Dava Antoniotti graduated from Western Michigan University with a degree in Communications and Women's Studies. She was a volunteer with Cross-Cultural Solutions in Lima, Peru in 2003, before joining the staff in the New York Headquarters. As a staff member, she has also visited CCS programs in Brazil, India, Thailand, South Africa and Morocco.
Can you please provide 2 or 3 examples of volunteer experiences abroad that are available to students?
1) Volunteering at an orphanage in Cartago, Costa Rica: Volunteers spend time assisting in educational and recreational activities with the children.
2) Volunteering at a clinic where you work with people affected by HIV/AIDs in South Africa: Volunteers provide companionship, treatment, and prevention services to people in disadvantaged communities.
3) Volunteer at an English school in Xi'an, China: Volunteers work at a local language training center where they help improve the children's English pronunciation through teaching songs and rhymes.
Many students often become frustrated when looking for volunteer experiences or internships abroad since there are so many options from which to choose and it’s often difficult to compare what each has to offer. Can you please describe the benefit of getting an internship through CCS versus some of the other programs that are available?
The Intern Abroad program at CCS is an extraordinary way to become professionally competitive and highly marketable. Participants work side-by-side with local people at a locally-designed and driven community initiative, and have additional learning opportunities that offer a deeper perspective of the culture, and the global and local issues that impact it. Participants choose an Area of Focus--health, education, or social work--and submit a detailed description of their learning goals. A personalized Intern Abroad placement matches them to the needs identified by the local organization, but also complements the intern's skills and interests and meets all learning objectives.
With the CCS Intern Abroad program, the intern receives individual attention and guidance from an Intern Supervisor, a CCS staff member who meets with the intern on a weekly basis to offer guidance and facilitates the learning objectives. Participants gain an in-depth understanding of the organization where they work, the population it serves, how it reflects the heritage and aspirations of the local community, and how it acts as an agent of social change to the community. The Intern Supervisor will also oversee the Final Report which documents the experience and is submitted at the end of the program.
Please describe some of the opportunities CCS offers students for summer?
The summer is a very popular time for our Intern Abroad program. Some examples of intern placements in the summer are:
Education - Assist teachers at a primary school: Working with local teachers to teach English, arts and crafts, and practical skills.
Health - Working at a home for the elderly: Working with local therapists handling physical therapy and massage therapy to increase mobility and flexibility of residents through stretching exercises.
Social Services - Working at a day care center: Working with children from single-parent families from nearby shantytowns and other low-income districts.
What percentage of students receive scholarships (if applicable) through CCS to volunteer abroad?
Several organizations offer partial grants to offset the program fee, and many corporations offer matching gifts for a CCS program. We also encourage students to fundraise because it is a wonderful way to engage others and raise awareness on global issues.
What percentages of students are accepted by CCS to volunteer in their country(s) of choice?
100%. We believe that everyone has skills to offer. However, it is important to note that space is limited so we encourage students to enroll early!