I have been a member of the CouchSurfing community now for over three years. For those of you who are not familiar with this movement (it’s so much more than a website,) it started out as a site for travellers to help other travellers by offering a spare room or couch to those who may be passing through. The idea was to be a cultural exchange; a fair trade between the hosts (people with the couch,) and the traveler (person looking for a couch.)
Have you ever been in a city, and thought to yourself “I wish I had a local to show me around”? Well this is one of the fantastic benefits of CouchSurfing. Your host is most likely going to have a pretty good idea of their own city, and what there is to do there. On top of this, when searching for a place to stay you’ll most likely want to search for someone with similar interests to your own. I doubt that the Brooklyn B-Boy is going to have a whole lot in common with a Texas cowboy. Each of these people will be able to share something interesting about where they live, but to avoid a conflict it is best to search for people that you’d really dig meeting!
Does the Texan appreciate this art?
The CS community provides so many opportunities to connect. When coming to Colombia I had the goal in mind to learn Spanish. What better way than by living with Spanish speakers? I found the place that I rented for five months in Medellin through a classified ad that I posted on the site. I had an amazing room, in a great part of town, and the best part was sharing it with two amazing fellow CSers: Claire and Andrea.
My room/office in the apartment I found through CS.
Before renting the room from Claire and Andrea I was in a medium term rental guesthouse on the other side of the city called The Art House. I loved the place. The people I met there were amazing, and the terrace had an out of this world view of the city. It was perfect, except for the fact that no one there spoke Spanish in the house. As a place to get my feet wet, while starting the Spanish learning process, it couldn’t have been better. My goal, however, was to learn Spanish, and my surroundings in The Art House weren’t helping me with this goal.
Our living room, featuring sleeping space for CSers.
When I moved into the apartment with Claire and Andrea my Spanish was quite honestly pathetic. I was about one step up from a stray dog (which Medellin does not have.) Claire promised to only speak with me in Spanish, and well Andrea didn’t speak English (she’s currently working on changing that.) My CS apartment provided me a place to practice the Spanish I was learning in my classes. Perfecto.
She resembled a Jedi master in Spanish next to me when I arrived.
My apartment was not the only way that CouchSurfing in Colombia has been a help. While in Barranquilla for Carnaval I found people to share in the amazing parties. The friendly Barranquillans (home to Shakira and Sofia Vergara) showed us an amazing time during their fantastic days of revelry.
Share in the revelry.
So before you come to Colombia, think of using CouchSurfing in Colombia to help expand the horizons of your trip. It’s just another way that the Colombians show their amazing hospitality.