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August 7, 2014

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August 7, 2014

I just returned from 5 weeks in Dharamsala, India. CCS truly allowed for me to have the life changing experience that I had. My volunteer work was at a daycare for children roughly 2-7, and I feel my work was very impactful. The staff were so great, the food was absolutely incredible, and the activities they had planned for the volunteers were spectacular. We had free time to venture to other places on the weekends and do our own exploring, and having an understanding of the culture from the program really allowed us to immerse ourselves. Incredible experience, recommend CCS to anyone!

More feedback...

Would you volunteer for this group again?

Likely

For the time you spent, how much of an impact did you feel your work or activity had?

Some

Did the organization use your time wisely?

Very Well

Would you recommend this group to a friend?

Definitely

When was your last experience with this nonprofit?

2014

August 6, 2014

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August 6, 2014

I spent four weeks in Dharamsala, India- what a colorful and inspiring culture. I've never felt so in touch with the environment and the people surrounding me. From the high peaks of the Himalayas to the small family I became part of at home base, I was in awe of how happy and at peace I felt in India. A memory I will treasure will be of the beautiful drive to Manali passing back and forth across rivers and winding narrow roads high up above the valley. It was breathtaking and a truly spiritual experience. Mama Earth, how spectacular you are! My work was volunteering in a daycare for children ages 2-10. For my first time with kids, I learned much about our basic human nature watching them play together and doing arts and language activities together. Kids are kids! They ask only for your love and to do the Hokey Pokey.

More feedback...

Would you volunteer for this group again?

Likely

For the time you spent, how much of an impact did you feel your work or activity had?

Some

Did the organization use your time wisely?

Very Well

Would you recommend this group to a friend?

Definitely

When was your last experience with this nonprofit?

2014

August 3, 2014
1 person found this review helpful

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August 3, 2014
1 person found this review helpful

I just returned from spending two weeks in Rabat, Morocco. The experience was life changing! I volunteered at a Children's Hospital playing with sick kids mostly through arts and crafts. The hospital really depends on volunteers to help with entertaining the kids and to help them forget about being sick for a few hours. The house staff in Morocco were simply amazing and really tried to make sure each volunteer was comfortable. Mohamed, the CCS country director, is such a caring, warm person and really is concerned for the safety and well being of all volunteers. The home base is located in an extremely safe neighborhood of Rabat with cafes and parks all within walking distance. The cultural activities organized by the CCS staff were very informative and educational. If anyone is thinking about volunteering abroad and does not have the ability to commit over two years to the Peace Corps, I would wholeheartedly recommend giving back through CCS. It will certainly be an experience you will not forget!

More feedback...

Would you volunteer for this group again?

Definitely

For the time you spent, how much of an impact did you feel your work or activity had?

Life-changing

Did the organization use your time wisely?

Quite well

Would you recommend this group to a friend?

Definitely

When was your last experience with this nonprofit?

2014

July 30, 2014

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July 30, 2014

I was in Bangkok for three weeks. The CCS staff was local, well-informed, and totally awesome. They consistently went out of their way to make the experience for the volunteers as rich as possible. I still can't believe all the activities we participated in, and even better was the volunteering part. I loved teaching at the school (even though I am not a teacher), and I want to go back and do some more!

More feedback...

Would you volunteer for this group again?

Likely

For the time you spent, how much of an impact did you feel your work or activity had?

A lot

Did the organization use your time wisely?

Very Well

Would you recommend this group to a friend?

Definitely

When was your last experience with this nonprofit?

2014

July 30, 2014

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July 30, 2014

I spent 1 week in Ghana, and I had such an amazing time. The activities were really amazing. The school i worked at was amazing as well. I met so many interesting people. The staff at the home base was really helpful, loving, and caring. I felt really safe at the home base as well. I definitely recommend Cross Cultural Solutions to anyone who is interested in volunteering abroad. Such a wonderful opportunity.

Ways to make it better...

If I had to make changes to this organization, I would...

Give the staff members a few more days off, or hire more people. The staff were really hard workers and they worked many hours. They never complained, but I saw how tired some of them were at times.

More feedback...

Would you volunteer for this group again?

Likely

For the time you spent, how much of an impact did you feel your work or activity had?

A lot

Did the organization use your time wisely?

Quite well

Would you recommend this group to a friend?

Definitely

When was your last experience with this nonprofit?

