In a rather urgent search for the best (cheapest) way in which to stay in South America for as long as possible, we were wondering if anyone could give us some info on staying with host families.
We are torn between:
1) moving straight to Brazil and working there for a year to experience life there, and then using the rest of our current savings and whatever money we manage to save to tour around S.A
2) finding affordable ways in which to stay in some of the countries around the north / west of the continent, and we have seen mention of the possibility of staying with HOST FAMILIES as a cheaper means of accommodation and of learning Spanish.
How does one go about finding such families? Would we have to go through agencies?
Is this necessarily cheaper?
Is this more popular in certain countries?
We are both TEFL qualified and would therefore also be able to offer English lessons. Would this improve our chances of staying with a family?
Any info would be really appreciated on this one.
S + F
If you're willing to work a bit, check out Willing Workers On Organic Farms. I had an excellent month-long experience on a farm in Ecuador where the family spoke nothing but Spanish and the local Quechua language. I learned A LOT of Spanish and had an incredible experience. Some farms have maximum stays, others don't. You can get all that info by joining http://www.wwoof.org/ for a small fee. If you have specific questions about my experience, I'd be happy to add more.
I have not had chance to travel much lately (ever) but I am madly saving up for a trip to america and south america taking in a sidetrip to north africa early next year, and for the most part will be staying with families and friends from the couchsurfing.com site, it is perfectly geared for cultural exchange though it is not simply a way to avoid homelessness, you always need a backup (:P), you may have luck finding a host or you may not but it is always worth a try.
What happens is you join, you fill in your profile and then ask to stay with people or visit them when you get there and you bounce around meeting some incredible people, getting to know their culture on the front lines so to speak and make some incredible friends. when it is possible you do the same for others
I would recommend looking through the meetings and gatherings pages, that way if you do end up in a place you can drop the bombshell, nicely of course lol :p
You being TEFL certified would be a great asset of course to finding hosts
Just as a further edit after reading your original question further, I am not sure about how to get accomodation for a year, but I am sure some hosts in the area will know of people looking for lodgers
[ Edit: Edited on Sep 15, 2007, at 3:33 PM by Sparhawke ]
I was living with four families when I was travel in Argentina. See www.patagoniaschool.com. It is an excelllent Spanish School in Bariloche. Cost for host family was u$s 125 p/week single room with breakfast and dinner, it is very cheap and they made me feel like I was part of Argentinian society. The spanish School has scolarships availables in differents zone, I was studing free in Salta and with midle scolarship in Cordoba
Argentina is a great country with excellent food, asado and empanadas are the best!
My family in chile was not friendly I don't like chile I have a bad experince in Chile.