VOLUNTEER ABROAD

Little by little, a little becomes a lot in Tanzania

By Catherine Kerber, Volunteer in Kilimanjaro, Tanzania

Deciding where and how to volunteer can be daunting for anyone, but when I chose to volunteer overseas I knew that I wanted to do something that would benefit the community I would be serving. My friend had recently come back from Tanzania with Cross-Cultural Solutions (CCS) and raved about her time there and her plans to continue her relationship with her placement and the people she met in Tanzania. She inspired me to volunteer with CCS and I haven't looked back since.

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Tanzania has changed my life!

Moshi, Tanzania.
It’s a world much different than mine.
People move at a different pace.
They stop and listen.
If you announce that a family member is ill, they want to know how long, what did they eat and how you plan to treat them.
In my world,the response is “sorry, hope they feel better soon.”
In their world, the pace of walking is much more sensible.
In Moshi, when you stroll, there’s a better chance of running into a friend or spotting a child that’s gotten out of earshot from it’s family.

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Why I chose Cross-Cultural Solutions and Costa Rica.

I always had a dream of volunteering, traveling and immersing myself into another culture. I had heard wonderful things about the Peace Corps but knew that a 27-month commitment was way more than I was interested in at this phase in my life. I took to the internet and stumbled upon Cross-Cultural Solutions (CCS).

With a little more research, I was hooked. Cross-Cultural Solutions (CCS) offered a variety of timelines and locations so that I could customize my experience. I decided that 3 months would offer me the volunteer opportunity I was looking for.

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"It was so different from anything I had ever known."

I will never forget the moment I stepped off the plane and into Mohammed V International Airport in Casablanca. Jet lag seemed to be dragging my body into the floor beneath me and I struggled to read the signs around me.

This was my first trip overseas, the first time I would ever travel on my own. All I had ever known were big American cities like Philadelphia, New York, and Washington, DC. I think that was part of what drew me to Morocco – it was so different from anything I had ever known.

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How I went from backpacker, to international volunteer

Here's something that just about all of my friends and family know about me: I'm a backpacker. I love waking up in the morning, pointing to a spot on the map, hopping on a bus and ending up somewhere new. In fact, I've backpacked through 42 countries and counting. When I had the opportunity to volunteer in Ghana with Cross-Cultural Solutions in November of 2013, I could hardly believe that I'd be making my very first trip to the African continent.

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