The CCS Spanish Immersion Gap Year Program abroad is a perfect choice for those seeking to soak up Latin American culture and learn the Spanish language, while making a real impact. Whether you’re a Spanish language beginner or a seasoned veteran, a lover of Latin American history or only beginning to explore the richly diverse cultures of South and Central America, this immersion gap year itinerary has something for everyone!
Tecpan

Guatemala

Guatemala is rich with the traditions of Maya culture; the Maya population alone is made up of 22 different ethnicities, each with its own unique dress and language.
Cartago

Costa Rica

Costa Rica is known for its friendly culture, lush rainforests, diverse wildlife, and striking beaches.
Lima

Peru

Home to nearly a tenth of the world's rainforests, the Andes Mountains, the ancient wonders of Machu Picchu, and the Nazca Lines, Peru is a legendary place.

Spring Semester

February 10, 2018

Peru: February 2018 (4 weeks) Costa Rica: March 2018 (4 weeks) Guatemala: April 2018 (4 weeks)

Fall Semester

September 8, 2018

Peru: September 15, 2018 (4 weeks) Guatemala: October 13, 2018 (4 weeks) Costa Rica: November 10, 2018 (4 weeks)
Join us for a year that you won’t soon forget as you perfect your Spanish skills while exploring three distinct Latin American nations. Kick off your gap year volunteer adventure and your Spanish language immersion in Lima, Peru to immerse yourself in meaningful work in the shantytowns of Villa El Salvador. Next, jet off to Tecpan, Guatemala, a Maya community in the highlands of Guatemala where you'll work with Maya students and schools. Wrap up your Latin American adventure in Cartago, Costa Rica, an authentic community on the border of the beautiful Orosi Valley, where you'll have a chance to explore the incredible countryside and work with communities struggling with low employment and immigration. A veritable cultural melting pot, you’ll find endless opportunities to put your newfound language skills to the tests as you visit markets, cities, coastline, and historic ruins.
Spanish Immersion Gap Year

Volunteer Opportunities

Tecpan

Guatemala

Since the end of the 36-year civil war in 1995, the country has been recovering slowly, making some improvements in infrastructure and services. However, social progress has been limited by high illiteracy rates, low school enrollment, insufficient health services and access to clean water. In this Maya community, you will support the organizations and schools striving to provide critical services to the population.

Learn more about Volunteer Opportunities in Guatemala »
Spanish Immersion Gap Year Programs with Cross-Cultural Solutions - New FriendsSpanish Immersion Gap Year Programs with Cross-Cultural Solutions - Get Inspired

"All rise and nobody is left behind, neither not one person nor two or three."
From the Popol-Vuh Sacred book of the Mayan Quiches

Spanish Immersion Gap Year Programs with Cross-Cultural Solutions - Child DevelopmentSpanish Immersion Gap Year Programs with Cross-Cultural Solutions - Costa Rica

“¡Ay sí, atrévete! (Oh yes, be daring!)”
from “Drummer Boy,” song by Costa Rican singer, Debi Nova

Cartago

Costa Rica

Costa Ricans face serious challenges related to an increasing number of regional immigrants, the highest rate in Latin America. These immigrant populations face discrimination and are often left with limited access to healthcare, education, or social services. Additional challenges for Costa Rica include rampant alcoholism and orphaned or neglected children. You will directly help local organizations that provide necessary social services.

Learn more about Volunteer Opportunities in Costa Rica »
Lima

Peru

In recent years, Peruvians have struggled with significant social and economic changes following the terrorist acts of the Shining Path, a communist revolutionary group that was determined to overthrow the government in the ‘80s. These events triggered a major population shift from rural to urban areas, resulting in a strain on resources that left children and the elderly especially vulnerable. You will help support people affected by the Shining Path who are still searching for better opportunities.

Learn more about Volunteer Opportunities in Peru »
Spanish Immersion Gap Year Programs with Cross-Cultural Solutions - limaSpanish Immersion Gap Year Programs with Cross-Cultural Solutions - Peru

"Little by little, one walks far."
Peruvian Proverb

Volunteer Impact

As you explore 3 distinct countries and cultures on your Spanish Immersion Gap Year program, you will be working with sustainable community organizations to help them to advance their goals in child development and healthcare. You may be working toward supporting community development in Lima at an education center for underprivileged youth. Then, hop over to Tecpan, Guatemala, to work with Maya children in an elementary school focused on improving their opportunities to stay in school past fourth grade, while improving hand washing and sanitation facilities. Finally, help young children meet their early childhood education goals in Costa Rica,

Spanish Immersion Gap Year

Your Home-Bases

Enjoy our rural Home-Base in the Maya community of Tecpan, Guatemala
Tecpan

Guatemala

Nestled in the Maya Highlands, the CCS Home-Base in Guatemala immerses you in a rich Maya farming community. Just a 10-minute walk down scenic rural roads, you'll find yourself in the bustling city of Tecpan, the heart of the surrounding villages, with access to cafes, shops, and restaurants. Rest and relax in comfortable rooms, each with a private bathroom, and reflect in the incredible scenery while soaking in the traditional life, colorful fabrics, and unique cultural systems through your new Maya neighbors. Every moment in your home in Guatemala will be a relaxing retreat from your impactful volunteer work. In the large dining area, share traditional Guatemalan cuisine with your fellow volunteers, including some old favorites like homemade guacamole and corn tortillas, and some new dishes that are sure to please, like hearty stews, fresh tropical fruits, and frijoles volteados, a popular local dish.

