Good communication between home exchangers is always important. But when you don’t share a common language with your home exchange partner, communication becomes essential for a successful swap. Don’t hesitate to raise any remaining issues that you might have and leave detailed instructions about your home before the swap begins. To give you an example, I sent a simplified version of our personal Home Exchange Guide (Google translated into Spanish) to the Spanish home exchangers a few weeks before the swap. That gave them enough time to ask further questions.
In return, little posts in English stuck to kitchen cabinets helped us to orient ourselves, when we arrived at their apartment. (It always touches me to find such thoughtful and caring signs left behind to ease the trip of the home exchange guests.)
Despite our careful preparations we still encountered a misunderstanding due to the language barrier at the last minute. The Spanish home exchangers arrived at the train station in Tutzing where we live and picked up our car. In the car, they found a bunch of keys among them car and house key - just as agreed (or so I thought). Our direct neighbors had an additional house key for emergencies…
The Spanish home exchangers arrived after a flight across Europe and a long train ride, only to find out that the neighbor who was supposed to have our house key was not home. Imagine the situation! Luckily, I had informed several of our neighbors of our expected home exchange guests. One of them called us on our mobile – meanwhile we were crossing and enjoying the vast Catalonian landscape on our way to the Pyrenees. It took only a moment to explain that our house key had been there all along.
At last, the way was cleared for a joyful stay of the Spanish home exchangers at our home!