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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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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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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Erik Werner, Director of Youth Engagement
Erik Werner
Director of Youth Engagement

Erik's passion for culture, language, and travel was sparked at a young age after he lived with his family in Cali, Colombia for 2 years. Upon earning his B.A. from Caroll College, Erik traveled across Europe, but ultimately sought a deeper and more meaningful cultural experience. Between 1992 and 1994, Erik volunteered with the Peace Corps in a small Quechua-speaking village in the province of Cochabamba, Bolivia, and later earned his Masters in Education from the University of Washington. As a high school educator teaching Spanish and ESL, Erik began guiding community service travel programs with Global Works - Travel with Purpose in Costa Rica. Following 9 years experience as a Trip Leader, Country Director, and Office Administrator, Erik assumed ownership of Global Works and ran the organization through 2015. Now a part of the Cross-Cultural Solutions team, Erik shares his passion for youth involvement in international experiences as the Director of Youth Engagement. When he's not working with young people to share new perspectives, insights, and connections in the world as a part of High School and Middle School Groups, Erik stays busy trying to keep up with his 3 active children in Boulder, Colorado.

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Erik's passion for culture, language, and travel was sparked at a young age after he lived with his family in Cali, Colombia for 2 years. Upon earning his B.A. from Caroll …

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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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Shelley Drievold CCS Groups Specialist
Shelley Drievold
Program Advisor

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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Liz Hesterberg, Program Advisor & Gap Year Specialist
Liz Hesterberg
Program Advisor & Gap Year Specialist

My advice for future international volunteers:
Be okay with making mistakes! You may feel like you are doing it wrong, or frustrated with language barriers -- don't worry, it's normal.

What changed for me:
Volunteering abroad pushed me out of my comfort zone. I learned to keep an open mind, and to take full advantage of every experience that presents itself.

CCS programs I’ve completed:

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My advice for future international volunteers: Be okay with making mistakes! You may feel like you are doing it wrong, or frustrated with language barriers -- …

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Katie Nichols, Group Specialist
Katie Nichols
Group Specialist

Bit of advice for future CCS volunteers:
Hands down, travel with an open and flexible mindset. Things won’t always be as you imagined or go as you planned but those moments can be the very best!

What changed for me:
My life trajectory completely changed when I returned home from Ghana. I somehow mustered up the courage to travel with CCS to Ghana. I made a plan, set a date, worked some extra hours and boarded a plane. When I got there I made new lifelong friends, mastered the art of managing a classroom of 2 year olds, pushed through the language barrier, and found the local people I met were some of the most inspiring people on this planet. The entire experience made me realize that anything I put my mind to I could accomplish and borders were meant to be crossed.

CCS programs I’ve completed:



Check out my blog posts:

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Bit of advice for future CCS volunteers: Hands down, travel with an open and flexible mindset. Things won’t always be as you imagined or go as you planned …

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Hayden Kemp, Program Specialist
Hayden Kemp
Program Specialist

The one thing I never travel without:
I love having journals with me as I travel. There's nothing more relaxing to me than winding down at the end of the day by writing down all of the exciting things I've gotten to do, the people I've met, or the differences in the culture. It helps me reflect on the day and all that I've learned, and also record memories that I can come back to so I never forget.

What changed for me:
Prior to my experiences with CCS, the idea of making a difference in the world sounded like a huge, overwhelming task that was not possible by an individual in a week's time. However, during my first program, I spent a week volunteering at an orphanage, where the kids needed love and support. Even though it was just a few of us volunteering for a week, we made an impact on these kids' lives and built relationships that were not there before. My perspective changed completely, I believe that anyone, with even a small act of love or service, can make a difference.

CCS programs I’ve completed:


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The one thing I never travel without: I love having journals with me as I travel. There's nothing more relaxing to me than winding down at the end of the day by …

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Jennifer Sinclair, Program Specialist
Jennifer Sinclair
Program Specialist

The one item I never travel without:
My sense of adventure and Chap Stick. When traveling we can tend to stick to what is familiar but I always try and push myself to do things that are a little out of my comfort zone and nobody can live without Chap Stick!

My favorite food discovered on a CCS program:
I would say my favorite food was the gluten-free roti. The cook was super accommodating with my food allergies and made me the most amazing traditional roti bread I have ever had.

CCS programs I’ve completed:

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The one item I never travel without: My sense of adventure and Chap Stick. When traveling we can tend to stick to what is familiar but I always try and push …

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Tevis Shkodra, Program Specialist
Tevis Shkodra
Program Specialist

The one item I never travel without: My journal. The best possible advice I can give to anyone is to go out and buy an unlined journal, a pencil, and a pen, to record anything and everything that comes to their mind, whether that be quotes, drawings and doodles, thoughts, or random poems/music lyrics. Mine is full of quotes and drawings that I can refer to for some positive reinforcement. There is something about the blank page of an unlined journal that is both liberating and refreshing.

What changed for me: I've always been used to a fast-paced work environment, but what changed for me during my volunteering trip was the ability to take a step back and savor the little details. It's really easy to get consumed by the day-to-day madness of life. But the moment you take a step back and look at the big picture (and your contribution), you get some perspective, and learn to enjoy more of the process.

CCS programs I’ve completed:


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The one item I never travel without: My journal. The best possible advice I can give to anyone is to go out and buy an unlined journal, a pencil, and a pen, to …

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Melissa Marston, Program Specialist
Melissa Marston
Program Specialist

The one item I never travel without:
A must travel item is my yoga mat, Jack, "I will never let go Jack!". I love to be able to practice yoga and meditate any where I go. It gives me a sense of home no matter where I am.

My advice for CCS volunteers:
Have an open heart and mind, throughout your experience traveling abroad. Expect the unexpected, and get comfortable with being uncomfortable that is the way that we as people grow.

CCS programs I've completed:

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The one item I never travel without:A must travel item is my yoga mat, Jack, "I will never let go Jack!". I love to be able to practice yoga and meditate any …

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Nick Ruiz, Program Specialist
Nick Ruiz
Program Specialist

The one item I never travel without:
I never leave home without my toothbrush and floss! Fine a very young age I always took pride in going to dentist and never having to get a filling. Since I always take a ton of pictures I like to make sure that I show off my big smile as much as I can during my travels.

My best piece of advice for international volunteers:
Keep organized as much as you can while travelling to another country. I always keep all of my documents, passports, visas and other critical pieces of information in a nice neat folder. Being able to adapt to your surroundings while keeping track of everything can drive you insane!

CCS programs I’ve completed:

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The one item I never travel without:I never leave home without my toothbrush and floss! Fine a very young age I always took pride in going to dentist and never …

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Kaitlin Oliver, Program Specialist
Kaitlin Oliver
Program Specialist

The one thing I never travel without:
A good pair of shoes. So many times I have found myself in a situation where I only had flip-flops on or heels and could not be adventurous (or was brave and found myself tripping many times) a good pair of comfortable walking shoes can go a long way - and save your feet!

My advice for CCS volunteers:
Be open for change, do not be afraid of the unknown, and embrace the beauty of your surroundings. Allow yourself to have culture shock, embrace it, then learn from it!

CCS programs I’ve completed:

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The one thing I never travel without:A good pair of shoes. So many times I have found myself in a situation where I only had flip-flops on or heels and could …

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