Join a Dance Circle
The local community puts on an exclusive collaborative presentation just for CCS volunteers to formally welcome you, and you’ll get to join in on a traditional drum and dance circle, a very important cultural practice for the Ghanaian people.
Explore the Complexities of India
The culture, history, religion, and family structures of India are complex, and we're sure you'll end each day with a myriad of questions about this complex and captivating country. Meet with expert guest speakers through CCS to explore these, and many other, topics as you immerse and learn about what makes India the land of contrasts.
Explore the Himalaya
Set out on a legendary hike through the Himalaya, the great mountain range separating Tibet and India that is sacred in both Buddhist and Hindu traditions. Whether you're an adrenaline junkie or spiritual pilgrim, the mountain vistas and snow-capped Himalayan peaks are a must-see. Spend an afternoon reflecting and sipping tea with local people of Indian and Tibetan descent.
Weave a Kente Cloth
Typically reserved for special occasions, the kente cloth has a long tradition in Ghana, and is said to have initiated from the observation of spiders creating their webs. Work with local artisans to help with the creation of a kente cloth, which can take months to complete, as you learn about the colorful meanings of these fabrics.
Say "I Do" to Maya Traditions
Maya weddings are full of tradition and superstition, from the gifts of wooden hair barrettes and a sleeveless dress to an elaborate choreography of steps to seal the bonds of marriage. Try your hand in traditional Maya clothing. You just might fall in love with the Maya people!
Create Pottery in Santa Apolonia
Maya pottery tells the story of a civilization, marking important events, telling the history of cooking traditions, and sharing stories of cultural exchange. In the town of Santa Apolonia, the traditions of creating pottery continues. Join a woman in her home to learn about her craft as you create your own Maya artifact.
Get to know your new home away from home on a CCS staff-guided walking tour of Ho. Staff will be sure to call out all points of interest including silversmiths, money exchange sites, ice cream shops, and internet cafes. The tour ends at the weekly outdoor market where you'll catch your first glimpse of the ubiquitous handmade batik fabrics. Purchase some eye-catching fabric to bring over to the local seamstress and she will inexpensively transform it into a one of a kind souvenir.
Swim in the Wli Waterfall
Plunge into a natural pool at the base of the Wli Waterfall, the highest waterfall in West Africa. You’ll take a short hike to the falls where you'll witness the rainbows forming in the mist, and then you’ll paddle out to experience the refreshing spray of the falls up close. After drying off, you'll stop by one of the best souvenir spots in Ghana for a chance to buy wood carvings and batik clothes directly from the artisans who crafted them.
Go Strawberry Farming
An important crop in the Tecpan area, strawberry farming sustains many families in the area. With a local farmer, learn how to plant strawberries about the lifestyle of farming families in rural Guatemala.
Marvel at the Temple of the Dalai Lama
In the holy city of McLeod Ganj, the site of the Tibetan refugee community, find peace and meditation at the Tsuglakhang Temple, which is the site of some of the Dalai Lama's famous speeches and blessings. Witness the rituals of the monks, or take a spin at a prayer wheel, as you immerse yourself in the religious diversity that makes India so unique.
Boat Across Lake Volta
Lake Volta, one of the world's largest man-made lakes, dominates the landscape of eastern Ghana at over 3,000 square miles. Boat across Lake Volta and watch as fishermen tow in the day's catch. Check out some of the recreational facilities lining Volta's shores, and even go for a refreshing swim in the lake!
See a Witch Doctor
In a culture that practices traditional medicine alongside modern healthcare, witch doctors are still commonplace to treat ailments or for advice on future pursuits. Join in, at your choosing, to meet a local witch doctor and learn about the herbal treatments used in Ghanaian society.
Become a Cattle Rancher
If you've dreamed of being a cowboy, here's your chance on the cattle ranches of Guatemala. Explore a local cattle farm by horseback, and visit the baby calves and maternity section as you master the ropes of becoming a ranch hand. Then, learn about the production of milk and cheese for the residents of the Maya Highlands as you say "Ri K'a" (goodbye in Maya) to the farming life.
