7 Benefits of Becoming a Homestay Host
For some of us, the thought of inviting a stranger into our home and opening up our lives to them can seem terrifying. A person from another country who speaks a different language, thinks in a different way and doesn’t share the same cultural values – it’s completely understandable that we’d be a little hesitant at first. But the rewards of being a homestay host are so enormous that these differences will prove not to be the barriers we thought they’d be, but rather the basis of a cultural exchange, valuable learning experience, and perhaps even a new friendship. If you’ve been unsure about hosting, it’s time to rethink! Here are some of the extraordinary benefits of opening up your home to a GoCambio guest.
1. You’ll learn a new language or skill for free
A cambio works on the basis of a two-way exchange between a host and guest that makes both learning and travelling free. As the host, you’ll get one-on-one interactive sessions with your guest in a particular skill. This could involve mastering the basics of a language such as Japanese, learning how to use Photoshop, getting some football coaching, or perfecting your French cooking. As the host, you get to learn the new skill in the comfort of your own environment and do it all for free! If your guest is staying for a week, that’s 14 hours of skill sessions you’ll be getting free of charge.
Other family members, your kids or friends can also benefit from the cambio. Take Swedish host Per Bengtsson, whose women’s rugby team got some free training from rugby-loving journalist Duncan Craig who did a cambio in Per’s hometown of Ronneby, Sweden.
Image Credit: Jeppe Carlsen/The Sunday Times
2. You’ll be helping a traveller out
Not only do you benefit from a cambio, but your guest will too! In return for sharing their language or skill with you, they receive accommodation and meals (you can decide how many) each day of the cambio. So you’ll be helping them save a lot of money on a hotel room as well as sharing your culture and way of life with them. The cambio experience is all about sharing and Lonely Planet certainly didn’t call GoCambio “a ground-breaking barter system” for no reason!
3. You’ll make new friends from all over the world
Surely this is one of the biggest benefits of all. When you do something as generous as opening your own home to a traveller, they won’t forget your kindness and hospitality – just as you won’t forget the time they spent teaching you. When it’s time for you to go on a trip, you might just find you’ll have a place to stay somewhere in Argentina or Korea. In addition to saving you a lot of money on expensive accommodation, you’ll also have the chance you’ll have to return the favour by being the guest and teaching them what you know. These sorts of experiences are what make friends for life.
Korean guest Moon with his hosts in Spain, who showed him the sights of Lugo over Christmas. You can read more about his experience with his Spanish family here.
4. Your attitudes will change — for the better
Doing a cambio is all about learning from another person and expanding your knowledge about other cultures. When you host a traveller from another country, you’ll learn a great deal about their culture – their language, food, values, and traditions. There is unfortunately a lot of prejudice in this world, and negative stereotyping of people of different ethnicities, religions and cultural backgrounds is more prevalent than it should be. But when you are a GoCambio host, you’ll learn that it’s not the differences between people that are important, but what we all share and have in common – a sense of humour, a love of learning, a lust for travelling, a penchant for collecting second-hand books – whatever your passions, you’ll be able to share them with another person. In doing so, you’ll be breaking down barriers and helping to make the world a friendlier and more tolerant place. Rather than being all about the time and money, it’s all about the human interaction and the experiences you have with one another.
Image Credit: hfordsa
5. You’ll be helping the environment
Not only will you be making the world a more tolerant place, but also a more environmentally-conscious one. When you become a homestay host with GoCambio, you’ll participate in the sharing economy, which has been found to be more sustainable than other forms of travel. So as a host, you’ll be supporting more sustainable practices. Find out more here.
6. You’ll get to experience the benefits of travel without going anywhere
Being a homestay host is the perfect opportunity to armchair travel. If you don’t have the money or time to travel, you can still meet people from all over the world and share stories and experiences with them, just like you would on the road.
Image Credit: Paloma de la Fuente
7. You’ll improve your professional skills and networks
A cambio should be fun, but that doesn’t mean it can’t benefit you professionally at the same time! Foreign languages are always a great skill to have on your resume, and you can use the exchange to learn or develop a professional skill that will help you in landing that promotion or add some extra oomph to your job application. Find out more about how being a homestay host can benefit you professionally here.
These rewards of being a homestay host are just the tip of the iceberg. You never know the sort of people you’re going to meet and the experiences you have will be unique every time. But what you can be sure of is that you’ll make great friends and learn loads along the way.
Sign up to become a host today and start reaping the benefits.
About the Author: Clarissa Hirst is GoCambio’s Content Manager. A born-and-bred Australian, Clarissa currently calls Sweden home. She’s travelled to over 40 countries, loves learning foreign languages, and her passion is inspiring others to learn about and explore the world around them. She hopes to one day speak fluent Russian and ride the Trans-Siberian railway. Connect with Clarissa on Twitter.
COVER IMAGE CREDIT: Veronica – Ilaria