Anyone who studies English, sooner or later faces the need to practice, in other words, to talk, the more the better. As soon as you start to learn the language, any trip abroad is becoming a practice, but when you know the language well enough, phrases like «Where is the nearest bank?», «How can I get to the station?» Do not cause even a sport. Then come to the aid Couchsurfing. Couchsurfing or CS (literally — «to jump on the sofas») — the whole system designed to travel and travel of the narrow framework provided by tourists translate into opportunities deep immersion in the culture and the language environment.
To become a member of this system, it is enough to register on the website and create your portfolio. The working language is English website, you are strongly advised to make all the data in English. Consider the registration procedure and the creation of the portfolio on the site Couchsurfing more.
Please note the purpose of their participation in the CS, ie Current Mission. Then fill in the general data, specifying the city where you live, age, profession, knowledge of languages. Then a detailed description:
- Personal Description. — Personal qualities.
- How I Participate in CS. — How can you participate in the CS.
- Couchsurfing Experience. — Your experience of CouchSurfing.
- Interests. — Interests.
- Philosophy. — A philosophy that you practice. This could be some kind of a quote or just a brief description of your position in life.
- Music, Movies, Books. — Write the names of groups, movies, books that have impressed you, maybe you will find like-minded people.
- Types of People I enjoy. — What kind of people do you like to chat.
- Teach, Learn, Share. — What do you want to learn what you can learn, for example, if you are an excellent cook borscht, and write: I can teach you to cook borsch.
- One Amazing Thing I’ve Seen or Done. — Amazing incident that happened with you, share this event.
- Opinion on the Couchsurfing.org Project. — What do you think about the project?
- Locations Traveled. — Where you have already visited.
Once you have registered, you can receive messages from the moderators, requests from travelers, or just messages, to tell about the city in which you live, and to recommend where to go and what to see.
With CouchSurfing, you can go to another country and find people who you shelter for free. For many it has given the opportunity to travel quite differently: to know the country from the inside, to spend money on trips, rather than the expensive hotels, to communicate with the natives, whose CS is called the locals, and communicating with them, recognizing that they really care about instead of the image, which is usually shown to tourists.
However, there are travelers who do not want to stay in strangers and prefer hotels or hostels, but happy to deal with «local» to the CS meetings or parties. They may ask you to show them the sights or just to make a company, have a cup of coffee or a glass of beer. There is no rigid framework, all freely available.
How to search for «hosts»?
To send a request, you need to pick up the tab, Surf, enter a city name and time when you are going to come. Next you need to tell us why you decided to visit this city. You can specify: «I want to go sightseeing», «I want to visit museums and art galleries», «I want to practise the language». When this stage is completed, the system will prompt you to select the host (host), that is, the person who can have shelter for the night. You can check out their portfolio and reviews from other travelers. If you still want, you can send an inquiry «Send Couch Request to». This option appears above the photo of the alleged host. If you answer «Yes — welcome», all the following details of your trip, you may want to discuss in private correspondence.
To learn about the events that take place in the city where you are going, for example, CS meetings, select the tab Events. Just enter the name of the city, and you will see a list of events. Click Join, to participate in this event.
Discuss tab allows you to select a group on a territorial basis or interests. In groups you can chat, leave comments, ask the Council to express their opinions, find people with the same interests.
Host tab takes you to a page with information about your ability to accept people.
From beginning to answer the question «Can you host?» (Can you host visitors?). Possible answers: «Not right now, but I can hang out» (Not now, but I can show the city); «Yes»; «Maybe»; «I’m travelling» (Who is traveling).
«Describe both what your home is like and what you expect from your guests.» (Please, looks like your house, and what do you expect from the guests). You can write in detail about what you have to offer a place for the night, if there is access to the Internet, blankets and so on.
- Couch Available: Yes. — Ability overnight: Yes.
- Preferred Gender: Any. — Preferred Gender: Any.
- No smoking allowed. — No smoking.
- Has children: No. — Have kids: No.
- Can host children: Yes. — With children, you can: Yes.
- Has pets: No. — Are pets: No.
- Can host pets: No. — Can pets: No.
- Max Surfers Per Night: 1. — The maximum number of people — 1.
- Shared Sleeping Surface: No. — Co-sleeper: None.
- Shared Room: Yes. — One room with a host: Yes.
Sometimes hosting companies write more in detail, such as:
I live in the city center, 5 minute walking from the train & bus station. — I live in the city center, a five minute walk from the train station and bus station.
I live alone and in my guest room there’s a very comfortable futon bed. — I live alone, and in the guest room has a very comfortable sofa-futon.
I can provide you with sheets, blankets, towels and wifi connection. — I can provide sheets, blankets, towels and wi-fi.
How to practice the language?
English you need to create an interesting portfolio, to communicate online and in groups, for personal correspondence. And, of course, when you go somewhere, you will need to communicate with the host. However, the most intensive communication takes place during meetings kauchserferov. In large cities, they are held once a week, where you can meet different people from different countries. Typically, these meetings are held in free movement (mingling): talking to one person for a while, you move and talk to someone else, sometimes forming small groups. Such intensive communication in English within three to four hours, no doubt, will help you maintain a language at the right level and to develop further.
So, how to start using CouchSurfing in your life?
- Sign up on the website.
- Create your portfolio.
- If you can provide accommodation describe everything in detail, if not — mark this in your profile.
- Follow CS meetings in your town, take an active part in the events.
- Travel with CouchSurfing.
Personal impressions of Couchsurfing
I discovered Couchsurfing few years ago, when friends told how they spent a week in France, stopping at kauchserferov and hitchhiking home.
At first I just met with the travelers and shows the city, when I had free time, and then I began to come to the CS meeting.
What I like and dislike about these meetings? First of all, their spontaneity, you never know how many people will come, from what countries, what topics will be discussed. Typically, the first all acquainted, just talking on the main topics, and can then start to form interest groups that are talking, for example, about the modern history of Iran.
Tell us more about kauchserferov last meeting I attended in Kiev. Kievskaya group meets on Wednesdays at the spacious café bar, located at the metro station «Dnepr». Find guys is quite simple: Just ask the staff where to collect a large get-together English-speaking. The meeting began at seven in the evening, and at the beginning of the eighth bar there were about forty people. First I talked with the Swiss, who came to Kiev to work for two weeks and told me what he liked the large and modern city. Then — with the Hungarians, who had studied in England and spoke perfect English. With the local Ukrainians who studied for a while in Denmark and said that the mentality of the Danes is fundamentally different from ours, they are more closed nation, and he at first it was very difficult to get used to. Then I talked to an American from California who, as expected, spoke with an American accent, always swallowing the end of words. He told me that he worked in the IT for many years, but then he was so fed up with boring job, he decided to leave and go traveling. He traveled to Western Europe, somehow permanently «frozen» in Kiev still do not know where to go next.
Of course, I told about myself — where I came from, what to do in Kiev. Very often at such meetings I was asked why I talk so well in English, and you have to «open» its faculty Past and Present.
When you’re with someone saying something so engrossed in conversation that almost do not notice other people who also speak, move, form a mini-group. In the process of communication can take a drink from the bar (never, on any meeting in any country never seen someone get drunk!) Or order a meal when hungry — and communicate more. Three hours fly by, and I’m going home with a pleasant sensation, which remains after the interesting dialogue. I recommend attending such meetings, and teachers and students, especially if you are interested in the culture and customs of other countries, look at your country and your city from the desire to get to know people, and just to chat in English. Good luck with the CouchSurfing!