SERVAS is ...
- ... an international, non-governmental organization
- ... based on understanding, tolerance and world peace
- ... an organization of hosts and travelers
- ... based on volunteer work
- ... founded in 1949
- ... non-profit
- ... divided into nine areas around the world. Each area has its own coordinator
SERVAS is a worldwide cooperative cultural exchange network established in 1948 and composed of member hosts and travelers working together to foster peace, goodwill and mutual respect. SERVAS seeks to realize these aims by providing opportunities for person-to-person contacts between people of diverse cultures and backgrounds. Our mission includes providing approved Indian and international travelers with opportunities to be guests of SERVAS member hosts around the world.
This international community of friends works together on a volunteer basis to create a climate of mutual understanding and tolerance. Originally called "Peace builders," SERVAS now encompasses over 15,000 homes and institutions in more than 135 countries on six continents. Our members believe that by meeting new people in our own homes and sharing our everyday lives with them, individuals have the power to build the necessary foundations for world peace.
As a SERVAS traveler, you may seek home stay exchanges with overnight host families—typically for two days and nights—using the host list as your guide, or meet with "day hosts," who do not offer overnight accommodation but who are interested in meeting SERVAS travelers. During these visits, travelers are encouraged to participate in the life and work of their hosts and the communities in which they are guests. SERVAS host directories also contain information about local culture, peace and social justice organizations, and related activities. All SERVAS participants are encouraged to explore the cultures, outlooks, and problems faced by other members around the world in relation to their own experiences, both before and during the trip.
SERVAS members recognize the importance of personal relationships, the inherent worth of all people and the value of cultural differences. By fostering open person-to-person experiences between travelers and hosts, artificial barriers can be removed, lasting friendships can develop and social responsibility is encouraged.
SERVAS is a special way of seeing the world— a place where there are no strangers, only friends you have yet to meet!