LESSON 7: Couchsurfing - reading comprehension and vocabulary exercise

First there was surfing and windsurfing. After that we got used to the fact that we can also surf the net. But have you ever heard about couchsurfing? When I heard the name for the first time I instantly thought about “couch potatoes” – probably because the same word occurs in both these phrases. But quite contrary to my initial thoughts, not every couch potato would decide to try couchsurfing since it has completely nothing to do with sitting on your couch in front of the TV.

I do not know anyone who does not like travelling. Going on a journey can be a very exciting and enlightening experience. There seems to be no mistake in what people say about travelling – it can really broaden your mind. And if you ask yourself how to make this experience even more enjoyable and, first of all, cheaper, then you might want to try couchsurfing.

The idea arose when Casey Fenton, the author of the project, went for a short trip to Reykjavik. The only problem was that he had no accommodation and did not wish to stay in a regular hostel. He therefore wrote e-mails to numerous students living in this city and after some time got many responses from those who offered to put him up and show him the city. That’s how it got started.

The CouchSurfing project is a non-profit hospitality exchange network. Over the years it has grown rapidly and is now the largest organisation of this type in the world. It is opened to all people who want to travel around the globe staying in the houses of other members of the CouchSurfing community. In exchange they might offer accommodation to those who would like to visit their country. The hosts provide their guests not only with lodging but also advise them about what is worth seeing or doing at their place. As the site of the project informs us, the mission of the project is to make people of different cultural backgrounds work together, get to know each other and make the world a better place.

It seems a perfect way of travelling for those who are hungry for new experiences and want to get acquainted with people from all around the world.



  • Instantly (adverb) – at once, without delay
  • To occur – be present
  • Initial (adjective) – one that appears at the beginning
  • Enlightening (enlightening) – illuminating, informative
  • Regular (adjective)– normal, typical
  • To put somebody up – let somebody stay at your home (for the night)
  • Hospitality – kindness towards your guests, cordial reception
  • Rapidly (adverb) – quickly, speedily
  • A host – someone who invites guests
  • A lodging – accommodation 



Fill in the chart and then use the vocabulary from the right-hand column to complete the sentences from 1 to 6.

instantly adjective: instant
to occur noun:
initial adverb:
enlightening verb:
regular adverb:
a lodging verb:



1. I am waiting for you to _____ me. (ironic)

2. He used to visit his doctor _____.

3. I was ___ opposed to his idea but after some time I changed my mind.

4. The Prime Minister’s speech got an ____ response from the public opinion.

5. Our student hostel can _____ not more than sixty students.

6. The ____ of greenhouse gases in the atmosphere is a major threat to the air quality.