Join us for a year that you won’t soon forget as you perfect your Spanish skills while exploring three distinct Latin American nations. 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! **Enroll by May 31, 2019 and exchange your final week in the program for a week exploring Machu Picchu, Peru, included in your program contribution!**
Spanish Immersion Gap Year

Volunteer Opportunities

Maya Highlands


Immerse yourself in the Maya Highlands in the city of Tecpán, Guatemala, where 90% of the population is Kaqchikel Maya. The traditions of an ancient culture is still alive today, with colorful fabrics, fascinating ruins, and intricate ceremonies. Surrounded by lush farms and towering volcanoes, your experience in the Maya Highlands is a unique opportunity to see the true culture of rural Guatemala.

Learn more about Volunteer Opportunities in Guatemala »
Gap Year in GuatemalaGuatemala Gap Year

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

Gap Year in Costa RicaGap Year by the Beach

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


Costa Rica

Beach life and cowboy culture converge in the province of Guanacaste in Costa Rica. Let the city of Santa Cruz amaze you with it's expansive ranches and rolling hills, or head over to the pristine beach communities along the Pacific coast for an afternoon in the sun. As you sip on tropical juices at the CCS Home-Base, and perhaps pick a mango or cashew from one of our fruit trees as an afternoon snack, you'll find yourself in the Pura Vida lifestyle in no time.

Learn more about Volunteer Opportunities in Costa Rica »
Guna Yala


Join us for a week of adventure and exploration in the coconut islands of Guna Yala. An indigenous territory off the coast of Panama, your week will take you to remote beaches, coral reefs, and a rich heritage of small fishing communities living off the water. Hop in your canoe and join us to discover a part of the world that has clung to paradise for centuries.

Guna Yala PanamaGap Year in Panama

"A proverb is to speech what salt is to food."
Panamanian 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 education. You may be working in 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. Take a much-deserved break from your volunteer work with an experience in Guna Yala, Panama. Finally, help young children meet their early childhood education goals in Costa Rica through schools and day cares. Join us for an optional final week in Machu Picchu for our 2019 promotion!

Spanish Immersion Gap Year

Your Home-Bases

Guatemala Home-Base


Nestled in the Maya Highlands, the CCS Home-Base in Guatemala immerses you in a rich Maya farming community. Just a 20 minute walk up scenic rural roads, you'll find yourself in the bustling city of Tecpán, 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.

Home-Base in Guanacaste

Costa Rica

Your home away from home in Guanacaste is located on a safe and quiet rural neighborhood, 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 expansive gardens with fellow volunteers or lounging in the common area, this eco-friendly spot will provide the perfect respite at the end of the day. The interior of the Home-Base invites in the lush outdoors with large windows to continue to enjoy Costa Rica well into each evening.

Spanish Immersion Gap Year

CCS Country Presidents

Juan Carlos Country President 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.

Costa Rica Country President Franklin
Costa Rica

Franklin Torrez

Franklin brings his passion for social development and sustainable solutions for social equity to his position as Country President with Cross-Cultural Solutions. is part of the Cross Cultural Solutions team in Costa Rica as a Country President. Franklin received a bachelor’s degree in Food Science and Technology from Zamorano University in Honduras and did a study program in Sustainable Agriculture at Minnesota University. Previous to his work with CCS, he worked Global Brigades- Nicaragua and he was involved as a volunteer with non-profit organizations in Ethiopia, Uganda, and Ecuador.

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.

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