Having listening at least 3 times to the podcast Couch Surfing, take a look at the transcript. Make a note of words you know but didn’t catch, and words which are completely new to you.

Listen to Charles talk about why he enjoys hosting couch surfers and about his own couch surfing experiences in Vietnam.

This transcript will help you to understand the podcast. Many of the “ums” and “ers” have been removed to make for easier reading.


Charles is French and you will notice that he made a few mistakes, which he has asked to be highlighted in red. Can you correct them? You will find the answers at the end of the transcript.


Sue: Hi Charles.

Charles: Hi Sue.

Sue: Hi, now I know that you are a big traveller, and you’ve been all over the world really. And, how do you travel, what’s your, what’s your preferred way to travel and stay in places?

Charles: Usually what I try to do is couch surfing.

Sue: Couch surfing, what is that?

Charles: Couch surfing is sleeping at some people’s place for free.

Sue: Yes.

Charles: Some people who offer to host you.

Sue: Yeah and a couch. What’s a couch then? 

Charles: A couch is a sofa.

Sue: Is a sofa. So you sleep on someone’s sofa for free. Ok. And how do you do this? I mean, can you talk us through step by step?

Charles: Of course, of course

Sue: How do you get in touch with these people?

Charles: First you need to hear about couch surfing and then you can check their website Couch surfing.org.

Sue: Ok there’s a real website on this.

Charles: Oh yes, of course. This is a platform, when you can create an account there, you can fill in your profile. And when you want to travel somewhere you just enter the place where you want to go. For example, if you want to travel to Montenegro, in Podgorica,

Sue: Yes, sorry, where did you say?

Charles: In Podgorica.

Sue: Ok, yes,  I have to say that you’re wearing a t-shirt with this name on, yes.

Charles: So you type Podgorica and you search for it and the website will give you everybody who can host you in Podgorica.

Sue: Ok, that’s good. And, so have you had some good experiences of this?

Charles: Well, I have to say that all the experiences are very good because you meet some people you would not have met. But the best experiences I had was where I hosted some people.

Sue: So you host people, they come to sleep on your couch.

Charles: Yes, definitely.

 Sue: And is it really a couch they sleep on?

Charles: A couch or a bed.

Sue: Oh a bed, that’s luxury, a bed.

Charles: A convertible.

Sue: A convertible bed, ok, yeah. Ok, so these are your best experiences, so could you tell us a bit more about the best ones?

Charles: The first one was great. I hosted for the first time 2 Lithuanian girls. They sent me a mail like a week ahead, ok, we’re 2 Lithuania girls coming to Paris. At the time I was living in Paris, could you host us? I said, yeah, no problem, please it’s the first time I’m hosting, I’m very excited, come in. They sent me a mail 2 days later, finally we’re gonna be 4 (1).

Sue: So you had 4 girls. I can see why this is one of your best experiences Charles!

Charles: I said, ok it’s do-able, we can arrange something, we can find a place.

Sue: I was going to say, did you have 4 couches?

Charles: No, no at the time I only had 2 couches. The day before they came, they said one of our friends need some accommodation. Can you host her?

Sue: Yeah?

Charles: Can you host her, We’re gonna be 5(2).

Sue: So ok, so I suppose you had parties.

Charles: Yeah, we had a lot of fun.

Sue: Yeah, a lot of fun.

Charles: We visited Paris together.

Sue: Oh that’s really nice. So, on the flip side, what about the worst experience you’ve had? Because you have to be quite daring to do this I think,

Charles: Yeah, that’s right.

Sue:  Get out of your comfort zone a bit.

Charles: Yeah, you never know the people where you’re going. And the worst experience was in Hanoi when I was travelling with my brother.

Sue: And was it because of your brother?

Charles: It was not, it was not because of my brother, of course not. But we found someone, a Vietnamese guy, a young guy from Hanoi to host us for a few days and we had an appointment and we arrived, like, 4 hours late for the appointment, and obviously he was not waiting for us. He was in a remote suburb of Hanoi and it was already night, it was 9 in the afternoon, 9pm.

Sue: In the evening, in the evening.

Charles: In the evening, that’s right. We couldn’t find the guy, we didn’t have the address. So we figured, ok, we have to find a hotel, so we went to the first hotel we find (3). We enter (4) and on the counter, we wanted to check the price, it was not per night, it was per hour.

Sue: Oh Charles.

Charles: So I said to my brother I think it’s not it’s not a hotel where we need to sleep.

Sue: Yes, ok, so, to cut a long story short, did you find this guy in the end?

Charles: At this point the guy arrived in the hotel.

Sue: Oh ok!

Charles: Oh Charles and Emilien, is it you? Yeah, ok, I just saw 2 backpacks going in that shitty hotel. So, here I am, come in. So we went to the place and we had a talk with his father and his father didn’t want to host us because we are French and in Vietnam some of them don’t like French people, so we got kicked out.

Sue: Oh my goodness, so did you eventually find a hotel you could rent for the night.

Charles: Yeah, the Vietienese guy, Zung, took us on his motorbike to the city centre and he helped us find a proper hotel for the night, fortunately.

Sue: Right, fantastic. So Charles, I imagine for that that you’ve got to be, when you do couch surfing, you have to be quite open minded.

Charles: When you do couch surfing you want to discover another culture, to meet other people.

Sue: No, just stay in a kind of sterile hotel, you really need to stay…,

Charles: Not at all, you will meet people and you will get out of your comfort zone of course.

Sue: Yes, yes, well, it sounds like a fantastic way to travel,  I’m not quite sure it’s really my cup of tea Charles, but thank you very much for telling us about that.

Charles: Thank you Sue.



(1) There will be 4 of us. (2) There will be 5 of us. (3) Found (4) Went in


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