2014

July 28, 2014

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July 28, 2014

I spent 1 week in CCS Costa Rica with my teen daughter and niece. I chose this program based on a personal recommendation from a friend who has done 4-5 CCS trips (both on her own and with her teenage children) so I was physically and mentally well-prepared for the trip. The actual experience so exceeded our expectations that we all three wished we had selected a 2 or 3-week program instead of the 1-week one. Everything from the pre-trip support, the in-country staff (extraordinary!), the placement and the impact we made there to the cultural activities, the food, and the fellow volunteers was a 5-star experience. Even the dorm-style accommodations and limited restrooms were clean and cared for with pride. I did find my earplugs very useful for sleeping in the evening.

More feedback...

Would you volunteer for this group again?

Definitely

For the time you spent, how much of an impact did you feel your work or activity had?

A lot

Did the organization use your time wisely?

Very Well

Would you recommend this group to a friend?

Definitely

When was your last experience with this nonprofit?

2014

July 27, 2014

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July 27, 2014

I just spent 3 weeks in Morocco with CCS Rabat, and I had a great experience!!! The program was well balanced with volunteering (I taught English) in the morning and cultural activities in the afternoon. The food at the house was incredible - I've never had more delicious and well-balanced meals that consecutively. There was also plenty of time to explore on your own. The staff were super friendly and helpful, as were the other volunteers staying at the house. Overall, I had a great experience and would recommend it to anyone wanting to get to know Morocco!!

More feedback...

Would you volunteer for this group again?

Definitely

For the time you spent, how much of an impact did you feel your work or activity had?

A lot

Did the organization use your time wisely?

Very Well

Would you recommend this group to a friend?

Definitely

When was your last experience with this nonprofit?

2014

July 27, 2014

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July 27, 2014

I just graduated from James Madison University in May. I was planning on taking the summer to travel and spend time with family. My older sister had volunteered in Thailand and Brazil with Cross Cultural Solutions, so I decided to look into their programs. I had never done a volunteer trip like this before, but did spend a semester abroad in Florence, Italy and consider myself a “well traveled” woman.
Despite the apprehension that my family and friends had that I was going to a predominately Muslim country during a time of war and unrest in the Middle East, I spent two weeks in Rabat, Morocco! I too had a lot of anxiety before departing, mostly concerning my safety. It was also going to be a bit of a unique experience, because I visited during Ramadan, one of the most religious times of the year. However, these feelings were quickly quelled when I was greeted at the airport by our program director Mohamed Mhmmoudi , and when I arrived at our home base in Rabat.
Our home base was clean, comfortable, and in a very safe neighborhood. We had a guard 24 hours, and were quickly informed about how to stay safe in the city. We were told what taxis to use, Arabic and French phrases that would be of help to us, and the general location of all things. During our orientation, the staff was extremely helpful and knowledgeable about where to eat, how to act, and our placements. They were open and honest with us about everything! Within the first twenty-five minutes they asked us who wanted to go to the Eastern Sahara for the weekend and ride a camel. All of us shot our hands up, and Mohamed organized a trip for us with transportation, accommodations and a tour guide all taken care of! It was easy, and is one of my favorite memories from the two week time spent in Morocco. On the way to the Sahara we stopped to see monkeys on the road and met Nomads. I truly felt like it was something out of a National Geographic article and an experience I will never forget! Orientation was thorough and helpful. The staff made me feel right at home, along with the other volunteers.
The food was delicious and no one during my stay there got sick. The water was all filtered and everything was clean, which is something that is not a given in some countries. We were served three meals a day with lunch being the biggest. There were plenty of options and a variety of different dishes to choose from. They also catered to dietary restrictions such as gluten free, vegetarian, or vegan. There was a grocery store right down the road from our home base, where we could shop for snacks as well. The home base had a separate refrigerator for volunteers, if we wanted to keep some of our own snacks. This worked very well, and no one ever took others food etc. we all respected one another’s stuff. Personally, I can tend to be a picky health nut when it comes to food. I am going to miss the delicious fresh cuisine they served us, especially couscous Fridays and all of the fresh fruit! I did get a few of the recipes, so I will be able to recreate them in the states! We also had two cooking classes while I was there, which were great. We got a very good understanding of how much passion and emphasis they put on meals. In addition, I visited during Ramadan, so it was fun to learn all about the traditional food they serve when they break fast.
The home base was incredibly clean, safe and gorgeous! Our rooms were cleaned everyday, and we got clean towels whenever we asked for them. I had two other roommates and they were very respectful of my belongings. The home base also had locks and safe places to keep any valuables such as a computer, and passports. However, I never felt the need to lock anything up. I often had my laptop sitting on a table while I left to volunteer for a few hours. I am a huge runner, and was nervous I would not be able to exercise while I was there because of security issues. Luckily, I found a running buddy the first day (a fellow volunteer) and there was a super safe park that we ran to and around every morning. We ran down a street inhabited by embassies and royal families. I felt safe and secure. However, we did make sure we were respectful of their culture and wore long running pants and a long sleeved shirt.
I loved my placement, and did feel like I was making a difference. For the first week I was put in a children’s hospital. I played with the kids and family members while they were waiting for treatment etc. The children were incredibly affectionate and loved to do crafts. I could tell the mothers also appreciated someone else occupying their children (giving them a bit of a break). The second week, I taught English and was thoroughly impressed with the ability of the children to soak up all the information I handed to them. The kids ranged from ages 6-15. At times, it was challenging because there were a lot of different levels from beginners to more advanced students. However, I learned how to adjust to this. I had never had any teaching experience prior to this, but the staff helped and supported me along the way. Abdellah (CCS Staff in charge of our placements) was constantly checking in with us making sure we were happy with our placement and if we weren’t what he could do to change that.
I believe the CCS program in Rabat, Morocco was absolutely incredible. I had a bit of apprehension going to a predominately Muslim country, when it came to my safety. However, I soon learned that the CCS staff and fellow volunteers were there to make me feel as safe and comfortable as possible. I learned an immense amount about Morocco, and about the Muslim culture. I also felt like I was truly able to extend myself to others in my volunteer placement and hopefully teach them a bit more about my culture and the English Language. As an American Citizen I can proudly say that we need more programs like this in Muslim countries! We need now more than ever to educate ourselves on Islamic beliefs and values. We also need now more than ever to immerse ourselves in Muslim countries, to understand them, and simply build relationships with others! People are people!
A HUGE THANK YOU TO CCS for giving me the opportunity to explore Morocco, learn, and give back to another culture!

