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119 Reviews
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August 13, 2013

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August 13, 2013

I had a very memorable and wonderful experience in Russia, spending the month in Yaroslavl, spending time each day with children in an orphanage, and working through Cross Cultural Solutions. CCS through the director and translators took care of whatever I needed, providing just enough structure and flexibility. The children were unforgettable, I can still see some of them in my minds eye as I write this 10 years after being there with them. They were appreciative, good humored, curious, loving, intelligent and just a pleasure to be around most of the time. Seeing a bit of Russia was a trip to a distinct, fascinating place. The citizens I met there were soulful, warm, welcoming and curious. To this day I still have contacts and friends I met there. Extremely worthwhile trip.

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?

Some

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?

2012

August 8, 2013
1 person found this review helpful

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August 8, 2013
1 person found this review helpful

This organization is a great one to travel with. They far exceed my expectations for my time that I spent volunteering in South Africa. I did not want to leave when it was time to go home. The time that I spent in South Africa would not have been the same had I not been with CCS. They did a great job of showing us all of the different aspects of the culture and community that South Africa has to offer. Also, the volunteer placement that they gave me was exactly what I was looking for. It was absolutely perfect for my personality and experiences, so they did a great job of finding a place that was well suited for me to work. The staff at the home base was always friendly and helpful. They were very accommodating and were willing to do whatever they possibly could to help make our time with them even better. CCS is a great program to travel with because they give you all of the support and guidance that you need, yet if you want your free time to go and explore your travel destination you can do that as well. I really liked being overseas with CCS because I got to explore the city around me on my own at some points, but they also had many activities and tours set up that they provided us with. I will definitely go on another trip with CCS, because it has definitely been a great experience that far exceeded my expectations.

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?

2013

July 26, 2013
1 person found this review helpful

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July 26, 2013
1 person found this review helpful

My experience with Cross Cultural solutions in Cartago, Costa Rica completely exceeded my expectations. I wasn't sure how well I would fit considering this was my first time volunteering abroad and I knew I would be considerably older than most of the volunteers. My Spanish was less than ideal, I had only been studying for about 5 months.
In spite of my uncertainty, everyone from the staff to the other volunteers and people at my placement made me feel comfortable and accepted from the first day. I had the best time I've had in recent memory.
The home base was well organized and comfortable, the food was great, everyone works very hard to make the experience as simple and enjoyable as possible. From the moment we were met at the airport to departure, it seemed that the staff had everything in control.
I was unsure how my skills would apply at placement,and once again found that my concern was unnecessary. The staff and residents, while being entertained with my linguistic abilities, made me feel welcome and found good use for my time. My only regret regarding this entire experience is that my stay was too brief. Everyone at my placement was really easy to work with, we overcame the language barrier and became very freindly.
My fellow volunteers were absolutely great! I haven't had the pleasure of meeting so many good-hearted people in one place for many years. We had a great time wandering around Cartago, talking at Homebase, and several of us travelled to La Fortuna for an excellent weekend. I consider these people good freinds now, and am grateful for the opportunity to meet them.
When I started out on this adventure I wasn't sure how any of it would work out. I can honestly say that everything was exceptional.

Ways to make it better...

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

I can't think of one thing I would change

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?

Some

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?

2013

July 23, 2013
1 person found this review helpful

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July 23, 2013
1 person found this review helpful

I loved my time at Cross-Cultural Solutions in Bangkok, Thailand. I was sad to come home. I was so impressed with the staff, the cleanliness of the home base, the food at the home base and the cultural activities. I felt immersed in the culture in Thailand. I was a lot older than the majority of the folks in the program, but it was all good. My work assignment was a little rough the first week because of the lack of organization at the school, but in the end I felt I was able to make a difference there. This was one of the greatest experiences of my life.

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?

Okay

Would you recommend this group to a friend?

Definitely

When was your last experience with this nonprofit?

2013

May 31, 2013
2 people found this review helpful

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May 31, 2013
2 people found this review helpful

I am very satisfied with my experience in Tanzania with CCS. The staff at the Home Base truly care that you are thoroughly enjoying your volunteer experience. The staff was readily available to speak with you and made any accommodations necessary to make sure you were satisfied with your volunteer experience. CCS provides you with all the tools you need to succeed as an international volunteer. I felt like i was really immersed in the culture. The people in Tanzania made me feel so welcomed, no matter where I was I always felt comfortable. Its amazing how i was living in a whole different culture than my own ,and felt more comfortable there than I do in my own country at times.

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?

2012

May 15, 2013
1 person found this review helpful

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May 15, 2013
1 person found this review helpful

My project exceeded my every expectation - this was without a doubt the single greatest experience of my twenty-somethings!

The Home-Base and staff me feel so at home from the moment I got there. They are such an incredible group of people - and it was remarkable getting to know them.
Plus, the food was to die for!

My volunteer placement was working at a home for children - very similar to what we might associate as an orphanage. It was run by nuns who did a remarkable job keeping things together but it really have the time to really dive into playtime and really work one-on-one with the kids. That were my group stepped in. I was only there for a week (wish I could have stayed longer) but even within that time we painted, made a mosaic, played games, made necklaces, and made a connection. Plus we in the mid-afternoons sowed pillows to leave once we were gone.

I went to Guatemala during the time of Day of the Dead; they do this huge festival were everyone comes into the cemetery and repaints and fly kites. The concept is that the kites build a colorful border to keep the evil spirits out. The staff took us the night before to a man within the community to see how he makes his kites which opened my eyes to how much this celebration is all connected to their history and cultural identification. I would have never seen this side of the celebration if it wasn't for CCS.

