Page 9 : Servas can seriously improve your life
From SI Exco News
It seems that many Servas members have been profoundly affected by their Servas encounter as the few descriptions below testify to:
I've had the pleasure of getting to know several hosts on trips in Europe. It's very rewarding and enjoyable to be able to meet with people who have their residence in the country you're visiting. Every time I've stayed with Servas hosts I was amazed by the generosity and openness. People welcome you in their home and share their everyday life and experiences…that way you get a sense of feeling at home in the country you're visiting even if you're only there as a guest…
Being a guest, I think it's important to be aware that the prerequisites of having a mutually successful stay at your host's is to give as much as you're being given. To show interest for the country, culture and language, discussing and sharing experiences, not in the least offering to cook and help out… The idea of peace and cultural understanding promoted by Servas is really working I think through the meeting and making of personal relationships! Anna Gustavsson from Stockholm, Sweden
Being a member of Servas is a real privilege. We were visiting Finland in December…when after a week’s superb cross-country skiing we met our first Servas family where I felt more or less OK. Once in Helsinki, where it was about minus 25 degrees, I began to feel really bad. We stuck to our plan however, and met our Servas friends, but there my condition worsened. After sitting it out for a few days, I decided to go for a spot check in a clinic and discovered I had pneumonia. I was told to go straight to hospital. I never made it to the third Servas family… as I went into hospital on New Year’s Eve and spent four days there in the very capable hands of English-speaking Finnish nurses. (I did not celebrate the arrival of 2003 - but my own arrival in a bed!) It was while I was in hospital that I was so surprised by the genuine interest of the Servas members we wanted to visit. Instead of me visiting them, they came to see me! I was a stranger in the country but thanks to Servas I was made to feel like I was a local - something Servas always tries to do. Despite feeling so bad (and looking even worse!) I appreciated the visits from other Servas members. So I want to say thanks a lot for coming to see me in hospital and for having me in your homes in my very unhealthy state. Steve Dodd , from Solsona , Spain
With about thirty Servas lists, I set off on a grand tour of Europe for an entire year and stayed with over a hundred hosts in over 30 countries. This journey through 44 countries was full of unforgettable experiences that I recorded meticulously in my journals and sent home to all my friends and family around the world via email. Apart from all the wonderful art, architecture and history I encountered on my trip (that many Americans told me would be the greatest part of the grand tour) much of what it made it so memorable were my interactions with the lives of Servas members, who shared with me insights and aspects of their community I would probably not have encountered if not for Servas.
Servas International has changed my life in a profound way.
I left the USA having little idea of what I really wanted to do. I had become certified as a shiatsu massage therapist since bodywork was something I loved to do, but aside from this I left with the knowledge that a year abroad would tell me. And as I frequently discussed the subject of planetary peace, animosity toward the USA, and the future of the world with my hosts , I realized I was far more effective in bringing about peace through human connection than through institutions, as my education might have led me to believe…Somewhere between doing shiatsu in London, an esoteric bookshop in Moscow, the war-torn streets of Kosovo and…Rome, as well as in the home of all my hosts, I became aware that my spiritual calling was to serve my country and the world by healing humanity abroad…
Servas has demonstrated to me in practice my belief when leaving the university, that the most important way of working toward world peace is not globalized policies, markets, …as I read in some university literature, but planetary human connection… Jacob Thomas U.S.A. (Note: for more information from his journals, contact Jacob on his webpage: