Publié le by NmNomador
How House Sitting Turns You into an Ambassador for Your Own Country
It takes time to prepare for living in a foreign country. You research where you will live and shop, what you will eat, how you will get from your neighborhood to different sites. But as much as you try and plan everything out, unanticipated surprises always happen. One common surprise is how the locals perceive you.
Before I lived in Barcelona, Spain for three months, I was excited about the tapas and sangria, and to practice my Spanish. I figured out where I was going to live and mapped out all of the activities I wanted to try. When I started a language exchange program, one of my partners said she had never met an American before. She also thought that the American lifestyle is just like on the Simpsons TV show. I never would have guessed that someone living there would see my culture as similar to a popular cartoon. In Dublin, the people in my neighborhood assumed I liked to buy Abercrombie and Hollister clothes, and in Copenhagen, white bread with peanut butter was known by some to be an American staple food.
Housesitters have a unique opportunity to break generalizations such as these held by those in the communities they visit. Unlike staying at a hotel, housesitting allows you to introduce locals to new ideas about your home country, while at the same time learning a lot about theirs.
Being a house sitter makes you an ambassador of our own country
As you plan your next housesitting experience, here are some tips to immerse yourself in the new community and showcase your home country.
- Start on Nomador. Before you even choose a place to housesit, consider adding points to your Nomador profile about your community at home. What kinds of foods do you eat? What are people surprised about when they visit your city? Since most of the people on Nomador are curious about other cultures, this will foster a learning community just through online interactions.
- Stay open minded. The next time you choose a place to housesit, be mindful of your immersion into the community where you’re temporarily living. Think about what you see, and try to talk to as many local people as you can. It will help them better understand your home country, and you’ll learn something about yourself and the new place in the process.
- Your routine matters. What you wear, how you speak, what you eat. People in the community you’re living in will observe all of this, and it will contribute to their ideas of your home country. One way to think about this is that it gives you a way to show them the diversity and values of your home.
- Consider a stopover. As you’re planning your next housesitting destination, try immersing yourself in a new place through a Stopover. Learn more about homeowners’ cultures by actually staying with them, and share more about your home country with them directly. Then, you can go back and have a deeper experience when you housesit on your own.
Whoever housesits after you, even if they come from your home country, will likely have a completely different background from yours. As more people housesit in that community, the locals will better understand the diversity of different countries as a whole. By immersing yourself in the community, you instantly shape perceptions of your culture.
Take your housesitting experience beyond just traveling to be an ambassador for your country. Foster further understanding among the Nomador community, the new communities you visit, and even when welcoming visitors to your home.
When Elaine isn't traveling around the world, she's exploring different cultures in her hometown of Washington, D.C. Elaine left her comfort zone in 2011 to live in Barcelona and soon became much more independent, enlightened by her discoveries across cultures and had a thirst for more. She started Travelaine.com to help others do the same. Through online conversations, in-person meet-ups, and culture guides, Travelaine fosters a community of travelers who desire to learn more about themselves and the world around them. Check out her website, Travelaine.com, or join her on Twitter, Instagram, or on SnapChat.