Spanish Immersion Gap Year Programs with Cross-Cultural Solutions home-base Costa Rica
Cartago

Costa Rica

Your home away from home in Cartago is located on a safe and quiet residential street, complete with swinging hammocks and lush Costa Rican vegetation. Living areas are communal, and you'll find plenty of space in and around CCS Home-Base to relax and reflect on your time abroad. Whether you're kicking it in the courtyard with fellow volunteers or lounging in the common area, this former schoolhouse will provide the perfect respite at the end of the day. The hallways and bathrooms are full of colorfully painted hand prints, inspirational quotes, and good memories, all compliments of program alums.

Cross-Cultural Solutions Global Gap Year Programs Peru Home-Base
Lima

Peru

Your Peruvian home away from home is located in a lovely community, just a short walk from a convenient hour laundry service and delicious restaurants. With little gardens inside and outside of the CCS Home-Base with plum trees and grapevines, you’ll never feel too far from nature. The CCS Peru Home-Base has bedrooms upstairs and downstairs and wood floors throughout. The common area is a great spot to play board games with fellow volunteers, or study up on your español. Then there's the food in Peru. You'll enjoy incredible local meals made up of meats, salads and veggies, all served with a side of amazing fiery sauce that will quickly become a new favorite!

Spanish Immersion Gap Year

CCS Country Presidents

Spanish Immersion Gap Year Programs with Cross-Cultural Solutions Juan Carlos
Guatemala

Juan Carlos Buonafina

Juan Carlos Buonafina is known for his kind personality and for his dedication to the people of his home country of Guatemala. Juan Carlos is an educator, an intercultural exchange professional, and an expert at guiding international volunteer experiences. After receiving his degree, Juan Carlos started his career with CCS, specifically leading the CCS teen program in the Maya Highlands of Tecpan. Join Juan Carlos on your Guatemala journey to gain a unique and unparalleled insight into life in the mountainside towns of Guatemala.

Spanish Immersion Gap Year Programs with Cross-Cultural Solutions Jose
Costa Rica

José Hernández-Ugalde

Jose has a hunger to learn and desire to share: he’s truly lifelong student and educator. As a teacher, Jose worked with high school students in both Costa Rica and the United States, and he led civic education programs for students in Washington D.C. Jose is also a fierce advocate for children’s rights and opportunities. Jose collaborated with the Foreign Service Foundation for Peace and Democracy to reduce child labor and to protect the environment across Central America. With Defense for Children International, Jose worked to reduce sexual exploitation and child labor, and to improve access to education and healthcare for children across Latin America.

Spanish Immersion Gap Year Programs with Cross-Cultural Solutions Kique
Peru

Enrique “Kique” Bossio

Kique is a hands-on leader; he is closely connected to our partner organizations in Peru. Kique is extremely knowledgable and passionate: he’ll discuss issues with you from human rights to Peruvian politics or history. He’s not entirely serious, though: his sarcastic and light-hearted humor is infectious, bringing a special light to the Home-Base. Before joining CCS, Kique was the Peru and Bolivia Country Director for the Canadian University Service Overseas (CUSO). He also served as an executive committee member for the Movimiento Homosexual de Lima (MHOL), an internationally recognized organization advocating for the rights of the gay and lesbian community as well as individuals affected by HIV/AIDS. Kique has established an AIDS hotline, a Peers Education program, and Safer Sex workshops for MHOL, and has interned with Human Rights Watch in Washington, DC.

In-Country Staff
The CCS staff members are passionate about international volunteering and committed to the success of each program. It takes knowledge and experience to place an international volunteer into a community project, which is why all of our in-country staff members are from the communities where we work. They can share cultural insights with you that only a local person would know.
Their dedication doesn’t stop there: our staff wants you to feel completely at home. They’re always on--hand to support your needs, no matter how big or small. The CCS office is even located in the Home-Base. When you meet our staff, you’ll discover that these are the people who make CCS so special.
When can I go?

Dates & Fees

Spring Semester

February 10, 2018
Peru: February 2018 (4 weeks) Costa Rica: March 2018 (4 weeks) Guatemala: April 2018 (4 weeks)

Fall Semester

September 8, 2018
Peru: September 15, 2018 (4 weeks) Guatemala: October 13, 2018 (4 weeks) Costa Rica: November 10, 2018 (4 weeks)

Spanish Immersion Gap Year

$11,500 USD
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