Not sure if this counts as social skydiving exactly, but it's definitely been an interesting experience.
I study in Leeds and live in London, which is about 250 miles away. The contract on our student house in Leeds ended on June 30th, but I still have a job up here. Instead of sacrificing hours / money I decided to stay in Leeds to work, and to Couchsurf as a way of a) not spending £40 per night at a hotel and b) meeting new people. After reading various blogs this year I'm trying to break the usual 'fear' associated with meeting new people, and to get practice wherever possible in doing so, so this struck me as quite a good way of doing that!
Part of the Couchsurfing experience is the cultural exchange; the hosts show/tell surfers about the city, the surfers bring aspects of their home culture / cultures they've visited along the way to the host. Obviously surfing in the city I've lived in for a year diminished this part of the experience, but it's still been fun. I've stayed with 3 people so far and we've all shared stories and advice on various aspects of travelling (the great thing about Couchsurfing: there's already some common ground implied because of the underlying interest in travel (most) members have), and generally had a good time.
So yeah, has anyone else surfed in the city (or country) they live in? Did you find it beneficial?
June 1, 2009
I've couchsurfed also just after a lease ended - only for one night though.
I usually recommend being active in Couchsurfing anyway - you almost ignore the accommodation side to it. In your city you can search per language and invite those people out for a coffee to practise, or go to meetings and try to chat to foreigners to expand your cultural and linguistic horizons 🙂
But it's true that staying with them is a much greater window into the life of that person and can teach you much more.
Yeah it was only supposed to be for one night before I moved in with a friend for Summer but his plans changed at the last minute.
The community aspect of CS is something I've only discovered recently but it's amazing. Joined the Leeds group and there's events coming through all the time - having the change to talk to people from around the world is great and beneficial like you said. Hadn't thought of the language exchange possibility there though, definitely something to consider!
July 5, 2011
I do not feel good living at other person's home so I couchsurf by meeting people at my city for a coffee (or when I go abroad). I am not very active at big parties but I enjoy talking with interesting people at cozy cafes or nice parks when there are not more that 5 people at once 🙂
My humble advice about couchsurfing while travelling: do it only when you have free time or you consider the city to be boring or you are afraid to travel on your own or if you are dying to have any conversation partner.
In other cases (for example, if you have only two days in your dream city) a lot of worries will come.
First, to start talking like friends you need to talk long enough to find common topics and share enough private details. In my opinion, that takes about two hours. These two hours you speak about weather and stereotypes of your countries -- being on the surface of politeness and tenderly exploring each other's thought and points of view.
Second, if your mate will be boring... you will blame yourself for wasting your precious time.
That is why perfect couchsurfing is when you are at your home city. You have time and confidence. And you also can give advises what make you useful 🙂
Hope that helps.
Speak: (english: upper intermediate)
Learn: (spanish: B2)
Dream about: (french: elementary), (hebrew: zero) and (polish: zero).
July 11, 2011
I recently (this past Sunday) got involved with the CouchSurfing group in Orlando, FL where I live, and it's been an amazing social experience and experiment! To meet so many different people of all different age ranges united by our love of community and travel is exhilarating and I will be playing multilingual Scrabble with the group tomorrow. I can definitely see myself getting involved in CouchSurfing abroad!
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