San Francisco cultural and educational experience at its best in exchange for house eco renovation help


United States

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 Min stay requested: at least a week

  • Description


    I am a educational/research professional in Berkeley, CA (San Francisco), home to a famous public California university with a big house (over 300 m^2) that I am renovating myself. This is a fantastic and extremely desirable upscale hills location: 10 min bike ride to Berkeley Campus, a direct bus to downtown San Francisco, walking distance to restaurants and grocery shops, views of the three famous Bay Area bridges. A great place to start daily trips to the uncountable beautiful destination around the Bay Area, e.g. only 1 hour drive to Napa Valley, less than hour to downtown San Francisco.

    As I have a full time job and frequently travel to Rio to meet with my three year old son, I realized that I cannot finish a major renovation green project on the house myself. There are at least 5-6 places to sleep in unfinished rooms or in the attic. There are a working shower, water, toilets, refrigerator, microwave, induction oven, super fast internet, gorgeous garden with birds, dears and many other animal visitors nearby.

    I was privileged to live and travel in more 20 countries in the world on five continents, I am certain it would be not hard to find common interest. When I was a teenager I hitchhiked across Europe and at times slept under the bridge when caught by a big rain.

    One of my most beautiful moments in travel was the climb to the top of Cotopaxi volcano in Ecuador as well as country side in New Zealand.

    I have always felt home among international people.

  • Type of help

    Type of help

    General Maintenance
    Help with Eco project
    Help in the house
    Language practice
    Art project

  • Cultural exchange and learning opportunities

    Cultural exchange and learning opportunities

    Usually there are people from at least three different countries, cultures. They socialize at lunch and in the evenings and possibly cook together. They exchange their traveling experience.
    I help most people with improving their English if their native language is other than that.
    I teach everyone who is interested about the newest trends in building materials and technologies, and simpler things such as how to build a stone wall.

    They also learn about online education, efficient green sustainable building. They can go to free yoga, or meditation classes in downtown Berkeley.

    Occasionally to help build a team I take workawayers to local bars or on beautiful hikes in Marin county.

  • Help


    There will be a variety of tasks involving some tools and muscles as well as a bit of mind, and artistic soul, for example helping with installing air vents, screwing sheet rocks, digging, lots of cleaning, moving furniture, organizing tools, cleaning, cooking for all of us. Looking for individuals who are able to work well on their own if needed. There is a great internet access during off time and breaks. However, you would be asked to put aside your cell phone during your hours.
    A supported by a reference evidence of integrity is a plus.

  • Languages spoken

    Languages spoken

    English, Portuguese, French, Polish, Russian, Spanish

  • Accommodation


    You would be offered either a bed, mattress or a cot, access to warm showers, laundry, dryer, internet, water, microwave, inductive stove. But you will not be able to to be speak very loud outside in the garden after 8 p.m. This is an extremely quiet neighborhood of professionals who value tranquility and harmony with abundant nature. The home and the area is non-smoking. The refrigerator is communal. I try to provide enough vegetarian food for a nutritious breakfast and lunch and a possible late evening snack. You would be welcome to complete vegetarian choices with with fish and meat.

  • What else ...

    What else ...

    You would spend around 25 hours per seven night period (4 days a week 6h, with Tuesdays 1h) helping me or working alone around the house. So, there would be lots of time off to explore the Bay Area. The natural, architectural and urban beauty of San Francisco and the Bay Area is impossible to describe here, so please google it. The house is located at about 15 min bike/bus ride from downtown Berkeley in the mid hills. There is a direct (45 min) bus to downtown San Francisco.

    Ideal volunteers would be a person, or a small group of college students from overseas taking time off from their studies. You would need to be willing to learn and redo the same thing sometimes even three times without taking a personal offense. We all are in a lifelong process of learning, sometimes we need to learn new things and redo them several times to get them to perfection. So patience and a positive attitude if we have to correct or redo something is a essential.
    If we work together then we may also have a chance to improve some of our non-native languages. For example, I would speak English and you
    would confirm and reply in French.

    A typical day may be: to assist me (for example prepare tools, small lumber, and then clean up after work) around the house from early morning till early afternoon with a social lunch cooked by one the workawayers and then hop on public transport or a bicycle and get to enjoy and explore the area. The evening & nights are quiet but a beer or a glass of wine in the garden or on the deck can be part of a routine.

    I would be willing to drop you off and even pick you from a few local places to facilitate your exploration. There a fantastic local bars with live music and full of students. There are state parks a walking distance away with spectacular views of the Bay. If you are over 21, maybe if time permits we could go to Napa together to decide if wine here is better than in South of France.

    The minimum stay would be 10 days. The actual length also depends on the availability and my travel schedule. Typically it is from 10 days to up to 40 days or so. If you do not enjoy the type and pace, you could leave without any obligations. So far there have always been others waiting for this opportunity. If I feel that the exchange is not working out I would first have a chat and see if we could meet each other half way. If this were not to happen you would have at least two days to modify your travel plans.

    Around the house: you could sit next to a fireplace, spend long evenings outside warmed up by heat lamps or possible inside jacuzzi. You would learn how to climb a huge tree on a rock climbing rope. You could play a piano...

    I have hosted about 35 people from over 12 different countries.

  • A little more information

    A little more information

    • Internet access

    • Limited internet access

      Limited internet access

    • We have pets

    • We are smokers

  • How many Workawayers can stay?

    How many Workawayers can stay?

    More than two

  • ...

    Hours expected

    5 hours a day, 4 days a week and 1 hours on Wed.

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Host ref number: 983862386614