How To Go Abroad For (Almost Completely) Free To Learn a Language
So you want to go abroad for almost completely free?
I know, I know. It sounds way too good to be true. Usually, with this kind of offers, you wake up without your kidney in the bathtub full of ice. But don’t worry. It’s really (almost completely) free of charge.
And the only thing you need is a pair of hands.
Without further ado, I present you:
The site, founded in 2003, helps unite aspiring travelers with hosts abroad. What do they offer? Travelers are put up for free in exchange for work
All the pictures you can see in this article are the actual locations where people go to work and learn languages.
What Is WorkAway?
Workaway is a database of families, NGOs, charities and other projects who’ve joined the project over the year. They are located around the world and are looking for volunteers to help them with a variety of tasks. Exemplary types of volunteering include gardening, animal-care, cleaning, cooking, and farming.
In exchange, you sleep for free on the premises, eat three meals a day with your host and can immerse yourself in a language of your choice.
Currently, more than 14000 hosts from 130 countries are present on the website.
How Does It Work?
First, you need to sign up (duh) and create a profile specifying your background and skills. Then you can start browsing the list of hosts for opportunities in any of the countries registered and contact them for more information. If there is some specific location you would like to visit, you can also search by country.
You can email hosts that interest you and chat with them to figure out if you’re a good match for each other.
Hosts are expected to provide information about themselves, the type of volunteering they require to be performed, the accommodation they offer and the sort of person they are expecting.
How much do I have to pay?
Almost nothing. A two-year membership is 23 Euros for a single person and 30 Euros for couples and friends.
How much do I have to work?
The typical Workaway agreement is to work 4-5 hours per day, 5 days a week in exchange for food and a room.
How long can I stay?
In theory, there is no limit on how long you must stay in a given location. However, usually, you are expected to stay with your host for at least three weeks (although you often can stay for almost as many months as you wish).
Can I earn something?
It differs with each host. But you definitely shouldn’t expect it. Remember – the deal is to work in exchange for food and accommodation. However, some hosts guarantee some pocket money or a commission.
What Can You Expect As A Member of Workaway?
According to WorkAway, you can expect the following benefits:
- Contact 1000s of hosts in over 135 countries.
- Create a unique profile telling hosts all about your skills and enthusiasm for helping.
- Upload photos in your profile showing yourself and your skills.
- Upload your own short video to show on your profile page.
- Join your account with a friend’s to visit hosts and apply together. Whenever wherever
- Create your own personalized host list of all your favorite hosts.
- Find hosts on a map in your area or the area you are planning on traveling to.
- Use your smartphone and log in to the mobile site to make changes or apply on the move.
- Add yourself to our last minute Workawayer list so hosts can contact you for immediate volunteering opportunities.
- Get and give feedbacks to and from hosts to build up your Workaway profile.
- Contact other members to ask about their stay with hosts.
- Link your travel blog to ours to share your interesting Workaway journey with our readers
- Get to know like-minded travelers on the road with our “Meet up” function.
- Enter our monthly photo competition and win money to extend your travels.
- Help the Workaway Foundation Project and watch them grow (For more info see www.workawayfoundation.org)
- Be a member of our unique traveling community and exchange amazing stories and ideas!
The website enjoys the highest reputation for quality and reliability. However, the safety is always a priority while traveling and you should treat it seriously.
Workaway has a page dedicated to safety information and encourages all its users, both volunteers, and hosts, to spend time getting to know each other before making any decisions. Any sort of contract or agreement should be decided between you and your host. The website is only responsible for connecting people.
That’s it. If you go somewhere nice, don’t forget to send me some pictures!
Not sure if I missed anything here, but you’re still expected to pay your airfare right? That’s the only thing holding me back. I don’t think it is difficult to find cheap places to stay (or friends/family overseas) & cheap places to get food
That’s right, you still need pay for it.If you ever take this leap, let me know about your experience! 🙂
Hi. I’ve been a full-time Workawayer for 2 years, currently at my 33rd host, so just wanted to offer some corrections because you’ve been a little too specific:
* Some hosts charge fees, especially in developing countries like those in Africa.
* Some only give you one or two meals a day, it depends on the customs of that country, and others may just ask you to prepare your own meals from whatever’s growing in the garden.
* You may sleep separately off-site in another house, or in a tent, for example if you’re renovating a house, working with vulnerable people, or teaching English in a crowded city centre for example.
* Learning a language from your hosts is a bonus side effect, it is not the purpose of your visit, you are there to work. Your hosts likely have full-time jobs and do not want to come back home at the end of the day and have to start giving language lessons.
* Safety wise, rather than trust what the host says, read their feedback from previous volunteers. Workaway remove hosts that receive multiple complaints.
I can’t express enough how valuable your advice is. Thank you!
in south america it isnt so often that exchange.. usually they just give you a bed and breakfast.. and usually i tell them to hire a employer
A word of warning is always welcome. Thank you for your input! 🙂
I can only recommend you to try it out yourself! I was workawaying for 2 months in the beautiful south of France and left with a very good experience. Just make sure to hit many hosts at the same time, so the chances of one host actually responding becomes more likely.
Great tip! Thank you very much! I’m actually considering it 🙂 Was there anything you didn’t like and people should be aware of?
No, don’t email lots of hosts at the same time. You only have time to go to 1, so if you email 10 then you’re wasting the time of 9 families. That’s the reason they don’t reply, because they get so much spam. Also realise that these are often rural families who might check their email once a week, they’re not attached to their iphones 24/7 like city dwellers, so don’t think they’re ignoring you if they haven’t replied after two days. The solution is to apply months in advance, and make sure you only apply to hosts that you’re suitable for. Nobody forced them to join the website, they want volunteers, if you’re right for them they will definitely be in touch.