Frequently Asked Questions: Guest

Here are a few of the questions we get asked most by people who are thinking of becoming a Guest. If you have anything you want answered, get in touch on info@gocambio.com and we’ll drop you an email and put the answer up on this page.

Q

Will I be collected at an airport or train station by my host? Are any of my travel expenses paid for?

A

You can of course organise with your host to help you get to your homestay either by collecting you at an airport or train station but always respect your host’s wish in case they cannot take time out to do so. Many Hosts will offer to collect you themselves. As for travel expenses it is up to Guests to cover their own costs.

Q

The ability level of my Host is not what they said it was on their profile, what should I do?

A

What a host says they can do on their profile is only a very rough guide. It is best to have a phone or video call with your host beforehand so you can get to know their particular skill level. The best thing to do in this situation is to be well prepared before you arrive.

Q

The person I am staying with is very quiet and I’m finding it difficult to help them. What shall I do?

A

Don’t worry, it is common for people to feel shy or anxious about getting to know a new person especially from another country. When you are teaching a new skill or language, try to be as supportive as you can. Make things simple to start with and give them plenty of praise and support as they begin to make progress. Get to know them, find out about their interests and this will help them feel more comfortable speaking with you. You are only a Guest so you don’t need to worry about a lesson being perfect. A cambio is designed to help a Host pick up new skills and knowledge at their own pace in a comfortable environment.

Q

Can I say at what time I would like my meals?

A

For a full exchange experience you should try to fit yourself into the family’s routine. While there is no harm in requesting food at a different time for a special day for example, always ask well in advance. In the end though, the onus is on you to fit in with your hosts mealtime plans, you’re a guest in their home, not a paying customer.

Q

What if I can’t eat the food?

A

For some people, it is worth keeping an open mind for new foods and experiences. But for others this may be a legitimate problem should you have certain allergies, intolerances, personal or religious beliefs. Politely explain to your Host why you cannot eat the food. If it comes to it you may need to go out and buy your own food for consumption in the house. For everyone else don’t ever stop yourself from trying something new, food is a big part of experiencing a new culture!

Q

What if I am asked to spend more than 2 hours a day helping my Host?

A

Sometimes what you want to get done just can’t be fit into two hours, or maybe it won’t even take that long! Two hours is our guideline for our members and is very flexible depending on the Guest and Host. As always, preparation and communication is vital, as you can both decide upon a set time before the cambio even begins. If you change your mind on the times before the cambio then we suggest discussing with one another as to what is the best for both of you. Be clear and polite and you should be able to find a solution.

Q

Do I need to do the Cambio Express course?

A

The Cambio Express course is not compulsory but it will be very useful to you on a cambio. It teaches you the best way to help your Host, provides you with ideas and resources and helps you to get the most out of your cambio experience. It will also makes you more attractive to new Hosts as you will have our accreditation mark on your profile.

Q

I am having trouble with the younger children in my household, what do I do?

A

For someone without a background in teaching, helping children pick up new skills can be strange at first. If you find it hard to keep the kids interested, or if they are giving you trouble, it is best to talk with your Host as to how to best help the situation. A cambio should be a fun experience, so do some activities that they might like to do and incorporate your lessons into them. If it proves too difficult you can always take a break and get to know the child more, to help you both understand each other better.

Q

I have been asked to help some teenagers that do not really want to get involved, what can I do?

A

Similar to the situation with children, teens are for the most part enthusiastic, but you may find one or two that are finding it difficult to keep interested. Don’t feel too bad as these things can happen. The main thing is to not feel too angry with either them or yourself. Like the children it is best to talk it out or do something else while making it related to they want to learn. If they are getting frustrated from trying a skill they are having trouble with, patience is the key.

Q

My Host is expecting me to teach them in the very formal manner that they have experienced in previous language classes. What should I do?

A

In some countries and schools, language education is very structured. Explain to your Host that you’re not a language school teacher and that this is an opportunity for them practise and learn in a new way. You can continue to help them with their course work if they want you to; working from a book or practising for an exam in your language if that helps. Explain that it would be more fun and maybe l if you just went out, enjoyed some time together and chatted in your language.

Q

What if I’m not sure how to share my skills?

A

In the course of sharing in your language or skill you might have a moment where you’re not sure what to do next . One solution is to make the skill you want to share more relevant to your Host. Practising a language is much more interesting when the topics you are covering are relevant and useful to your Host like when you pop out for lunch or go shopping. For skills what better way to make it relevant than letting your host try it out for themselves? The Cambio Express and Cambio Expert courses are a good starting point too.

Q

Can I have a day to myself during a cambio?

A

You can always negotiate the times you spend helping your Host. As long as you do what you agreed to do there shouldn’t be any issue if you would like a day to yourself. Maybe have a double session on one day so you can have the next one free. If you want to go sightseeing, visit a museum, watch a football match or even go out for lunch and a few drinks, you could always invite your Host along too. It’s fine if you would like some alone time, but there aren’t many better ways to experience a country than to live like a local!

Q

I’m having a bad time, what if I want to leave earlier than agreed?

A

Always be respectful, discuss any problems you are having with your Host and see if you can work things out. Don’t leave without telling anyone. Your Host will have been looking forward to you coming and will want you to enjoy your time with them. They may feel upset that you want to leave. This is especially true if you are helping children. Of course, if you must leave for an emergency at home or a personal problem, then your Host will be probably be ok with that as long as you let them know the situation.

Q

How can I ensure my own safety on a cambio?

A

Before you begin to organise your cambio you need to read the Host’s profile very carefully. Ask for endorsements and reviews, check their Facebook page, meet them on Skype etc. Choose people who have been verified and ask to see their references. Also be sure to research the area you are going to in case there is anything you should know about it in regards to safety. Most cambios go off without a hitch, so don’t worry too much and take the same precautions that you would take anywhere else.

Q

What if I want to stay longer?

A

There is very little stopping you from staying a bit longer with your host, and we here at GoCambio always encourage you to make the most out of your travels abroad. Ask your host if you can stay a little longer, and check how long you are permitted to stay in the country too. If there aren’t any problems then go ahead!