More feedback...

Would you volunteer for this group again?

Definitely

For the time you spent, how much of an impact did you feel your work or activity had?

A lot

Did the organization use your time wisely?

Very Well

Would you recommend this group to a friend?

Definitely

When was your last experience with this nonprofit?

2014

July 23, 2014

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July 23, 2014

I volunteered with Cross Cultural Solutions South Africa in the summer of 2014. It was my first time out of the country and I absolutely loved it. Not only did I learn about the history and culture of South Africa, but I did it all with a wonderful group of people. The CCS staff was more than wonderful. They made sure everything went smoothly and from the time I met them at the airport I felt right at home!!! They do a wonderful job at making the experience truly an experience of a lifetime!!!! I didn't expect to gain another family after this trip, but I truly did. CCS is beyond amazing. You learn, you help and you grow from the experience. I'm so glad I did it!!!! Amazing!!!!!

Ways to make it better...

If I had to make changes to this organization, I would...

Nothing at all!!!

More feedback...

Would you volunteer for this group again?

Definitely

For the time you spent, how much of an impact did you feel your work or activity had?

A lot

Did the organization use your time wisely?

Very Well

Would you recommend this group to a friend?

Definitely

When was your last experience with this nonprofit?

2014

July 21, 2014

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July 21, 2014

I volunteered with Cross Cultural Solutions in Morocco this July (2014). It was a great experience! It is a very well balanced program. All volunteers were exposed to an understanding of the Arabic language, Islam, women's rights and Arabic writing. We learned about the Moroccan culture by participating in cooking classes and taking various field trips to points of interest in Rabat. Almost all volunteers taught English two hours a day at various centers and schools around Rabat. The staff is extremely knowledgeable, kind and committed to the program. I would definitely consider returning to Morocco with CCS as well as participating in other programs.

Ways to make it better...

If I had to make changes to this organization, I would...

Have the staff include some seminars on teaching English to it's volunteers. Although I was in education for 34 years, I didn't have a background in teaching English. If the goal of the program is to bridge cultural understanding between the US and in this case, Morocco, mission accomplished. I think there is a lot to teaching English and it starts with being able to assess student levels and to have an understanding of language acquisition.

More feedback...

Would you volunteer for this group again?

Likely

For the time you spent, how much of an impact did you feel your work or activity had?

Some

Did the organization use your time wisely?

Quite well

Would you recommend this group to a friend?

Likely

When was your last experience with this nonprofit?

2014

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