I have traveled with them before to Costa Rica and I plan to with them again soon.

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?

2012

May 9, 2013
1 person found this review helpful

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May 9, 2013
1 person found this review helpful

DO it. If you want to change your life and the lives of the people you meet, cross cultural is for you. I find myself daily looking back through pictures at was the best month I ever had. I recommend everyone does this once in their lives.

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?

2013

January 26, 2013
11 people found this review helpful

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January 26, 2013
11 people found this review helpful

I've been looking for volunteer programs for my 8-yr old son and myself and came across CCS because they aggressively advertise family opportunities.

The question I have according to the attached 2011 Financial statements: Executive Director, Steven Rosenthal, made almost 400K in direct
compensation in 2011. The statements also document that he owns the property CCS works on - and made an additional $718,413 in rent from CCS in 2011. Same in 2010, 2009, etc.

I hate to be cynical but it does sound a bit suspicous. The ED is making over 1 million dollars a year on CCS. Possibley a travel agency disguised as a non-profit?!

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Will you volunteer or donate to this organization?

Unsure

How much of an impact do you think this organization has?

Some

When was your last experience with this nonprofit?

2013

January 3, 2013
10 people found this review helpful

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January 3, 2013
10 people found this review helpful

I completely agree with swine09. Definetely not worth the money, thank god I only signed up for one month. But still it was $3,700 dollars that I could have spent towards a more worthwhile experience in volunteerism. I was in India in the fall of 2012 with CCS in the Dehli program. It is a very dishonest company that is full of promises but falls very short of delivering. Alex Brandt the coordinator of the program in NY lied when he said I would be volunteering at least 4 hours a day, I was lucky if I volunteered one hour a day. When I wasn't volunteering there was a lot of downtime and a few scheduled cultural activities a week. Activities such as taking us to some temples, or monuments with printed handouts for us to read over. They provided a schedule for a few of the cultural buildings in town offering dance productions. I felt that the cultural activities would be rewarding to do with local guidance but most of the time they just dropped us off with a printed page on the history or told us how much to pay for a rickshaw to take us to the dances. The staff over there I felt were just going through the motions, I did not leave feeling close to any of them. Almost like we were foreigners they had to tolerate and put on fake smiles for, there was no warmth and they did play favorites. Another thing is that they exert a lot of control over you and assign curfews the whole time. I understand the importance of safety over there but they are over the top with thier rules. I still can't figure out how rooming in a 3 bedroom apartment, three meals a day, pick up and drop off 5 days a week to your NGO, and cultural activities they provide that cost barely any money to do adds up 3,700 dollars. I would completely reccomend working directly through an NGO while over there.

More feedback...

Would you volunteer for this group again?

No

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

A little

Did the organization use your time wisely?

Badly

Would you recommend this group to a friend?

No

When was your last experience with this nonprofit?

2012

December 17, 2012
6 people found this review helpful

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December 17, 2012
6 people found this review helpful

Beware of the nepotistic and selfish India program. I don't understand why an organization with such a fantastic premise could have strayed so far. While the staff pays lip service to how the volunteers become family, they couldn't care less about the volunteering work itself-- some volunteers spent less than 2 hours a day at their placements. Also, the placements were restricted to two options in the three months I was there. The organization has control problems: they feel the need to dictate how clients spend their weekends while traveling in India, how much time they spend volunteering (despite the school day ending at 3, the driver would only pick us up at 1, leaving the students without teachers for a significant part of the day), and clients' activity during the week. At the beginning they seem wonderful, helping you adjust to India, but their help soon reveals itself to be counterproductive and sometimes lies. They are disconnected from the real India you are coming to see, and they recommend horrible restaurants and tailors simply because they are family or friends' businesses-- even if the service is poor and shamelessly attempts to rip the foreigners off. The Hindi lessons promised are just basic phrasing unless you are doing the internship program. However, the 'teacher' is just one of the regular staff, a guy who, while well-meaning, is impatient and is just a regular Hindi speaker who doesn't have grasp of the grammar. The people learning mostly learned from books on their own. I was treated disrespectfully by several staff members, and was blown off when I brought up my concerns. Furthermore, the rudeness did not abate. A clique problem arose, but the staff turned a blind eye because of a special relationship with one of the clique members, and instead criticized the excluded volunteers (anyone not a 20 something girl, mostly older women.) I felt constantly disrespected and controlled, and was very relieved to be free of the program. They charge an exorbitant amount, and it's a mystery where the money goes in the supposed "non profit." It is very easy to contact NGOs in Delhi once you get there, and living there is easy for much cheaper in a similar gated community like CCS uses as an office-- or better yet, live like the middle class Indians and integrate into a community. Indians (other than CCS) are generous and friendly to foreigners, and the NGO I was involved in, called the Earth Saviours Foundation, embraced me like family in a way that I had hoped that CCS would have. I completely recommend traveling to Delhi independently and finding NGOs like TESF, that would happily help you find a place to live and with anything else you needed for free, as a genuine grass roots non profit charity, or even spending your money on any other organization. An alternative if you are looking to volunteer or have an internship is http://www.aiesec.org/; I met many of their volunteers at my NGO and they found the organization invaluable. I worked at www.savearth.in, which I would highly recommend as well (though I don't mean to advertise at all.)

More feedback...

Would you volunteer for this group again?

No

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?

Badly

Would you recommend this group to a friend?

No

When was your last experience with this nonprofit?

2012

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