GoCambio Stories: Dawn’s Cambio in Madrid
Meet Dawn: she’s a travel blogger who writes about the sharing economy on sharetraveler.com.
She enjoyed a three-week cambio with a Spanish family, where she shared her English skills and explored the capital city of Madrid in a unique cultural exchange. A sharing economy expert, Dawn is now a cambio convert too!
What made you decide to go on a cambio?
I did an interview with some folks who have done cambios for my website and I was intrigued with the concept. I set up a profile to play around with the site, but in all honesty I mostly forgot about it because my profile was one of the first ones up there and at that time there wasn’t much activity. When a few people started reaching out to offer me a cambio I was excited to see the possibilities.
Where did you go and for how long?
Madrid, for 3 weeks.
Can you describe your host and their home?
I was hosted by a woman looking to improve her English because she often has to run English language meetings with clients at her work. I stayed with her family which includes her husband and two boys (11 and 8 years old).
What skill did you share and how did the skill sharing sessions work?
The English language. We spent at least two hours each evening talking in English. Usually we went for a walk in the neighbourhood, or sometimes she took me to do some sightseeing. It didn’t really matter what we were doing since the point was to have conversation practice, so we just talked about whatever came to mind. In three weeks we really got to know each other well! We also had English-only dinners, so the whole family participated during that time. On the weekends the family graciously took me to see cute towns nearby and we spent the days walking around sightseeing while chatting in English.
What sorts of activities did you do when you weren’t sharing your skill with your Host?
I spent some of the time working remotely from my Host’s home, and some of the time wandering around Madrid, seeing the sights and eating the food.
What did you like about your cambio experience and how did cambioing compare to other sharing economy platforms (such as Airbnb, Couchsurfing) that you have tried before?
Cambioing is an excellent way to really immerse in a local culture. Living with a family and participating in their home life in the evenings gave me a perspective on Spanish life that I didn’t get on my last trip to Spain where I spent a month travelling around doing home exchanges.