GoCambio, which was launched eight weeks ago, allows people to sign up as a guest or a host. Guests teach their hosts a language in return for a stay at their house, completely free.
“It’s a huge emergence of a sharing economy that people can just contact each other directly”
Founder of GoCambio, Deirdre Bounds, told The PIE News that there was a big gap in the market for this type of language exchange combined with travel.
“It’s a huge emergence of a sharing economy that people can just contact each other directly, and people who want to travel,” she said adding that she had seen options for paid placements, but nothing for a free exchange. “I didn’t even know what to search for, it just didn’t exist.”
Since the launch of its website eight weeks ago, GoCambio has seen almost 1,400 people sign up – roughly a quarter as hosts and three quarters as guests.
“We have hosts in the Maldives who want to learn Arabic and Spanish and we have hosts in Taiwan who want to learn Italian,” said Bounds.
“We have people who want to learn cookery and music as well as language, so you can exchange skills as well.”
Before the exchange takes place, guests have the option of taking a free Cambio Express course, which was developed for all languages in order to gain some experience in how to teach.
According to Bounds, the website has also gained a lot of interest for international students, who can ‘Cambio’ in the country where they are studying.
“I can speak a language and therefore I can travel. Everybody speaks a language”
“I was at Leeds University, and they were very interested because they say they often find it difficult to place their international students at Easter and Christmas in host families,” she said.
By 2017, GoCambio has a target to ‘touch one million language learners’, and Bounds believes they are well on their way.
“People can see the potential in it and it’s ignited an excitement in the world to say I can speak a language and therefore I can travel. Everybody speaks a language.”