My alternative break made an impact

In my final year at UC San Diego, I led a group of 14 fellow students on a volunteer program through Cross-Cultural Solutions in Cartago, Costa Rica. We were looking for an experience that would be memorable, and more than just a typical spring break. Safety and pre-departure support were also top priorities for us since we were students and even had a few first-time travelers in the group. And this is how I found Cross-Cultural Solutions.

As a busy college student, I wanted to be sure that we'd be traveling with an organization that supported us on both ends of the trip; working with us in the months and weeks before we left as well as helping us to readjust and reflect once we returned home. Molly, our Program Specialist, was incredibly helpful with all of the logistics. She passed along resources to help us book the best airfare, fundraising tips, and lots of cultural information that really came in handy while we were in-country. And because CCS provides accommodation at the Home-Base, airport pick-up and drop-off, three meals a day, cultural activities, and a volunteer project, my team and I were able to focus on getting ready for our adventure and encouraging other students on campus to join us.

Here are the top four things that made this alternative break an accessible and memorable adventure of a lifetime:

  1. CCS partners with local grassroots organizations. When you are assigned to volunteer with a local organization, you'll know that your direct service work is part of a larger movement of active citizens who want to share their skills and passion with others.
  2. The in-country staff are amazing. They are the hardest working people I've ever met and will go out of their way to make sure that you are comfortable and cared for. They are trained to discuss difficult issues with you, like culture shock and social justice issues, so there's no need to be shy.
  3. The Home-Base resource center. There's no need to worry about purchasing and packing all of your craft supplies for that project you've been hoping to do at your volunteer site. The CCS Home-Base resource center is always fully stocked and ready for you to get creative!
  4. CCS values cultural experience gained through service. Some of the most valuable takeaways from the experience are the connections that you'll make with local people and your fellow volunteers. CCS has been a part of every community in which they send volunteers for 10+ years, so no matter where you spend your alternative break, you're immediately welcomed as a member of the family.

Learn more about how to organize your alternative spring break!

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