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Center for Cultural Interchange Reviews

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3.0
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Laura Rose
4 Ratings

11 Employee Reviews

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  1. Helpful (1)

    "Enjoyable job, feeling of making the world a better place"

    StarStarStarStarStar
    • Work/Life Balance
    • Culture & Values
    • Career Opportunities
    • Comp & Benefits
    • Senior Management
    Current Employee - Regional Manager in Montgomery, AL
    Current Employee - Regional Manager in Montgomery, AL
    Recommends
    Positive Outlook
    Approves of CEO

    I have been working at Center for Cultural Interchange part-time (More than 5 years)

    Pros

    I feel that I'm contributing to making the world a better place for everyone. We work with fine host families who open their homes to amazing young people from around the world and with schools who welcome exchange students into the student body to enhance school life for everyone. It's very gratifying work.

    Cons

    This may not really be a "con," but it's a challenge to work with teenagers. Of course, they're immature, even though they are good students and have good values. We have to use all kinds of people skills to achieve the goals of the program, sometimes.

    Advice to Management

    Continue to work with overseas partners who prepare students well for the exchange experience.


  2. Helpful (1)

    "Great Organization!!"

    StarStarStarStarStar
    • Work/Life Balance
    • Culture & Values
    • Career Opportunities
    • Comp & Benefits
    • Senior Management
    Current Employee - Regional
    Current Employee - Regional
    Recommends
    Positive Outlook

    Pros

    Wonderful colleagues, amazing travel opportunities, chances to meet new people, enhances my community.

    Cons

    Just part time, sometimes a little stressful.

    Advice to Management

    Keep up the good work!!

  3. Helpful (16)

    "Full of $#!@"

    StarStarStarStarStar
    • Work/Life Balance
    • Culture & Values
    • Career Opportunities
    • Comp & Benefits
    • Senior Management
    Current Employee - Director in Chicago, IL
    Current Employee - Director in Chicago, IL
    Doesn't Recommend
    Negative Outlook
    Disapproves of CEO

    I have been working at Center for Cultural Interchange full-time

    Pros

    Possible to meet a few nice people, as you commiserate over an awful and entirely mis-managed environment.

    Cons

    There is not enough space to present the cons of working in this backward office. It is possibly the worst combination of righteous and ignorant and it is an insult that they are allowed to do business in the City of Chicago. There is no hope of this ever changing as the corruption runs deep through the mysterious Board of Directors, pipes through the entire 'top level' management who are experienced only in sinister and arrogant ways. There is no established system of promotion but rather based on an employee's willingness to dedicate their life to a vague cause that only funds one of the many personal whims of the CEO & President. This company is taking advantage of good people by hiding behind a mission that is ... garbage.

    Advice to Management

    Do us all a favor: pack up your ego & retreat to Ibiza where your cult approach can be limited by the ocean.


  4. Helpful (3)

    "Cool environment, a lot of potential for learning and creativity, but easy to get burnt out."

    StarStarStarStarStar
    • Work/Life Balance
    • Culture & Values
    • Career Opportunities
    • Comp & Benefits
    • Senior Management
    Current Employee - Anonymous Employee in Chicago, IL
    Current Employee - Anonymous Employee in Chicago, IL
    Recommends
    Neutral Outlook
    Approves of CEO

    I have been working at Center for Cultural Interchange full-time (More than 3 years)

    Pros

    Good mission, interesting co-workers and office location, fun travel opportunities, reasonable time off and flexibility with hours, creativity encouraged, upper management is reasonably approachable (on-site), holiday bonuses when company doing well.

    Cons

    Easy to be over-worked, New/better ideas may not come to fruition because whoever has the idea (unless they are upper management) is expected to make an idea happen on their own--possibly via an inefficient committee--and still do everything else they were doing. Not enough staff hired in general to do everything well in a 40-hour week, leaving employees to get burnt out and quit. When someone does quit it seems like the people left have to scramble to manage things and hire/train a new person, without there being a pool of internal candidates. Too often there are committees set up with unclear goals for projects that either 1. Are not well thought out and end up wasting time or 2. Should be handled by a dedicated staff person, 3. Should be delayed so more focus can be put on existing projects

    Advice to Management

    Focus on depth rather than breadth. Hire more staff. Rein in plans and think about developing and improving existing programs and processes before moving on to the next thing. If the next thing is important, then dedicate the resources, time and staff to doing that, and consider if there are foundational things that need to be done first before jumping into a new endeavor. Also, as a non profit there should be more investment put into fundraising and grants--if our mission is so important shouldn't there be donors willing to support it? Finally, senior management needs to check themselves when they sort of indirectly "complain" about all of the meetings and travel they "have" to do. Many coordinators, managers, and even assistants work their butts off without the benefit of the high salary, flexibility, and the more frequent and comparatively luxurious travel opportunities that senior management has. Those at the top should be capable of managing their own schedule, delegating and in some cases declining appointments and travel if interfering with their ability to support their staff, rather than giving off an air of "I'm so busy and so important".


