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Detroit
All Year: Yes
Area (ha):
Persons: 3
Category: Backpacker Hostel
Host ID: 50323
Region: Midwest

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Last Updated: March 19, 2020

Hi everyone,
Jenny and Alex here! We moved to Detroit in 2013 after living in Asia for 5 years. Alex is originally from California and Jenny is from Hong Kong. We met in Germany through an internship and later fell in love in a hostel in Spain while road-tripping through wine country. Alex has a background in tech start-ups in NYC and California while Jenny worked in marketing for L`Oreal in Hong Kong and Germany.
We LOVE to travel and have lived and adventured throughout Europe and Asia extensively. In 2013 we decided to move back to the US and thought we would end up in California but when we heard they were tearing houses down in Detroit we decided to check it out. As any open-minded traveler knows, a good place can often be distorted by the media so we decided to do a road trip to see the city for ourselves. After driving into Detroit we fell in love with the city! People here have a lot of pride and heart. There is a spirit of resilience and you can feel the energy as the city rebuilds. We also see that visiting the city provides opportunities for individuals to reflect, grow and make a difference in their lifes. We have experienced the magic ourselves and we saw that happened to others so we hope you will consider joining us on the adventure!
Right now, we are bringing a 1925 abandoned hospital back to life. It`s been real hard work but knowing that we will be able to host travellers from around the world in this house, fill it back with life as how it has designed for has been given us a lot of energy to carry on. Having a positive impact on our society and hosting travelers for a deep travel experience have always been dreams of ours. We believe through deep travel experience and bonding of friendship with a diverse background, we all can understand others` perspective better, hence making us a better global citizen. We are excited to be part of such movement and it motivates us to keep doing what we are doing.

WHO WE ARE LOOKING FOR
Currently we are looking for help on people who do not mind to get their hands dirty! Part of us all living together involve keeping the house running and we are excited to bring our garden online next so we can grow, harvest, cook and eat together! If you think you`re interested in helping and you want to experience a classic American city that is going through an exciting rebirth - please get in touch!
PROJECTS
*Cleaning - Clean and maintain our space for everyone.
*Greeting - As our volunteers, when you see our guests, please show them around the house and help them with what they might need. Definitely show them places in Detroit that you would recommend! For most people, that`s their first time in the city and the city doesn`t have very good travel guide in our experience so you can really help travellers to have a great time in the city.
*Photography and Videography - A picture is worth a thousand words and the more we develop our volunteer program the more we need someone to help us document the process. We would like help to take pictures and video of the house and the work being done. We have started daily videos on YouTube and social media updates since 2019 and we are excited about it! You can find us on the website link in our profile. :)
*Community Garden - We are going to start building a community garden next to the house! In this project, you will help us build raised garden beds out of wood, get them filled with top soil, plant seeds and seedlings, water and weed growing crops, and harvest fresh veggies which we will use in our cultural exchange events and dinners.
*Bike Repair - We love to bike and our location is only 2 miles from downtown Detroit which makes this a great spot to stay if you want to cycle around the city. In this project you will help us maintain and repair our bicycles as needed for everyone.
*Art Projects - In this project you will collaborate with other guests, volunteers and staff to create artwork of various kinds. This could involve sculptures, painting, street art, or anything that adds beauty and intrigue to the house. It could also include work done off-site that helps promote the values and spirit of what we believe in.

WHAT WE CAN OFFER
We are very confident that we can provide a great cultural exchange and learning opportunity for the right candidates if he/ she is looking for:
*Help with your English/ Cultural & Language Exchange: We have guests coming from around the world. Staying with us would mean you will be part of it! Jenny is an avid language learner (fluent in 4 languages, leant 7 and right now self-learning Spanish) and Alex is a native English speaker with West Coast accent. If your goal is to improve your English (however your starting point is) or pick up some new languages, we are very happy to help. There is free English class in the city that we can help you to connect to and we will provide further opportunities for daily practice and self-learning methodology for you to get to your fluency in the fastest way possible. We’ve seen the magic happened under our roof, multiple of our volunteers go from zero to hero in English at our house and we are excited to help you to do that too. :)
*Superb Guidance: As someone who went through an internship program ourselves (in fact this is how we met in the first place :) ), we were there before and know how to create a meaningful experience for the right candidate. We are also well versed in both the start-up and corporate worlds which means we can offer perspectives on both. (I personally wish I had someone to guide me between those 2 worlds when I was right out of college.)
*Learning what it takes to realise a dream: Doing what we are doing involves not only the planning and analysis component but also the ‘physical’ component which a lot of people overlook. Being with us means not only will you see it first hand what it takes to rehab an abandoned old house, you will also interact with guest from around the world, and meet people from diverse socio-economic and technical backgrounds.
*An Alternative to the Classic Corporate Opportunity: I still remember vividly the struggle between tapping into the corporate world versus starting something on my own. This will be a great experience for someone who wants to experience what it takes to start a project that`s different (and the satisfaction that comes with it :) ) before trying out a classic corporate job or someone who wants a break from the corporate world.
*To understand a fascinating city and possibly identify his/her own opportunity: Detroit is undergoing so much improvement and it’s an amazing city to be in right now. Since we’ve started hosting, we have guests from around the world who have come here for a conference or a field trip and have fallen in love with the city and eventually decided to buy a house, fix it up and "start" their life here! It’s an exciting time to be here in Detroit and who knows? Maybe you would want to start something here too!
*A Fun Place to contribute: Want to meet cool travelers from around the world?! Detroit is becoming an interesting place with a growing diversity. The Movement festival and the International Jazz Festival are big hits. But throughout the year, we have been hosting a lot of people from Europe, particularly Germans and French, and Australians. A lot of them can see the similarity of Detroit to East Berlin after the wall came down so people find it fascinating to see it here now before things change (and things are changing very quickly indeed).

DETAILS OF YOUR STAY
*Accommodation: You’ll get a single bed in our shared room; you’ll be sharing the room with fellow volunteers and guests
*Food: We provide ingredients so you can cook your meals. Often times, we collaborate on cooking and eating together. It’s a lot of fun. Be sure to let us know what you eat and what you don’t as well.
*Hours: Typically 1-3 hours a day depending on the work on hand
*Minimum Stay: 1 month (from previous experience, a longer stay of 2-3 months will be even better especially if you are trying to learn English.)

Hope this detailed description help you to know us a little better. Get in touch and see you in Detroit!

Cheers,
Jenny & Alex

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