is also a member of the Building Bridges Coalition, and a certified Community Health Worker who focuses on communities affected by HIV both domestically and abroad.

CCS programs I've completed:

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Carlton was raised in the Hudson Valley of New York State, and attended Simon’s Rock Early College, Reed College, and The School for International Training. Carlton has been …

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Lauren Maitland, Director of Programs
Lauren Maitland
Director of Programs

My favorite food discovered on a CCS program:
Rosita’s pollo a la naranja—orange chicken—is hands down, the best dish. It’s this tangy, savory, chicken covered in goodness and served over rice. Rosita was our cook in Costa Rica, and she made this once a week. I would stand in the kitchen on pollo a la naranja night just to sneak a taste before my fellow volunteers and I devoured it. She would tell me her secret ingredient was love, and I believe her because almost 10 years later I still dream of that dish!

What changed for me?
Looking back at my 21 year-old self, I could never have imagined what life had in store for me. I went from not really knowing my place in the world, to a lifetime full of travel, amazing people, incredible stories, and a career that is unmatched. As an added bonus, I also learned to stop and savor the moment, take time to get to know people, and that a simple greeting could turn in to a lifelong friendship.

CCS programs I’ve completed:



Check out my blog posts:

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My favorite food discovered on a CCS program: Rosita’s pollo a la naranja—orange chicken—is hands down, the best dish. It’s this tangy, savory, chicken …

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Kelly Knowles, Director of Program Enrollment
Kelly Knowles
Director of Program Enrollment

The one item I never travel without:
My sense of adventure!

What changed for me:
During my volunteering with CCS in Peru, I was able to see myself as a confident and competent traveler even though I went there on my own.

CCS programs I've completed:



Check out my blog posts:

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The one item I never travel without: My sense of adventure!What changed for me: During my volunteering with CCS in Peru, I was able to …

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Becky Giannelli, Digital Content Manager
Becky Giannelli
Digital Content Manager

The one item I never travel without:
I never go anywhere without a journal to record my thoughts while I’m traveling. It’s so easy to forget all the little details once you leave a place.

My best piece of advice for future international volunteers:
Most importantly, go in with an open mind. Let go of all of your expectations and preconceptions. Don't be afraid to ask questions, to strike up a conversation with a local, or to try some new food. This is a once in a lifetime opportunity, and it will be wasted if you try to mold the trip to your own expectations.

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The one item I never travel without: I never go anywhere without a journal to record my thoughts while I’m traveling. It’s so easy to forget all the little …

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Julie Webb, Programs and Alumni Engagement Specialist
Julie Webb
Programs and Alumni Engagement Specialist

A great way to bring good vibes home from your CCS experience:
Find a creative way to share your photos with friends and family. Since I fundraised my way to my first CCS experience (in Morocco) I decided to make thank you cards using photos from my trip for all of the people who contributed to my experience. It was a great way to say thank you and to share the impact that the trip had on my life.

What changed for me:
After returning home, I couldn’t stop thinking about my experience and finally decided that I had to do more and applied for a position at CCS. I moved from Miami to New York to work with CCS, and my entire life changed! I now have the opportunity to share with people almost every day what I am passionate about and help others to create experiences that will shape the way they see the world. I feel like I am contributing to life, to cultural understanding, and I finally found a way to do more.

CCS programs I’ve completed:

Check out my blog posts:

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A great way to bring good vibes home from your CCS experience: Find a creative way to share your photos with friends and family. Since I …

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Danielle Key, Program Specialist
Danielle Key
Program Specialist

The one thing I never travel without:
I know it seems obvious, but my passport! All you really need is your passport and some money in your pocket, and the rest you can buy, borrow, or make do without.

What changed for me:
I first volunteered with Cross-Cultural Solutions the summer after I graduated from high school. I had no previous volunteer experience and I didn’t know what to expect. The eight weeks I spent in Brazil changed my life completely. I learned to appreciate what I have and not to take anything for granted. Another thing this the experience completely changed was the way I spent money. I stopped buying unnecessary things and started saving for my next CCS trip almost immediately. I returned to Brazil less than a year later.

