The Couchsurfing Project, www.couchsurfing.org, offers homestays worldwide and tends to attract a younger crowd. This organization has over 7,000,000 members in more than 200 countries, 100,000 cities, and 84 percent of them speak English, offering copious opportunities for connecting with other families
Cultural Homestay International, www.chinet.org. A non-profit public benefit organization founded in 1980 to promote international understanding, friendship, and goodwill through cultural homestays. We believe that the best way to eliminate fear and prejudice among nations is to experience directly the cultures, languages, and customs of the peoples by living with them. The emphasis of the program is on the education of the participating student, the volunteer host family, and the local community through communication and interaction in the home, the classroom, and the neighborhood.
Earthfoot. www.earthfoot.org. A virtual Internet community specializing in eco-sensitive people-to-people travel. Check their list under “homestays” and contact a limited but growing group of hosts in Asia, Africa, Central America, and Oceaniay.
Friendship Force International, www.thefriendshipforce.org. Friendship Force members travel as Ambassadors from their home country to another country. Local Hosts welcome them into their homes, providing activities that reflect community life and local culture. After sharing experiences of friendship, differences of language, race, creed or politics become less important.
Global Ecovillage Network (GEN), gen.ecovillage.org/, lists ecovillages from around the world, where volunteers are welcome at many locations.
Homestay Central: Homestays around the World, www.homestaycentral.com, is another way to avoid expensive homestay agents for those looking for homestays abroad (Canada, USA, New York, Australia, N.Z., U.K., etc) by searching for your host family online. There are dozens of host families listed and looking for you.
Homestay Finder, www.homestayfinder.com, offers student accommodations worldwide and is a top student placement guide based in the UK.
The Hospitality Club, www.hospitalityclub.org, is a free German-based group dedicated to bringing people from different countries together. Over 250,000 members in scores of countries—in fact, about 60 countries can boast 100 or more members. Line up visits with locals when you travel.
The Hospitality Exchange, www.hospex.net. An annual membership gets you access to an online directory of 250 members in 26 countries. Some can offer overnight accommodations; others can hook you up with local families.
The Lesbian and Gay Hospitality Exchange International offers host stays for gay and lesbian
travelers in more than 40 countries throughout Africa, Asia, Oceania, and North, Central, and South America. Contact: email@example.com, www.lghei.org.
US Servas: Homestays for Peace, www.usservas.org. Servas is an international network of hosts and travelers building peace by providing opportunities for individual visits between people of diverse cultures and backgrounds. During a typical homestay- usually 2 nights-, travelers participate in the daily lives of their host: discussing social concerns, running errands, cooking a meal, visiting a school or lending a hand in a workplace. Servas encompasses more than 15,000 homes and institutions in more than 125 countries on six continents. Contact: United States Servas, Inc.,
1125 16th Street, Suite 201,
Arcata, CA 95521-5585.
Tel: (707) 825-1714.
World Homestay. Homestays worldwide for international students, visitors and interns. Our database contains host family listings worldwide. Guests can browse ads and contact families directly. $20 yearly membership fee; year round. Contact: firstname.lastname@example.org, www.worldhomestay.com.
WWOOF, (www.wwoofinternational.org). connects people directly to farms around the world interested in having travelers stay and work for varying lengths of time. After paying a low membership fee, you receive a book listing all farms that accept volunteers and you can contact the individual farmers directly to arrange start and end dates. As with organized camps, you receive room and board in exchange for your work. Like the workcamp organizations, the farms are not just looking for cheap labor. Your presence and the culture you represent are just as important as the work you provide. WWOOF works only with farms devoted to organic production as well as to cultural exchange. Whether you choose satisfying manual work on a farm or more varied work at one or more international workcamps, you’ll find that either is an inexpensive way to have an active, rich overseas travel experience.