The Full Experience

The full Experience

When you enroll to volunteer abroad with CCS, what lies ahead is an experience that’s sure to end up on your list of life-changers; a one of a kind adventure. By combining meaningful volunteer work, a rich variety of eye-opening cultural activities, free time for adventures, real opportunities to engage with local people, and a safe and comfortable home away from home, CCS guarantees that your time abroad will be genuine and immersive. With CCS, you get the complete experience.

  • Position Impact Through Volunteer Work
  • Real Cultural Immersion
  • A Safe Home Away From Home
  • Adventures During Free Time

Our Approach

We believe that the most impactful approach to international volunteering is one designed by the community. With CCS you'll do meaningful work that addresses a specific need. In each of our destinations, we have relationships 10+ years strong with local organizations who communicate real-time, local needs and objectives to the CCS-team so we can ensure that your volunteer experience is impactful, immersive, fun, and more than you ever could have hoped for.

Our volunteer projects address a real community need. For example, in Guatemala City, public education is often under-resourced, understaffed, and overcrowded.

This means
* Teachers don't have much time for important one-on-one interaction with their students.
* Student attendance is sporadic, especially during certain seasons when children don't attend school so they can work.
* Children are often grouped by age range and the students' individual needs are not easily attended to.

In Guatemala City, a local school partners with CCS to figure out how international volunteers can sustainably support their mission to educate local youth.

Together they:
* Identify the school's need like teaching English, leading physical education activities, and supporting special needs classrooms.
* Next, they work to determine how short0term volunteers like you can be most effective in achieving these goals.
* CCS plans projects with the school that will keep volunteers engaged and immersed.

Upon enrollment, volunteers complete a profile outlining skills, interests, and project preferences. Using this information, CCS Program Site Specialists work together with in-country staff and community leaders in order to connect volunteers to projects that match their interests and community need.

CCS in-country staff take volunteers to the project site and make all introductions to ensure that the volunteer experience starts off smoothly and on the right foot.

This means:
* The volunteer is given an orientation to the school. She meets teachers, students, and the principal, and even has a chance to start practicing the local language.
* Next, she gets a chance to hear about what previous volunteers accomplished, so that she can naturally transition into her role as a volunteer.
* The CCS staff helps to guide the volunteer through her experience to ensure that she's happy and effective.

The benefits of the volunteer experience have an incredible ripple effect: in Guatemala, our volunteer teaches English to local children. She also teaches the students about her home country and her interests, giving the students a healthy dose of cultural exchange, too!

While our volunteer is working at the school, students attend more regularly. Having a new face in the classroom makes it interesting and exciting for the kids.

This means:
* The students now have a chance to learn about a new culture and share their own. Own volunteer becomes a role model and a member of the community.
* The classroom's teacher is thrilled to have the help. An extra set of hands and eyes is always appreciated.
* The classroom teacher also gets a valuable opportunity to practice her English with a native speaker, which will help her become an even better teacher.

When our volunteer wraps up her time in Guatemala, another CCS volunteer jumps in to pick up where she left off. The community’s needs are always changing, and as they do, we work with them to figure out how our volunteers can continue to be impactful. There’s always work to be done, and new ways to do it!

The Journey of a Lifetime

What you'll get when you volunteer with CCS can't be found in any guidebook. The seamless transition between organic moments and structured experiences results in a completely authentic and eye-opening journey that is totally unique for every one of our intrepid volunteers. Volunteering with Cross-Cultural Solutions will allow you to immerse yourself in the local community in ways you never dreamed possible. But that's just the thing; it's all possible with CCS! Follow Olivia on her journey to find out how...

Olivia sees a friend’s photos online from her recent CCS trip. This looks likes like the perfect experience for her.

While checking out the CCS website, Olivia finds Guatemala is a great match for her interests. She enrolls online with a few easy steps.

A Program Site Specialist, or PSS -- who is also a Guatemala alum -- helps Olivia with travel logistics and makes sure she’s got all the tools she needs to be an effective volunteer.

From the moment our volunteers land in-country, everything they need for their CCS experience is provided for; quality food, safe water to drink, transportation, and lodging.

Our volunteers are always greeted by a smiling CCS driver at the airport, and brought to their new home away from home.

Olivia volunteers in an under-resourced school. She loves the chance to support the local teachers and give special one-on-one attention to the kids.

CCS volunteers are immersed in Latin American culture. CCS hosts a number of Cultural Activities like cooking classes and language lessons.

During Free Time, volunteers explore the country, taking hikes and visiting villages and beaches.

Olivia reflects on her journey; the people she has connected with, the work she’s accomplished, the impact she has made in the community, and the impact the community has made on her.