  5. Helpful (5)

    "OK place to start, but should move on quickly"

    StarStarStarStarStar
    • Work/Life Balance
    • Culture & Values
    • Career Opportunities
    • Comp & Benefits
    • Senior Management
    Former Employee - Anonymous Employee in Chicago, IL
    Former Employee - Anonymous Employee in Chicago, IL
    Neutral Outlook
    Disapproves of CEO

    I worked at Center for Cultural Interchange full-time

    Pros

    A rather low-stress work environment with generally nice people working in the main office in Chicago. Various fun perks (yearly travel, holiday party, etc.) are welcome, but don't make up for downside.

    Cons

    Compensation is very uncompetitive and there are not many training/career development opportunities. While there are occasional opportunities for internal advancement, the process is not very transparent and office-politics seems to play a big role. Furthermore, it felt that there was a lack of support for certain departments as management focused their time - and diverted resources - to pet-projects.

    Separately, I was surprised to see a different review claim the organization is tech-orientated; I personally have the opposite view and believe they are several years behind competitors and are very slow to adopt to what are now rather basic tech/online apps, etc.

    Advice to Management

    Invest more in developing employees. Also, there is a rather big disconnect between the staff at the main Chicago office and in the field. More transparency should be encouraged. Also, most lower-management are actually just administrators; which is fine, but should probably be more up-front to potential new employees.


  6. Helpful (1)

    "Personal choice of whether it's worth it to you"

    StarStarStarStarStar
    • Work/Life Balance
    • Culture & Values
    • Career Opportunities
    • Comp & Benefits
    • Senior Management
    Former Employee - Anonymous Employee
    Former Employee - Anonymous Employee

    I worked at Center for Cultural Interchange full-time (More than 3 years)

    Pros

    Travel through work is great for certain kinds of young people.

    Cons

    They consider travel for work a benefit that makes up for low wages and little potential for promotion. It's a personal choice if you value travel more than salary and growth, many people at the company do.


  7. "- bllj"

    StarStarStarStarStar
    • Work/Life Balance
    • Culture & Values
    • Career Opportunities
    • Comp & Benefits
    • Senior Management
    Former Employee - Anonymous Employee in Chicago, IL
    Former Employee - Anonymous Employee in Chicago, IL
    Doesn't Recommend
    Neutral Outlook
    No opinion of CEO

    I worked at Center for Cultural Interchange full-time (More than a year)

    Pros

    Tech-oriented. No red tape. Opportunities for travel.

    Cons

    Salary is way too low for the work that staff do.

    Advice to Management

    Value all of your employees

  8. Helpful (1)

    "Former Administrative Assistant"

    StarStarStarStarStar
    • Work/Life Balance
    • Culture & Values
    • Career Opportunities
    • Comp & Benefits
    • Senior Management
    Former Employee - Anonymous Employee
    Former Employee - Anonymous Employee
    Doesn't Recommend
    No opinion of CEO

    Pros

    The office space is nice, colleagues are nice for the most part, and the Greenheart initiative makes it unique.

    Cons

    Most program managers/supervisors have no prior experience managing others and cannot effectively run their programs without burning out employees.

    Advice to Management

    Take more management training courses, treat employees fairly. Set your employees up to succeed, not fail. Make the working environment transparent and cooperative, not secretive and competitive.


  9. Helpful (1)

    "Extremely good practical experience and insight into visa sponsorship world"

    StarStarStarStarStar
    • Work/Life Balance
    • Culture & Values
    • Career Opportunities
    • Comp & Benefits
    • Senior Management
    Former Employee - Administrative Assistant in Chicago, IL
    Former Employee - Administrative Assistant in Chicago, IL
    Doesn't Recommend
    Negative Outlook

    I worked at Center for Cultural Interchange full-time (More than a year)

    Pros

    Exposed to a variety of different tasks, great feeling of contributing to something that is helping people, relaxed atmosphere (for the most part), team is very cool (in general)

    Cons

    Management is not good, pay is extremely low, no cultivation and challenging of employees who perform well

    Advice to Management

    Learn to cultivate and challenge your talent and be able to recognize it when its working for you


  10. Helpful (5)

    "Don't expect much..."

    StarStarStarStarStar
    • Work/Life Balance
    • Career Opportunities
    • Comp & Benefits
    • Senior Management
    Current Employee - Anonymous Employee in Chicago, IL
    Current Employee - Anonymous Employee in Chicago, IL
    Doesn't Recommend

    Pros

    -Great co-workers. You'll want to have a beer with them.
    -An appropriate amount of independence, no micromanaging
    -great opportunities to travel state-side and beyond

    Cons

    - extremely low salary...and you'll be on salary and expected to work well over 40hrs during peak season
    -very poor benefits, somehow their "HR manager" thought the benefits were great because they paid so much for them but trust me, it's hardly worth it. My public university student insurance was loads better.
    -they do business under the guise of cultural exchange, but they are really only about the money. They work to get foreign students to pay a program fee with the implication that they'll get a lot in return (great experience of living and studying abroad, learning English, meeting people, having a sponsor who cares...) but they really don't care much once the program fee is paid and they're here in the country.
    -hardly any screening of host families or host employers.

    Advice to Management

    Pay your employees a fair salary. Why so many females at CCI? Because you can pay them less? I understand that women still make cents to the dollar but you don't have to celebrate the philosophy.


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