What is Servas?
Servas is an international community of hosts and travellers that began in 1949 as “Peacebuilders.” The hope of Servas is that through shared travel and hosting experiences members will bring about global peace and goodwill initiatives through multicultural dialogue between peoples of different cultures, languages, ages, genders, and abilities. Hosts in more than 100 countries offer free hospitality to Servas members, sharing their homes and their lives with Servas travellers for a few hours, or a couple of days or nights.
The Servas experience is one of mutual engagement. When you open your door to a Servas traveller or you yourself are welcomed by a Servas host share and listen to stories. Recognize that wherever we are from, we all wish for the same: love of family and friends, peaceful relations, good health, opportunity, and freedom to enjoy these gifts. Global peace, a mandate of Servas, involves public engagement and dialogue about and with each other. Servas member travel is not just a free bed. We offer a safe and secure means of travel for our members and we have a voice at the United Nations. It’s about respect, cultural tolerance, and making an effort to understand another’s culture; these are the human ideals of Servas.
How We Work
Servas Canada is one of many communities in this great global human neighbourhood, and we hope that as a diverse and inclusive community we are, conscientious ambassadors promoting the human ideals of Servas leading to peace, and environmental stewards who “travel lightly upon this Earth.”
Hosts and travellers join Servas Canada through an interview and orientation process, and create a profile on Servas International’s ServasOnline website. Here travellers communicate with hosts in places they plan to travel, and members plan events, find “friends” and share in dialogue that deepens cultural understanding. Hosts are free to show travellers local sites, share in meals, or simply chat. Travellers pay no money to hosts, but are encouraged to share in costs of meals, transportation, etc.
The Servas Difference
Servas is one of a number of hospitality exchanges that offers free or inexpensive accommodation plus an opportunity to connect with people around the world. But, Servas is different.
Servas promotes and supports:
- Security and Safety: An interview and orientation process for all members
- Responsibility and Privacy: Member-directed use of secure ServasOnline database
- Peace Initiatives: Each Servas country has a Peace Secretary to develop peace-based activities
- Making Connections (Other Programs): Engaging in longer-term language, cultural, and volunteer experiences
- Opportunities: For youth, adults, and families
- Conversations: Ongoing (and sometimes long-term) dialogue with Servas friends and families
- Reciprocity: Encouraging members to travel or host or both