My CCS adventure that absolutely changed everything for me.
Hello! I am Julie, the Alumni Engagement Specialist, and I would like to share my CCS adventure that has absolutely changed everything for me.
Once upon a time I was working in the corporate circle, dreaming about doing something internationally and make a difference in the world. While the Peace Corps sounded interesting, I never quite felt comfortable with a long term commitment. In addition, I was feeling really stuck in my career. That’s when my mentor told me about CCS and the rest is history.
I was so excited to learn about this opportunity. I asked a million questions, woke up in the middle of the night to look at trips, and finally made the decision to enroll. My first program was CCS Morocco and it completely changed my life. Having grown up in the Midwest with very limited travel opportunities, this opened my eyes to a whole new world. I learned so much about Islam and was able to break down misunderstandings about the culture. I discovered that we are all the same; having the same desires and that I have so much to gain from other cultures!
I went back to my busy life still dreaming about making a larger difference. The experience stayed with me and a year later I volunteered in Guatemala; falling in love with CCS and international volunteering all over again. I was hooked and I knew I had to do more. I applied for a position at CCS and in a few short weeks moved across country for my dream job. It truly changed everything. I have since volunteered in India, Thailand, Peru, Ghana and soon to be Tanzania. I have trekked into the Sahara desert by camel, climbed Mayan temples in Tikal, stayed with hill tribes in Chiang Mai, and much more.
International volunteering has completely changed me. I have fallen in love with the world and humanity. My work used to be empty, performing investigations in the corporate circle. Now I get to volunteer teaching conversational English to women in India, abuelos and abuelas in Peru, and special needs children in Guatemala.
One of the moments, that still brings me to tears, is from my trip to India volunteering with a women's group. We organized a hike and picnic with the group I had been teaching conversational English to during the week. Each girl brought a traditional Indian dish and we shared stories, songs, and laughter all day. A few girls told me at the end of the picnic that it was the best day of their lives. I realized then, that even though I am just one person volunteering for a few weeks, I can make a difference - even if just in one girl’s life. And that changes everything!
I love CCS and I love what I do. What is your CCS adventure? I am here to help you have many more adventures and look forward to working with you!