2-3 mth Language exchange: Seeking Homestay inc meals for family


We are an Australian family interested in volunteering, working and living whilst on a Gap Year departing August 2013. I hope to travel to Asia staying in and around the region for 6 months travel across central asia and onwards to Europe. We want to stay in one main place in Asia and one main place in Europe for a period of 2-3 months. We are keen to exchange languages and are open to learning any language other than our native English.

I have post-graduate qualifications in teaching English to Speakers of Other Languages and a broad range of experience teaching people of all ages. We are ideally seeking 2-3 months language exchange (including free accommodation and food) whilst travelling. I am also willing to provide formal lessons in English for a small stipend. We are not just looking for somewhere to stay but cultural exchange and hopefully life long friendship.

Obviously we would need a secure, safe environment for our children, with access to nearby medical facilities and other children to play with. My husband is not a teacher. We are mainly interested in cultural exchange and happy to spend much of our time with our hosts.

We are a friendly, open minded, Australian family that loves traveling. We have seen much of Asia, some of Europe and a lot of our own country. I travel with my husband and our three small sons. They are 4,6 and 8. We are in our 30/40’s and have always loved to travel and backpack. We love camping and hiking too but at present we have had to modify our way of travel a little until our boys are a little bigger. My husband was originally a History and Politics graduate but has since entered the IT support field working for a university. I completed an education degree and prieviously worked as an English ESL Lecturer. Since my first boy was born I have been enjoying parenthood. I enjoy volunteering and have been a volunteer home tutor (teaching English to isolated migrants) for 12 years. I have also volunteered as a Sciguide for Scitech (a not-for-profit organisation promoting general science in the community) and a Womens Support Program for a charity Womens Health Service. We love to meet the locals as we feel this is one of the most important aspects of traveling! :slight_smile: Maybe we shall meet you?

Prunella and family

Wait what??

You want someone to feed you and your entire family, house you and your entire family, and teach you a language in exchange for you talking to them in English?

Teaching them English would entail them paying you as well?

Am I being obtuse, or does that seem a bit unreasonable?

An English teacher that starts a sentence with “we am an”

Thanks skoster for your input. The fact is, there are many programs such as this running in many countries eg china. The main difference is that they are run through an agency, who charges the family for the privilege. Also they seldom cater for participants with three children. Don’t you think that if you were a Taiwanese family with children who wanted a cultural and language exchange this would be a great opportunity? Your kids learning from other kids, immersion in English, non-formal education, fun, etc. You don’t have to travel to an English speaking country, it fits around your home life and time commitments plus hopefully you gain life long friends. Personally, I am a member of hospitalityclub.org and have hosted people and families purely for cultural exchange. During their stays with me I have also provided meals, advise, tours and general assistance. I also don’t think a small stipend for formal one-on-one lessons is unreasonable. This would be outside the everyday conversational English. I currently tutor students in Australia, who pay me large sums for an individualised learning plan. Do you realise how much English education can cost? I am trying to achieve a win-win situation. One that is good for all concerned, but it requires people to think outside the square. Can you?

Yes Saggyballs, I did make an error whilst typing a quick informal email. I guess you have never done that in your life. I may be an English teacher but that doesn’t mean I don’t ever make a typing mistake. I will not be bothering to reply to such childish or negative remarks in the future. Please go spend some time in the sunshine.

I think the main problem here is that most Taiwanese families with children view foreigners with disdain and suspicion. While they’re willing to pay for their kid to learn English from a foreigner, no way in hell would they want a family of big noses living in their house. As for the adult crowd wanting to do language exchange or even pay for private English lessons, most of them don’t have kids and don’t want you living with them either, even in the unlikely event they had an apartment big enough

No. I think it would be excessively expensive for the opportunity to speak English.

A great opportunity would be if you said you were planning on living in Taiwan for a few months and said you’d like to set up some play dates for your kids, and to go out and have dinner with some new people. You know, like equal human beings might do.

