For my very first Cross-Cultural Solutions experience, I was in Tanzania celebrating my 65th birthday. I spent several weeks teaching at a local juvenile detention center. It was the hardest, and most wonderful thing I've ever done. I arrived in Moshi thinking that I would be teaching English to the boys at the center, and nothing more. But what an awakening! And just like any other international volunteer will tell you, I'm sure I learned more from those boys than they learned from me.
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 you volunteer abroad with Cross-Cultural Solutions, you'll find that every moment brings with it an opportunity to learn about and explore the culture. And as every international adventurer knows, the number of ways in which local cuisine can offer insight into culture and heritage are endless.
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.
In the fall of 2009, I was about to return to college after taking several years off to travel. I was at a pretty major crossroads in my life and not entirely sure about what I wanted to study, or what I wanted to do once I earned my degree. So before returning to school in the fall, I decided to go on one last international adventure. And I wanted this one to be something completely different from anything I had ever done before. That's how I made the decision to volunteer with Cross-Cultural Solutions in Bagamoyo, Tanzania for 3 weeks.
Volunteering with Cross-Cultural Solutions is an incredibly effective way to take a step back and evaluate the path you've chosen. Whether you're interested in taking a career break abroad, you're a recent grad ready to experience the life of an international volunteer, or you're just trying to figure out your next big move, the CCS experience offers you an opportunity to shake things up, and change everything.
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.
When you volunteer abroad with Cross-Cultural Solutions, what awaits you at the Home-Base is a family of local people who’ll immediately plug you into your new community. It's the family in a faraway place that you never knew you had; the CCS in-country team.
Check out this amazing video by a Cross-Cultural Solutions alum. After his recent 3-week volunteer abroad experience in Kilimanjaro, Tanzania, we think he did an incredible job capturing just what's so special about CCS.