Work Exchange/ WorkAway in Tenerife: Travel cheaply, learn and help. This is the concept developed by WWOOF (Worldwide Opportunities on Organic Farms) in 1970 in England by Sue Coppard. Over the years, other platforms such as WorkAway, helpX, hippohelp, volunteerbase, helpstay and of course various groups on Facebook have emerged. The basic concept of the Work Exchange is that travellers – WWOOFers, WorkAwayers or volunteers – support a host in his or her work with time and skills.
Many see this as a fair deal, some see themselves as cheap labour, as the work is not paid.
WorkAway on Tenerife: Work Exchange on an Organic Finca
Creating a food forest requires not only know-how, but also a lot of muscle power and work. Once the forest garden has been properly planted, it still needs a few years of cultivation until it mutates into a self-sustaining biotope.
8 reasons why Work Exchange – whether through WWOOF, WorkAway, helpX, volunteerbase – is a great deal even though you don’t get paid:
- Travel costs are reduced to travel costs and possibly personal expenses
- Get to know local life outside the tourist centres
- Get your first work experience abroad in an uncomplicated way
- Discover your own skills and still be integrated in a family
- Quickly make friends abroad
- Learn more insider tips than normal tourists by living with a local family
- International exchange with other WWOOFers, WorkAwayers and volunteers
and on top::
- As a volunteer, you often support projects that would not be possible without this work exchange. It is only through volunteering that many ecological or social projects become possible!
Why do hosts offer the opportunity of a WorkExchange?
Work Exchange hosts often have very simple reasons why they participate in such programmes. Often there are larger plots of land, farms, fincas or larger houses behind them, which also require a lot of work, their own children are out of the house and there is plenty of space. For many hosts, money doesn’t even play a big role, but rather temporary projects for which they want uncomplicated support.
For the WWOOFer or Workawayer, this means that he usually comes to places that he would never find or visit as a tourist. They meet people who usually have nothing to do with tourism, but often have their own life stories and experiences to share.
How does such an exchange work?
Most platforms work according to the same principle. The host has his own mask on which he presents himself and his project, and anlalogue also the WWOOFer or Workawayer, or volunteer. Both the volunteer can contact the host and the host can contact the volunteer. Depending on how comfortable the platforms are equipped, they function similar to a dating platform, where proposals are made according to certain commonalities.
What are the tasks to be done?
The tasks can be of very different nature, e.g.
- Gardening and farm work
- Looking after children
- Looking after pets
- Support in the household
- Handicrafts and construction
- Administrative activities, internet
- Creative activities
The details are important:
Most of the time, the work exchange brings together different people of different ages, nations, religions, levels of experience, etc. It is important to communicate clearly and honestly what you expect and offer from each other. It should be communicated clearly and honestly what is expected and offered from each other. Understatements or exaggerations can be unpleasant for both sides. It is more sensible to cancel a host or WorkAwayer than to go through a mutually unsatisfactory time. WorkAway can be an extremely positive experience for both sides, but it can also lead to frustration and disappointment.
Typical sticking points that can lead to mutual dissatisfaction:
- You’re coming out of school and have no practical experience, but you apply to a host who needs help with a renovation project.
- You are allergic to cats and are applying for a job on a farm where cats actually belong.
- You can’t do anything with children, but you are applying to a family with small children.
- You prefer a vegan diet, but are applying to a host where everything is eaten but vegan.
- You’re a slacker and really just want a cheap holiday
- You barely speak the local language and the host doesn’t speak your language.
- You confuse the host with your hotel mum
- You want to travel with a boyfriend or girlfriend for the first time and see your stay as a love holiday.
Volunteers, WWOOFers, WorkAwayers etc. should be aware that the host has a problem or concern that they would like to resolve with an exchange. So check in advance if you are able to solve the problem. If so, it should be a positive experience for both parties. If you have completely different goals, then look for another host or consider a hotel holiday.
Workaway on Tenerife: Come and help build a Food Forest – ecological, non-commercial project
Permaculture and food forests are serious alternatives to industrial agriculture. They are more small-scale, avoid the use of chemicals, work with nature and not against it. Once such projects are properly set up and established, they can feed families or even entire village communities. However, setting up such projects involves a lot of manual labour and often takes years.
Our Food Forest Ecotava project was started in 2019 on a fallow land, the basic structure has been laid but still needs a lot of maintenance. The project pursues several goals, among others as a showcase project for imitation in a region where ecological agriculture does not yet play a major role. In a region that used to be agricultural, but today young people have little interest in traditional agriculture. Workaway on Tenerife.