Is anyone a member of Servas? If so, what do you think of this organization?
My girlfriend and I are planning on travelling around the world next April and we were looking into doing homestays along the way. Servas looked like a pretty good organization.
I'm not actually a member of servas although havren't heard anything bad about them. I am however a member of 2 other similar and less institutional organisations, www.couchsurfing.com and www.hospitalityclub.org and have used both, expecially CS; regularly with no problems, and many great experiences.
The reason I haven't joined servas is that whilst i understand the reasoning behind it and the alleged extra safety that it brings, i disagree with the fact that servas basically vet/interview - annually - all people before accepting them and allowing them to use the service.
I know that it is supposed to bring an extra level of security, but personally, i don't see why if i'm going to open my house to strangers (which i'm perfectly happy to do), both myself and the stranger need to be vetted by a faceless member of a third party company who neither of us even know, who decide if I am allowed to host for the next 12months, and if the person is allowed to be a guest. Plus all teh official reports etc you HAVE to do after staying with/hosting somebody.
CS and HC basically cut out this stage, so people contact directly and without any pre-approval by CS/HC, and it's then my choice if i want to host them or not.