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My experience with Cross Cultural Solutions :)

June 18, 2013

I feel like it’s more than necessary to make a post about the organization I used for this trip. It’s called Cross Cultural Solutions. I know it’s very possible to travel India incredibly cheap and find places to volunteer and stay. However, I chose the cheap route two years ago when I went to Uganda, Africa and I opted to not do that again this time. For this trip, for 4 weeks, I payed $3,900 and had to also pay for my own plane ticket. It sounds like a ridiculous amount and even though all of the costs were broken down, I still felt I was paying too much. Still, the reviews and reputation of CCS drew me to seal the deal.

ImageI am beyond happy with my experience. I signed up in November of 2012 for a summer trip and during the months in between I received endless support from the CCS team in New York. I received phone calls, emails, trainings and they answered all of my mundane questions as well as the important ones. I received a t-shirt and packets of information about my destination and placement. There was always someone to talk to in preparation for my trip. When I got to India, I was happily greeted at the airport by an awesome crew and then shown my flat in New Delhi with AC and wifi. We had a cook and some orientations. The director got us ready for our placements and cultural experiences. She’s a sassy and bold woman who started CCS India 15 years ago herself. She’s awesome. All of the staff we met had been working for the organization anywhere from 10-15 years.

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After I made it to Dharamsala, I was warmly welcomed by more staff and lots of delicious food. Although our flat didn’t have AC, both it and the home base are beautiful buildings. We had rides to placement everyday and tons of organized cultural activities that were paid for and transportation was paid for. Some examples are history and Hindi lessons, a talk from a women’s center about empowerment and feminism, a Q&A with a Tibetan monk, a visit to the Tibetan archives, a visit to a fort and an awesome temple. All of these were to enrich our cultural experience and help in our understanding of Indian culture.

Further than all these trips, the staff have been even more amazing than I ever could have expected. The cook makes my life happy every day because everything he makes is phenomenal. Also, he will add anything to the menu if we request it, he will teach us how to cook anything and give us recipes. Wonderful chai tea is served every morning and (much to our dismay, but also love) the cookie jars in both houses are refilled whenever they begin to run low.

We trust the drivers with our lives on the daily and the staff has gotten up in the middle of the night many times to take us sicklings to the hospital almost an hour away. The staff will answer any of our questions with minimal pushback, they do like to joke with us though and I like the casual style relationship we’re able to have with them. They’ll always listen to concerns and tell us the best solutions or sometimes force us to do things we may otherwise not have done (such as go to the hospital, or not go on weekend trips). They’re even around to kill monstrous bugs that belong in shitty horror films, not in real life.

All in all, CCS has been amazing. I chose this organization for the structure and support because that is something that lacked in my previous experience. I definitely got those and more! So, I highly recommend CCS and if anyone wants to sign up with them I’d be more than happy to help you fundraise. People came on this trip ages 18-65, so you’re never too young or too old 🙂

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One Comment
  1. What a wonderful blog and so truthful about the nature of volunteering overseas and the preparation it takes to make it all happen!

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