The paid vacation of your dreams: spend all summer in a small Italian village for free
Posted on 13/02/2019
Ever dreamed of living in Italy? Is drinking wine and eating homemade pasta your thing? How about showing off your town or city? If yes, then you might be one of four candidates who will get a chance to live for three months in Grottole, a small village southern Italy.
Yes, it is real!
You read the headline correctly, there is an actual opportunity to take a free three-month vacation abroad. There is no catch. The online home rental company Airbnb is paying four people to move to this southern Italian village this summer, for a full three months. The candidates will have free housing and living expenses covered up to $1,000 per month. In return, the participants will have to become a part of the local community, bring new skills to the town and basically work as ambassadors for local culture. They're hoping this will revitalize the town, a UNESCO World Heritage Site, and save it from disappearing.
You're probably wondering why
Italy is facing problems with depopulation of rural villages. Young people are moving out of small towns in large numbers to bigger cities. And this increasing trend of depopulation is not just happening in Italy. Small towns and villages all over Britain also share this problem, and Switzerland is no exception either. Last year the Swiss village of Albinen was hiring people to live in the village for at least ten years. New residents were offered payments of about $25,200 per adult.
The picturesque Italian hill town of Grottole, also facing chronic depopulation, is now using a similar strategy. The population is down to only 300 residents and there are around 600 empty homes. Determined to save this little town and bring back its old fame, Airbnb partnered with Wonder Grottole, a local organization promoting urban regeneration. "We want to help preserve these communities, so they continue for generations to come," said Joe Gebbia, the co-founder of Airbnb.
What would your tasks be?
If you're chosen for the job, you'll spend your first month in training, and the other two working as an Airbnb host. During your training, hosted by locals, you will learn the language and local culture. Educational courses will consist of cooking classes for local Italian dishes (prepare for lots of pasta!), gardening, language lessons and exploring the town and the countryside. Chosen candidates will work as Airbnb Experiences hosts, spreading their knowledge to town's visitors.
Who can apply?
Interested in the offer? Don't think too long, because applications are open until this Sunday, February 17, 2019. Candidates must be at least 18 years old, have a valid passport and be a resident from one of the following countries: USA, UK, Mexico, Italy, Ireland, Germany, France, Spain, Portugal, Argentina (except the province of Mendoza), the Netherlands, Australia, India and Japan.
You're more likely to be chosen if you have cooking, photography or artistic skills. You can apply via Italian Sabbatical website, where you'll be asked a series of questions and explain what makes you the right person for the job. On March 29, 30 finalists will be selected for a second round of interviews. The journey for the four lucky winners will start on June 1st and last until August 30, 2019.