Our volunteers return home with a changed perspective and brand new sense of empowerment. You’ll start to feel like you “get it.” After all, now that you’ve had the CCS experience, what can’t you do?!

24 Hours with CCS

A volunteer’s day with Cross-Cultural Solutions is the perfect mix of quality work, cultural immersion, adventure, and relaxation. We have carefully constructed our days to balance meaningful work and personal time to explore, immerse or relax. All the details of travel, food, water and safety have been worked out by us.

7:00AM - Breakfast

Wake up and eat a home cooked balanced breakfast with other volunteers to get charged for the day.

8:00AM

Your CCS driver will take you and your fellow volunteers to your project sites.

8:30AM - Noon

Spend the morning volunteering out in the community and engaging with local people.

12:30PM

Your CCS driver brings you back to Home-Base to share a tasty, traditional lunch and some downtime with your fellow volunteers.

1:30PM

After lunch, pack up and head out with your team to explore the local sights and sounds.

5:00PM

Return to the Home-Base and grab a book and a comfy spot in the sun, or prepare for your next day of volunteering until dinner time.

6:00PM

Sit down to dinner with your fellow volunteers and enjoy some healthy and authentic local cuisine.

7:00PM

After dinner, enjoy some free time where you’ll have a chance to explore and meet new neighbors, hang out in Home-Base, or check in with friends and family back home.

Safety, Our #1 Priority

Cross-Cultural Solutions is the safest volunteer abroad experience out there. We have a comprehensive safety and security strategy that is constantly being reviewed and improved upon by our expertly trained safety and security team. We’ve got guidelines, policies, and procedures for handling any type of emergency, so from the highest level to the smallest detail, we’ve thought of everything so you don’t have to!

Home-Base Safety

Home-Base Safety Measure #12

Home-Base Safety Measure #12

Each Home-Base contains at least 2 fully stocked first aid kits.

Home-Base Safety Measure #9

Home-Base Safety Measure #9

The CCS team regularly inspects all aspects of the Home-Base. From furniture to electrical and emergency exits, we leave no stone unturned.

Home-Base Safety Measure #2

Home-Base Safety Measure #2

CCS supplies lockers so your valuables are safe.

Home-Base Safety Measure #23

Home-Base Safety Measure #23

Fire extinguishers are installed in every Home-Base with instructions in local languages and in English.

Home-Base Safety Measure #17

Home-Base Safety Measure #17

Smoke alarms and CO2 detectors in all Home-Bases.

Food & Water Safety

We provide clean, safe drinking water per World Health Organization standards for volunteers.

CCS practices safe handling of food including: hand washing, appropriate clothing, cleaning, preventing cross-contamination, proper cooking temperatures, and storage.

CCS cooks are trained to cook for individual dietary needs including food allergies, dietary restrictions (religious, vegan, etc.), or dietary intolerance.

Transportation Safety

Vehicle Safety Measure #19

Vehicle Safety Measure #19

Gas tank is at least 1/2 full before travel.

Vehicle Safety Measure #2

Vehicle Safety Measure #2

Tire pressure meets accepted safe vehicle operating standards.

Vehicle Safety Measure #1

Vehicle Safety Measure #1

Vehicles are equipped with fully functional seat belts.

Vehicle Safety Measure #15

Vehicle Safety Measure #15

One fully equipped first-aid kit available in all CCS vehicles.

Vehicle Safety Measure #8

Vehicle Safety Measure #8

Brakes and brake lights regularly inspected.

Your Home-base

We encourage you to leave your cultural comfort zone, but that doesn't mean that you shouldn't be comfortable! We understand the importance of the basics — a sound sleep and a home-cooked meal can be all the fuel you need to make tomorrow your best day yet! That’s why we provide a safe and comfortable Home-Base for all of our volunteers.

The CCS Home-Base is staffed by a full time team of local people and is your in-country home away from home. Our staff offer you an incredible, genuine connection to the local community, and will keep you immersed while also ensuring your safety and comfort.

At Home-Base, you’ll have the chance to connect with CCS staff and fellow volunteers, enjoy authentic local cuisine, or just kick back and relax. No need to worry about the daily to-do's. At CCS Home-Base, we've got it all covered! The in-country team provides transportation to and from your volunteer site, healthy home-cooked meals, and 24-hour security. The CCS in-country office is located in Home-Base, so you'll have unlimited access to our staff and all they have to offer.

Each Home-Base has a flavor all its own, from lush gardens brimming with olive and fig trees, to local populations of chatty parrots, so be sure to check out what makes each one special.

Go ahead, make yourself at home!

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