GoCambio – A Guest speaking

Amy Woodward is 19 from Bracknell, near London. She studies Graphic Communication and Design at the University of Leeds. She decided to go to Spain, in a town near Seville, and she did it with GoCambio. She told us about her experience with this new way of travelling and exchanging knowledge.

How did you find out about GoCambio?  

I study at the University of Leeds and I have a scholarship therefore I have connections with Alumni (previous Leeds students).

The scholarship network informed me about an Alumni who had just set up a new exchange company and they wanted help and opinions from students through a questionnaire and a focus group about the concept of GoCambio and the website.

After the focus group we were asked whether we wanted to pilot (try out for the first time) GoCambio and then I chose a host and from there I started to plan my trip to Spain.

Can you describe the passages one has to do before setting off? Would you describe it as easy?

It is fairly easy, definitely if you’ve planned trips before. Even though I hadn’t before, I planned what I needed to sort out and I just arranged everything accordingly.

I started with contacting my host through Facebook and talked to her so we could get to know each other and make it clear what we both wanted out of the cambio.

We arranged when it was best to plan my flights and what the week would consist of.

Around Sevilla with Maria

 So, you were a Guest, which means that you were hosted for free and in exchange you had to help your host with learning and improving a language, your language. What did you do, precisely? Can you describe your day while on cambio?

 My host wanted to learn more English, but I was mainly there to talk with her 14 year old daughter to help her with English at school.

After getting ready, I was free to do whatever I pleased during the day. I usually explored the area – I went to markets, travelled to Seville, met up with old friends or spent the day with my host as we got on really well.

I would eat lunch with my host family and then spent time with María (my host’s daughter) as she had finished with school for the day.

I didn’t tutor her or teach her English in a formal way, we usually just talked in a relaxed environment such as in a bar, walking around town or with some of her friends.

A minimum of 2 hours of contact time is required for the cambio per day. Personally, I spent quite a lot of time with my host family as we bonded really well and I become “part of the family”, therefore it doesn’t feel like you are working at all.

 Did you like your host?

I loved her! We still talk over Facebook! She calls me her “English daughter”.

Would you say that you had time enough to enjoy the city and your trip? Is the cambio way demanding in any way or not?

I had plenty of time to do I wanted to. I planned in advance most of the days. You can choose what you want to do and usually you can arrange things with your host, for example the time of dinner to suit you better for your day out.

Is there a moment that you especially enjoyed and would like to share with us? Anything nice or particular that happened with your host?

 On one of the days, my host took me to Seville and we had a lovely day together in the city. I felt like a local and not a generic tourist at all – it was great to experience it from the native side of things. Despite her poor English, she really tried explaining things, which was great (with the help of a translator app) as she was like my own personal tour guide.

Around Sevilla with Manuela
Did this experience with GOCambio influence your idea of Europe and being European in any way? Was it significant in terms of belongin to a larger community?
Yes it has. Being from England, there seems to be a gap between us and mainland Europe. This experience feels like it has decreased that gap and made the opportunity to travelling around Europe (as well as the rest of the world) more accessible when you are on a smaller budget. In terms if belonging to a larger community, my host family played a big part in this as they made me feel at home and Manuela (my host) even called me her “English Daughter” and said that she would love to have me back. Therefore I feel very welcome as a result of building these bridged in Spain.

featured, Sevilla, exchange, english, GoCambio


Selena Magni

Classe 1990. Da bambina non dormivo mai, non stavo mai ferma, mi arrampicavo sugli alberi, giocavo spesso con i miei cani in giardino e sognavo di vivere su un’isola deserta piena di animali. I miei genitori erano convinti che a scuola non avrei imparato niente perché nessuno riusciva a farmi stare seduta ferma per più di cinque minuti. Invece in prima elementare imparai a leggere e riuscii a stare ferma per ore, persa nelle pagine. La mia professoressa al liceo mi diceva sempre “Nomen Omen”, “il nome è un presagio” perché secondo lei ero spesso sulla luna, fra le nuvole, altrove. Io dico che vivo sugli alberi. Ho sempre amato leggere, scrivere e imparo facilmente nuove lingue, per cui dopo il Liceo Linguistico mi sono laureata in Lingue e Letterature Straniere. Drogata di mondo, appena posso scendo dagli alberi e viaggio nel mondo reale.

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