Learning English abroad can be very satisfying especially if you follow some rules and actually use the time to not speak in your native tongue. I have pointed at several places where you could travel to learn English, but did I mention that you could stay almost anywhere for free, or for very little money! Yes it’s true and here is how. Couchingsurfing.com and youth hostels!
Stay at Youth Hostels or “Guest Homes”
When my wife and I traveled throughout Europe, Turkey and Egypt back in 2010. We decided to stay 60 percent of the time in hostels and 40 percent in budget hotels. Staying at hostels were one of best decisions we made during our European trip. My wife and I are both introverted and so it was quite awkward to sleep in a dorm room with other strangers. Our first experience in hostel was in York England, and it was the strangest. One gentleman came into the room and fell asleep at 9 pm, and snored all night. It was the loudest snoring I’ve ever heard! We left our room at 11am, and he was still snoring. During our stay in York we met some Americans, Australians and fellow Canadians at the hostel. It occurred to me that English speaking foreigners use hostels. A lot of them, and everwhere we went there were English speaking travellers using youth hostels!5 Years after our trip we are still keeping in touch with our Hostel friends. So the takeaway to this is, not only is hostels cheaper to stay at $14 to $40 per night depending on where you are and you will make great connections, and maybe everlasting frienships, and you can work on your English speaking!
Another great way to travel in through Couchsurfing.com. Couchsurfing is a cool site, and if you are interested in travelling abroad without paying for your accommodations at all then Couchsurfing is the way to go! Couchsurfing is a big site with 10 000 000 members and in over 200 000 cities, including 40 000 host families in Seoul alone! Yes, you can host travelers to come and stay with you! If you’re cool with that then it can be an exciting way to meet new people and improve your English. We will discuss hosting in more detail in another blog! Let’s focus on Couchsurfing for travel!
How do you get started?
Sign up and fill out your profile as best as you can. It’s important to include a lot of pictures and provide detailed and honest information about yourself. You can choose if you want to host people or stay in other people’s couches or Sofa’s. There is also a $20 membership fee. After you fill out all the information then simply search by city and browse the results. If you are planning to stay in that city and you like the profile you read then simply send a Couchsurfing request with the dates and details. The person either denies or accepts your request for whatever reason. There is no money exchange. Most people involved are generally interested in getting to know each other which is why you include your interests in your profile. I have talked to several people who have surfed and hosted and they have always liked the people they have met through this program. I’ve even read about a person inviting couchsurfingfriends to their wedding! I believe it!
Is Couchsurfing safe?
It’s a safe program, and here is the rational: References keep it safe. Much like rating your vendors on Gmarket or Ebay, you can rate and check out other people’s ratings and references, and see if they are either good hosts or good surfers. It’s important to review the references and profiles so you can make an informed judgement.
So when you are booking your next holiday, and you’re focused on practicing your English, try finding a place where they speak English and use couchsurfing.com or stay in a youth hostel!