Practice Your Spanish
In Guatemala, CCS Spanish lessons are divided into levels based on your ability, and tailored to your needs. The first lesson is held in a typical classroom style, but then you'll have a chance to put your knowledge to the test. Your teacher will take you out into the community and challenge you to bargain for fruits, vegetables, and clothing in Spanish at a nearby market. Just another awesome adventure to add to your list!
Summit Mount Afadja
Embark on an adventure with the CCS staff as you climb Mount Afadja, the highest mountain in Ghana. When you reach the top, you’ll take in a gorgeous view of rural Ghana—not to mention, you’ll feel invincible.
Create Ghanaian Pottery
Kpando Pottery, a business based in Ghana that takes its name from the Volta Region, is known for their skilled craftsmanship and distinctive pottery production. Learn how to make your own piece of pottery, and bring it home as your memory of Ghanaian artistry once it's been fired and cooled.
Discover Your Inner Archaeologist
Fleeing problems with a neighboring tribe, the Maya Kaqchikels created Iximche as a safe haven and as a new city for daily life, including Maya ceremonies, rituals, and activities. As you explore these little-known ruins, where excavations continue to this day, you can feel the power of the Maya rituals that took place here in the late 1400s. Learn about the history of the Maya people, and the significance of the world-known Maya calendar, and engage in a traditional Maya fire ceremony.
Meet with Tibetan Monks
Tibetan monks and temples in the refugee community of McLeod Ganj are the cornerstone of religious life. Through one on one interactions with local monks, you will learn about the traditions and journey to become a monk, often starting at the age of 6. Explore the rituals of the few possessions owned by monks, and the traditions of offerings, meditations, and ceremonies through this unique opportunity to immerse yourself in a unique and compelling community.
Lend Your Ear to Tibetan Folk Songs
Folk dance, songs, and instruments are key to Tibetan society, and are considered among the "five minor sciences". Join us at the Tibetan Institute of Performing Arts to experience the dedicated training and performances of this highly regarded crafts, and learn about the meaning behind the intricate costumes used in celebrating this culture.
Prepare Delicious Tandoori
Whether you're a newbie to Indian cuisine or your favorite dishes all contain the words "tikka" or "tandoori," your taste buds are in for a treat at weekly cooking classes at your CCS Home-Base. Each week, your group will have a chance to prepare an authentic Indian dish alongside the CCS cooks. Wow friends and family when you take the recipe back home to share and casually mention "Oh yeah, that's my famous aloo jeera. No big deal."
Sip Hot Cocoa
Connect with a local family over cups of steaming, frothy hot chocolate and learn their millennia-old family recipe for the traditional Mayan drink. You’ll even have the opportunity to help them roast the cacao beans, peel and clean the seeds, cook the chocolate, and then — and here's the best part — enjoy the fruits of your labors over conversation with the family.
Dye Batik Fabric
Ghanaian folklore isn’t a strictly oral tradition; it’s conveyed through traditional “adinkra” symbols as well. You’ll quickly begin to notice adinkra in pottery, wood work, business logos, and fabrics. Visit a local seamstress to learn about these symbols, as well as the traditional batik process for fabric dyeing. Make your own batik handkerchief as a small but meaningful keepsake of all you've learned and seen.
Hike in Amedzofe
While your Home-Base can be found at the end of a dirt road, just 45 minutes away, you'll find lush mountain landscapes. Try your hand at scenic Mount Gemi, or challenge yourself with Mount Adaklu, within view of your home in Ho.
Dance the Odissi
Learn all about Odissi, and Indian classical dance, from a renowned Indian dance instructor. She’ll share the significance of each part of the dance, from the clothing and instruments to the music and the moves; then, you’ll learn the basics of the oldest surviving dance in all of India.