Yes, language exchanges are free. They don’t cost me paying for an entire family’s living expenses. Top notch instruction in Chinese, one on one, will be costing me $40 USD per 50 minutes. Of course I don’t expect my teacher to show up at my home and expect me to pay her and her entire family’s room and board for 2 - 3 months.

You want win-win? Pay for your own family’s living expenses. If you expect to be paid for teaching English, also expect to pay for learning Chinese. Win-win is an equitable exchange. The square I’m thinking outside of is the one in which English is so much more important than Chinese that people should happily pay you for the opportunity to support you and your family, teach you Chinese, and in return get to hear you speak English (with the option to upgrade to actual lessons… For a fee, of course).

I have tried to do this, and I think it would be a good idea. But for a family of five, it would be pretty well impossible. Living space in apartments in Taiwan tends to be small. I did put out ads for this kind of thing in South Korea - I would share an apartment, and in return the family or person would get free English lessons. The problem was that people with kids didn’t have the room or didn’t want a stranger in the house. Lots of single people answered my ad, but either they didn’t have the room either, or it was a man looking for more.
I knew one woman who managed to do this in Japan, and she had a 2-year-old child with her. She put out ads, and did find free places to stay. But again, she wasn’t expecting to get free Japanese lessons, though her daughter probably did, just by osmosis.

Don’t let the British Conservatives catch wind of this plan. Premier David Cameron and Welfare Minister Ian Duncan-Smith might use it to merge immigration with housing, further slashing the welfare budget.

Sent from my GT-N7100 using Tapatalk 2

Only three children and one husband? Language exchange? Ridiculous! You should charge them AT LEAST $1000 per hour for the privilege. And DEMAND a company car and pension scheme! :thumbsup:

I think the OP might consider, too, that the place where the agencies charge the families for this is CHINA. There are far fewer native English speakers per capita there than in Taiwan. The market in Taiwan generally would not support such an idea IMHO – particularly given the large number of people involved in the homestay (food costs money, rooms have rental value). Taiwan is not exactly a third-world country where people are pathetically grateful for any English they can get their hands on. There’s plenty of English there, in the opinion of the average person. Whether that English is of as high a quality as they might get from having a native speaker live with them is anyone’s guess, and how much English benefit the family might actually get out of having a family of people who want to learn Chinese live with them is another guess. Immersion facilitation is very different from teaching a class.

Thanks for all the input, guys.

I guess by the comments both positive and negative a topic like this needs to be discussed in Taiwan. After all that is the whole point of cultural and language exchange to gain understanding of other cultures. Prejudice, fear and misunderstanding occur everywhere. I realise in this commercial world, money is often the focus. One of the reasons I am travelling with my children is to teach them that although some money is needed for survival, it does not need to dictate everything you do. Fortunately, other people think and act as I do and believe in old fashioned hospitality and yes they do believe that people are genuine - even those from another culture. Through hospitalityclub.org and other organisations I have been a no payment, no obligation guest to many hosts in different areas in the world and have made many life long friends. I am also a member of the international organisation “Internations”. Whilst posting this same post on other websites, I now have a few offers, one from a family - which I am exploring. I encourage others like bababa who would like a similar experience to persist and help dispel many of the negative views present here. I am sorry if people feel that I want to take advantage of anyone. That is not my intention. Also I agree with skoster that Chinese is just as important as English. In fact two of my children are learning Mandarin at school in Australia. I would happily pay for formal Chinese lessons. I intend to meet up with other Taiwanese people and attend child-friendly events whilst living in Taiwan - great idea.

I could rent a house or stay in a hotel and work in a large corporate English school anywhere in the world. That is not the experience I desire. Maybe living with locals is the best way to really begin to understand and respect a culture. Certainly the people I have hosted in my home think so.

So thanks to everyone for thinking about this idea. Maybe you will meet me or someone like me one day, if so I hope it will be a positive experience.

Good journey