Get Off the Tourist Path
For an international volunteer, there are few moments more invigorating and fulfilling than those that take you off the tourist path. They offer a rare glimpse into a new country and culture, and rare insights into yourself, as well.
When you volunteer abroad with Cross-Cultural Solutions, each day brings new opportunities to get off the tourist path. Here are a few special moments experienced by some of the staff here at Cross-Cultural Solutions during their volunteer abroad adventures:
I came across a temple tucked away from the hustle and bustle and without realizing, wandered into the main ceremony hall. As I walked in, I followed the local example by purchasing a lotus flower and taking a seat. Soon, a monk stood before us, and the room was filled to the brim. Unsure of what to do next, I smiled and nodded at the older woman sitting beside me. She smiled back, and proceeded to guide me through the ceremony demonstrating each individual step. I didn't understand a word of it, and the only Thai that I knew was kob khun ka—thank you. But I was still able to participate in that beautiful moment, and I even made a new friend.
Katie Nichols, Thailand
I spent a girl's night sipping Moroccan mint tea with the in-country staff at the CCS Home-Base. We talked about everything, from growing up as a woman in Morocco and dating, to how to wrap a hijab—headscarf. Khadija, the CCS Morocco house manager, made girl's night even more special by carefully decorating our hands and feet with henna. Never in a million years would I have thought that I'd be sitting around my "home" in Morocco, sipping tea and telling stories."
Several years ago, Virginia—CCS Guatemala Country Director—befriended a family living in Sacatepequez. This is one of the towns that holds a spectacular kite festival each year in celebration of Day of the Dead. Every year, on the evening before Day of the Dead, this family hosts CCS volunteers for an evening of coffee, tostadas, and conversation. They share stories of the holiday and their own family traditions and rituals honoring their family's ancestors. When I was in Guatemala, members across 3 generations of this family led us around town to watch community members setting up for the big day. The family even gave us one of their beautiful kites as a keepsake.
Do you want to experience an off-the-path adventure? Enroll to volunteer abroad with Cross-Cultural Solutions today!
Already have one? If you've got an amazing off-the-tourist-path moment that you experienced during your time volunteering abroad with Cross-Cultural Solutions, just drop it in the comments section and share it with our community.