Why is there such an imbalance of Houses in Europe? UK over 2K and rest of Europe under 100 (95% to 5%)

Thanks very much!

Hi, I’m relatively new to THS, but luckily maybe, I was offered a sit just on my second day. I’m heading there right now, stopping at a friends house which is about halfway there. In the two weeks that I have been here, I have applied to a few sits in U.K., but seem to have been ignored by most HO there. The sit, starting tomorrow is in Brittany, but I am already in contact with 2 French owners, one contacted me, after seeing my motorcycle…:slightly_smiling_face:, the other had already found a sitter as I was applying for the sit. She promised to stay in contact for another sit sometime. I also have been contacted by someone who I replied to on the forum, she’s Italian and has an amazing sit available, but unfortunately I can’t make it then due to other commitments. 2 Americans have also promised to contact me, one lives here in Germany, not far from Munich, and fully understood that I would only be interested in longer sits than she had coming up in summer, but will keep in contact. The other is from us, he thought he had recognised me, but was wrong though he has offered me a sit after chatting to him and his wife. I received a message from someone else who has asked me to contact her through WhatsApp about having a video interview for a sit. I have no problem with that.
I’m retired so am able to act faster than some, although I have a busy schedule with some charitable work and would have to sort that out before any sit. I work with disabled children, the smiles, cuddles, and drawings they give me are better than anything. Why didn’t I do something like that before, instead of a “normal” job

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Here is one ad in a Swedish newspaper but in English

This thread is good thread.

I’m from Central Europe and I can well say why that doesn’t work here.

  1. Mentality: It’s completely unusual for us to let strangers into our house. You just don’t do that, that’s a different mentality. In general, it is very difficult for foreigners to come into contact with locals. I hear that again and again. We are not very hospitable.
  2. The language: Here only those who studied at a university speak good English. Otherwise you either don’t speak English or only speak a little and that’s just not enough for a sitting. One of the most important things in this model is communication. You have to be able to communicate with each other perfectly. And if you don’t really understand each other in English, it just becomes difficult. Although I speak English, I prefer 2 other languages that I speak fluently. I will mostly prefer sitters who speak these languages.
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Yes, exactly.
Personally, I don’t know anything about Americans. I know nothing about their mentality, I don’t know if we would understand each other, if they would feel comfortable here, etc. There are simply too many risks for us to be able to have a peaceful holiday.

Hi @Maggie8K what do you mean by “agnostic”. I only know this word in terms of belief in God.

Meaning not specific to THS. “Agnostic” has more definitions and uses than the religious sense.

:thinking: I’ve never seen it used in a non religious context

You can see it used in business, technology, etc., if you follow such, for example:

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I understand Americans have a certain laissez faire self serving reputation but not all Americans are the same, we do not all have the same mentality. There are some good Americans and some not so good. Same with Europeans, or humans worldwide. I was raised to be kind, respectful, quiet, clean up after myself, treat others as you would like to be treated, etc. Trust is a tough thing, so I understand. Prejudice and prejudgements are hard to overcome. Personally, I embrace diversity. I met kind people all over EU and the only thing that made me even slightly uncomfortable was driving on the left side of one lane country roads in the UK! Thank you for the input.

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In addition to some of the points made, I think there is definitely a lot to be said about 1. where TH is marketed and 2. language barriers, I.e. to whom I.e. English-speakers.

Especially in the case of Eastern Europe. There are tons of people that I know who would probably enjoy a service like this but they either do not know about it and/or also may be put off by the fact that the site is English only.

For reference, I started using the site in UK and moved to Hungary. We also use Home Exchange which is also a global network but offers the site in a variety of languages. I don’t think people realise how much language can open doors, especially to one’s home. Even having fields that acknowledge and capture which languages a participant speaks can help to disarm someone and build trust. Most Hungarians in the let space that I know have no idea of what TH is until I tell them about it.

I realise Hungary is very specific and just one example.

That being said, we never have issue getting HS apps because there is so little competition for our city and it’s a desirable city so as HO, that part is nice. But it would be great to see the site shift towards being more inclusive/accessible through language.

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