CCS programs I’ve completed:

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The one thing I never travel without: I know it seems obvious, but my passport! All you really need is your passport and some money in your pocket, and the rest …

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Taylor Paige, Program Specialist
Taylor Paige
Program Specialist

My funniest culture shock story: I was fortunate enough to be invited to the 85th birthday party of the former principal of the school where I volunteered. I was the youngest guest by about 30 years and the only non-Thai. Everyone was so warm and welcoming. I tried new foods, engaged in interesting conversation, and had a total blast. What I wasn’t expecting though, was that the party guests would insist that I stand at the center of every group photo. Being extremely camera shy, it was a bit of a shock, but so much fun! Thailand really is the land of smiles.

What changed for me: Volunteering at a school for students with disabilities was the most fulfilling thing I’ve ever done. Not only did I return home with such a love and appreciation for the Thai people and culture, I also learned how to better interact with members of my own family who have special needs. I can’t wait for my next opportunity to volunteer with CCS.

CCS programs I’ve completed:



Check out my blog posts:

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My funniest culture shock story: I was fortunate enough to be invited to the 85th birthday party of the former principal of the school where I volunteered. I was …

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Kati Hooper, Program Specialist
Kati Hooper
Program Specialist

My absolute favorite food discovered on a CCS program:
My neighbor in Thailand invited me over for some incredible homemade green curry. It was the perfect amount of spice and flavor, and was made that much more special sharing it over some great conversation.

What changed for me:
Volunteering lit a fire within my soul. It made me realize how small you could make the world just by jumping out of your comfort zone and making meaningful connections with new people and places. This experience has inspired me to be more and to do more!

CCS programs I’ve completed:

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My absolute favorite food discovered on a CCS program:My neighbor in Thailand invited me over for some incredible homemade green curry. It was the perfect …

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Elizabeth Day, Program Specialist
Elizabeth Day
Program Specialist

My absolute favorite food discovered on a CCS program:
I still miss the oranges in Ghana! While you can find oranges most places in the world, the ones in Ghana looked and tasted different - you even eat them differently. Juice from an orange (with a dark green peel!) that's been rolled out on the table is something you need to experience. And, remember to bring back your favorite local recipes to teach your friends and family how to make some incredible dishes.

What changed for me:
I learned to laugh more, take things a bit more slowly, and have more fun. In short, not to take myself so seriously. The opportunity to learn from and experience a new culture introduced me to a new way of life that has changed the way I view the world.

CCS programs I’ve completed:

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My absolute favorite food discovered on a CCS program:I still miss the oranges in Ghana! While you can find oranges most places in the world, the ones in Ghana …

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Amanda Albion, Program Specialist
Amanda Albion
Program Specialist

The one thing I never travel without:
Pen and paper! Today's devices are great, but so is disconnecting from them! And, you'll never know when your battery life will run out, and you'll want to sketch a beautiful scene, write down directions to a new friends home, or play hangman on your way to your weekend trip!

What changed for me:
In Thailand, there is a saying "Mai Pen Rai" (No problem!). I embraced this saying, and became more open to opportunities by letting go of my fears and worries to completely immerse myself in new experiences and meeting new people. I've since taken "Mai Pen Rai" home with me, and appreciate each day for it's infinite potential. Each day is an opportunity for a new adventure!

CCS programs I’ve completed:

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The one thing I never travel without:Pen and paper! Today's devices are great, but so is disconnecting from them! And, you'll never know when your battery life …

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Shelley Drievold, Program Specialist
Shelley Drievold
Program Specialist

My best piece of advice for future international volunteers:
Be flexible! My most meaningful experiences were not what I had planned. Embrace your surroundings with an open mind and go outside of your comfort zone. In the end, those surprises along the way created the best memories!

What changed for me:
Since my first CCS volunteer experience, I have sought out even more opportunities to learn about other cultures and social issues. My view of the world around me has broadened and I am even more aware of the impact that one person is capable of making.

CCS programs I’ve completed:

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My best piece of advice for future international volunteers:Be flexible! My most meaningful experiences were not what I had planned. Embrace your surroundings …

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