What is “Couch Surfing”

1. To know Couchsurfing

“Stay with locals instead of hotels”! We can see the inspiring slogan on CS homepage. Especially, staying with locals for FREE makes the website more attractive. For someone who is keen to touch different cultures and know more people from all over the world or even help you reduce your travel budget, it is very helpful.

In detail, the members of the site provide free host or tour guide service for other members who travel to their cities and need help. Here are 3 steps to use CS:

  • Becoming a member: filling in personal information that provided by the site, including profile, travel and living experiences, interests, what can you do for host… etc.
  • For hosts: You should show your room information, transportation status and your request of guests…etc.
  • For guests: You can find a host who are willing to host you at a certain time. As a return for your host, you should write your reference in time after staying. And your reference will be an example for others to check whether his/her room is safe to stay.

2. My CS experiences

My sister introduced the site to me a year ago when I dashed into the fun of language exchange. Up till now, I have 6 CS experiences and with the help of CS, I could stay with Canadian, travel with Nepali and talk with Ugandan, Polish, Japanese and Americans.

All of the experiences are impressive. I know why Chinese is super difficult for foreigners to learn because what you pronounce doesn’t mean what you write. Chinese Pin Yin and character are different from each other. Besides, foreigners think if you want to write characters properly you must be a good painter first. I know what is the most interesting and strange food in Nepal, it’s scorched small chicken feather mixed rice. I know in some Americans’ mind, eating chicken feet and duck necks in China is kind of not wasting food.

With the help of great people I met from CS, my oral English has improved a lot.

3. Suggestion of using CS

There are many great people on CS, but we still need to be careful when looking for a place to stay:

  • Reading the host’s profile carefully: it’s the 1st step to know a person, including his/her interests, educational status, travel experiences etc. And from that, you will know whether you and your potential host are “matched”.
  • Reading his/her reference especially the “Negative” one: people who have stayed with him/her will tell you the true feeling and the REAL host.
  •  1st time contact: Maybe it’s not fair to judge a person good or not at the 1st contact, but trust your instinct is the best choice.