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Why choose homestay while volunteering?

My Magazine 2022/11
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A one-week program in Gunjur, combined with a homestay, is a perfect choice for all who want to spend their holidays differently. Giving back to the world through environmental protection while getting to know the local way of life can be a perfect student visit, practical training, a great way of spending a community-based active vacation or just a way to travel with meaning.

Gunjur Environment Interest Group is a unity of Gunjurian environmental and eco-travel organisations, inviting international volunteers to join their daily activities in environment protection. 

Volunteers participate in activities such as beach cleaning, planting and watering trees, listing plant and animal species of the forest, visiting and assisting at the hatchery, ensuring existing hatcheries are kept clean and safe, protecting turtle nests through beach patrols and beach cleaning (only during turtle nesting season), caring for injured turtles (if necessary), working with the local team to develop educational materials for local communities, and raising awareness in the community.

Photo by Kaja Škorjanc

Another goal of the volunteering program is to provide travellers and volunteers with an authentic experience in The Gambia by living with locals.

Staying with a host family gives a unique insight into the lifestyle of Gambians. One can learn much about the country and its people while staying with a local family. Also, Gambian hosts are well known for their friendliness and hospitality. So homestay is a popular choice.

 

Why should you choose to stay in homestay accommodation?

An authentic experience

Staying with a host family is an experience that gives insight into the village life, The Gambia and culture.

Photo by Kaja Škorjanc

 

Cultural Immersion

Homestay provides a more authentic cultural experience. That is, by living with locals rather than in a lodge or hotel, you can experience the realities of daily life. 

 

Good value for money

Staying in a homestay is cheaper than staying in a hotel or renting an apartment. Also, relaxing and spending time with hosts in their homes is much more enjoyable!

 

Improving language skills

One of the best ways to improve language skills is to communicate and participate in the new language. Therefore, staying in a homestay allows for practising language skills in a real-life environment. Our homestay hosts are experienced in having visitors from all around the world and will be happy to communicate with you.

 

Eating home-cooked food

The homestay experience involves three home-cooked meals per day. The best thing about it is the possibility to experience new and exciting food while practising language skills and learning new things from the host family.

 

Getting off the beaten path & exploring like a local

Homestays are usually located away from the main tourist hubs. The best way to explore a new place is in the company of locals. Hosting families can provide good tips and recommendations about places to visit. They can point out some hidden locations. All the main tourist places still remain there to see. Living with locals gives you a chance to learn about the country on a completely different level.

 

Perfect for solo travellers

For solo travellers, meeting new people when arriving in a new place can be difficult. However, staying with a host family will undoubtedly lead to friendship, not only with the family members but also with their friends and extended family.

 

Unforgettable memories

A homestay is a real home away from home. When staying in a hotel, it is easy to forget about the staff, room, or experience; through homestay accommodation, you meet real, genuine people. By getting to know them, you can make memories you couldn't get from any other accommodation!

 

Homestays generate income for the local community

By staying in the homestay, you are contributing to the livelihood of the local community. The small cost of paying for the roof and food may significantly uplift the family's living standards. In many developing countries, homestays are run by women. Through hosting travellers, they become more financially independent. Staying in a local community benefits the family hosting and the artisans selling handmade souvenirs, taxi drivers in the community, shopkeepers and other people involved in rendering services or selling products to the travellers or the hosting family. 

 

Would you like to experience homestay while volunteering in Gunjur yourself? Contact us and we will make it possible. 

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