This past summer, I volunteered in Ghana's Volta Region, and it was the most incredible two weeks of my life. After volunteering with CCS in Guatemala the year before, I knew I wanted to do it again, but in Africa this time.
This past summer, we launched our very first Documentarian of the Summer contest for our intrepid High School Volunteer Abroad participants. We challenged each of our high school volunteers to produce a video that captures their CCS experience. With so many amazing videos, it was hard to choose just one, but we're pleased to announce our very first Documentarian of the Summer: CCS High School Volunteer Abroad volunteer, Katie Roche!
In the summer of 2012, Kirkwood Community College sent our very first group of students overseas to volunteer with Cross-Cultural Solutions. Since then, we have sent students and faculty to Tanzania, Peru, and Costa Rica. And in 2014, I'll be leading my very first group of Cross-Cultural Solutions student volunteers on an immersive cultural experience in Ghana's Volta Region.
I began studying Swahili during my first year at Hampshire College. I loved learning a new language and studying East African culture. So when I began my third year of school, I decided to volunteer in Kilimanjaro, Tanzania with Cross-Cultural Solutions as an independent study. CCS provided me with the perfect foundation to create a month-long program while earning academic credit.
When I first signed up to volunteer abroad with Cross-Cultural Solutions, I knew that things were about to change for me, but I really had no idea just how much the experience would impact my life. I was thinking about the service, the adventure, the amazing photos that I would take. It hadn't even crossed my mind that I would be making friends that would last a lifetime. But that's just what happened.
Before traveling abroad, I had almost no idea the rest of the world existed. It seemed like everything I saw in the news or read about in books was almost like fiction. I mean, I knew these places existed, but I just didn't realize that I could actually go there, and how much there was to learn in each new place.
You know two things: You keep finding your gaze drift over to the continent of Africa as you search for your next big adventure, and you're certain that teaching English abroad is the way that you want to make your impact. When you teach English in Africa with Cross-Cultural Solutions, you're supporting our partner organizations in their efforts to provide better access to education for children and adults alike. But you may be wondering, "How can I choose between Morocco and Tanzania?" These are the right questions to ask; Africa is a massive and incredibly diverse continent.
In my last blog post, I focused on the community impact data collected from our local partner organizations through the Cross-Cultural Solutions Partner Program Survey. And since I promised to share some of the universal trends and amazing quotes that best illustrate these trends, I'm back with a few of my favorites.
If you've been considering a once-in-a-lifetime volunteer abroad adventure in Ghana's Volta Region—or any of our 12 amazing international destinations—then you've got to check out this video.
With over 30,000 alums in our global family, we've heard some incredible stories about how adventurous volunteers have embarked on the Cross-Cultural Solutions experience of a lifetime, and how for them, it changed everything.