Fresh off that massive post covering my recent trip to Brazil, I want to tell you how I stayed in the city of São Paulo for free.
I was there a total of 4 days including a weekend, and stayed in my own private room for free.
I did this in one of the most expensive cities in the world.
How did I do this?
No, no… this wasn’t via Couchsurfing.org, that low-budget backpackers haven. It was something completely different. (Nothing against Couchsurfing, I’d definitely recommend giving them a try.)
Here it is…
Awhile back I told you about how to effectively use Livemocha, the world’s largest online language learning community.
Do you remember? I said:
“Once you have connected with native speakers of the language you are hoping to learn via exercises or messages, connect with them via chat.”
That means actually connecting with people and talking with them. It’s not done in a dating site sort of way, but rather in a way that supports language learning.
“This is the most powerful aspect of Livemocha– the ability to connect with native speakers of your target language. If you first offering them value in the form of feedback on exercises, you can be more sure the subsequent exchanges will be positive. Again, this is a great built-in feature of Livemocha which weeds out not only creeps and stalkers, but also those who really won’t help you learn very well.”
It’s a great way to meet people if you are interested in learning a language, and in the process you can make really good friends!
Well… awhile back I connected with someone through Livemocha whom I helped in learning English. After connecting with them through Livemocha, we transitioned to Skype and became friends.
I learned later that this person lived in São Paulo, and so when they heard I was coming to Brazil, they invited me to stay in their house! Woot woot!
Folks in Brazil (and many other parts of South America) are very hospitable. They will often invite you over for dinner right after meeting you, and introduce you to their family. And in this case, my friend invited me to stay at their house!
So there I was, the guest of honor in their house for 4 days. It was great.
I was happy to accept their hospitality, as São Paulo is often named as one of the most expensive cities in the world.
And on top of this, I didn’t know my way around at all, nor another soul in the city. Thus, I was glad to have someone who could help me not be so lost in the world that is São Paulo.
So, bottom line… build relationships via Livemocha based on helping each other learn languages. After you make new friends, you might have a place to stay in a foreign land.