HIGH SCHOOL VOLUNTEER ABROAD

Where can I volunteer?

CCS High School Volunteer Abroad programs are located in 5 amazing destinations: Costa Rica, Guatemala, Peru, India, and Ghana. You choose where you'd like to volunteer, and how long (between 1 and 4 weeks) you'd like to stay. Check out our High School Volunteer Abroad dates & fees to find the program that works best for you!

How do you work with participants who take regular medication?

We are equipped to work with teens who are taking mood altering medications and prescription painkillers, and have developed standards to ensure the proper use and distribution of these medications. After enrollment, you will indicate any medications on our Health and Emergency Contact form, and we will collect these from you once you arrive in-country for safe keeping in a secure environment for the protection of all participants. We are equipped to handle refrigeration needs, and our in-country staff, who is always available, will distribute the correct dosage.

How do you ensure the CCS experience is safe?

The safety of our volunteers is our #1 priority and, with 20 years of experience and more than 35,000 international volunteers, we’ve learned what is important to keep volunteers safe. It starts with the initial selection of our program sites—every location is chosen with safety in mind, and we are continuously monitoring the country and community so that we are aware of local events. We think about the big things that you might already have in mind, like building relationships with local doctors and hospitals and providing bottled drinking water safe for travelers. We’re also thinking about those small details that you might not have in mind, like comprehensive daily vehicle inspections and installing smoke and carbon monoxide detectors within each Home-Base. Our experience and our commitment to safety make us the safest international volunteer program out there, and we invite you to ask us more about our detailed safety standards. We’re sure you’ll be impressed.

And you can learn more about CCS safety by visiting our blog!

Can I speak to past high school participants and parents?

Absolutely! Our volunteers are eager to share their stories and experiences, and with tens of thousands of happy alums, we've got quite a long list of folks—volunteers and parents of volunteers—who are happy to talk you to about their CCS volunteer program. Just contact Julie, our Alumni Engagement Specialist, at 800-380-4777 or at julie@crossculturalsolutions.org and she'll put you in touch with an alumni family in your area.

Read firsthand accounts of the CCS High School Volunteer Abroad experience on our blog.

Can parents visit teens on the program?

To ensure the safety of the Home-Base environment, we only allow High School Volunteer Abroad participants and our in-country staff members to stay or visit the Home-Base. However, we do encourage parents to join their teens before and/or after the program to explore the country together, through independent travel.

How can teens and parents stay in contact during the program?

We realize it’s important to stay in touch during your program, and for parents of High School Volunteer Abroad participants to have a way to reach Cross-Cultural Solutions day and night. At every Home-Base, there is a volunteer phone that accepts international calls, and that number will be provided to parents of participants. In addition, internet access is either available in the Home-Base so that you can stay in touch via email, social media, and Skype. Finally, to add to your peace of mind, a 24-hour hotline is available for emergency questions where you or your parents can always reach a CCS staff member at CCS HQ. Of course, your Program Specialist will continue to be available throughout (and after) the program to address any concerns and answer all questions, and they are in regular contact with our in-country staff.

How do the flights work?

CCS volunteers come from around the world, so we allow you the flexibility in determining the flight that works best for you. Once you arrive in-country, you’ll be greeted at the airport by a CCS staff member—right at the arrivals gate—who’ll transport you in a CCS vehicle to the Home-Base. Since volunteers arrive on the same start date, you’ll often be on a flight with other volunteers, and we connect you with those volunteers and their parents well in advance of the program, so that you can plan to fly together, if you wish. Though many teens opt to arrive independently, we also offer a flight option for teens from a US-based gateway city where you can meet up and board the flight together to arrive in-country as a group.

What does the program contribution include? Do I need to budget for any additional expenses?

We've created our program contribution specifically so it’s inclusive for all of your in-country expenses. What does that mean? Accommodations in the Home-Base within the local community, delicious meals prepared by local cooks, unlimited bottled drinking water, all of your activities including Cultural Activities and language lessons, and of course the full support and guidance of our in-country staff of local nationals. We also provide transportation to and from the airport and your volunteer project, and comprehensive travel medical insurance. And most importantly, we arrange and support you throughout a meaningful volunteer assignment that is based on the needs of the community. All in all, you get 20 years of experience from the leading organization in the field. We virtually invented this kind of volunteering. You get an unmatched safety record that includes 24-hour security and supervision, and the peace of mind to know that our experience informs safety measures in areas that you’d never think to ask about. And, you get our track record on providing quality programs. Overwhelmingly, we hear that “volunteering with CCS changed my life.”

So the only expenses that you need to think about are airfare to and from your home country to the country where you’ll be volunteering, any visa fees or airport exit fees (if required), and any funds for personal expenses on the program, such as long-distance phone calls or souvenirs.

How do I prepare for an international volunteer program?

We know the importance of preparation and information before you begin your program, and our team of alumni is there to guide you every step of the way. Starting when you are considering your program, you can reach out to a Program Advisor to help determine the best location and start dates for you. Once you enroll, you’ll be guided through a training process by your dedicated Program Site Specialist, all of whom are proud CCS alums. Parents and teens alike will have opportunities to participate in individual calls and conference calls with other volunteers and parents of volunteers, complete with a wealth of program information to ensure that your every question is answered and you can be effective and prepared for your program. And, once you arrive in-country, you’ll have a full-day orientation, including a tour of your new community, an introduction to cultural norms, and effective international volunteering. Finally, once you return, you are part of the CCS global family, where we offer tools and guidance on how to leverage your experience, continue your impact, and remain engaged in global issues.

How is supervision handled? What is the staff to volunteer ratio?

We take supervision on the High School Volunteer Program very seriously, and provide 24-hour supervision to all teens with one male and one female highly-trained and experienced CCS staff member present at all times. You can be assured of a minimum 6 to 1 volunteer to staff ratio at all times, ensuring that the High School Volunteer Abroad experience is safe and well-structured.

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