Make Your TEFL Holiday Super With Cultural Exchange
Here are a couple of organizations that can greatly enhance any trip, and luckily for EFL teachers, participation does not break the budget either.
After registering with CouchSurfing, you can both offer your couch to other registered CouchSurfers passing through your town AND search for others willing to host you when you travel. If you’re like me, the people you meet are the most memorable and interesting part of travel, and CouchSurfing is a great site for this. Even if you can’t host someone or aren’t sure about staying in someone’s home, you can arrange to meet a local for a coffee or drink. Is it safe? You need to use the same judgment you use anywhere, and the site has tips for this. Is it easy? Finding a time and place to meet, and ensuring that you are a good guest by working around your host’s schedule does take a bit or arranging, but in my experience it is worth it.
Similar organizations include Hospitality Club and Servas.
WWOOF (World-Wide Opportunities On Organic Farms, or Willing Workers on Organic Farms as you prefer)
With WWOOF you can arrange to put in a partial day of work (depending on the host but five hours sounds about average) on an organic farm in exchange for accommodation and food. Several countries have their own WWOOF organization, which you pay a small annual fee to join, and there is also WWOOF International – one organization covering many of the other countries without their own. I do believe one of the Bootsnall team is currently WWOOFing, and I fully intend to pester her about doing a short TEFL Logue interview upon her return.
HelpExchange.net is another site that matches up hosts in need of some informal work willing to offer accommodation.
I would be silly not to point out that these organizations are about much more than a free place to stay. It doesn’t mean you have to organize a lesson plan on your country, but this really is how cultural exchange happens. Be a part of it!