Article from the newspaper "Helsingør Dagblad"
6 August 2009
when the 60th anniversary of Servas was marked by 50 members
from the whole world at the International People’s College in Helsingør

Translation under the article click here

 

Translation:
Article in local newspaper ”Helsingør Dagblad” 6 August 2008
Top, quote:
We have been dancing, singing, making friends across languages and cultures, we have laughed and cried and met each other’s life stories. As an Israeli it has been a chance for me to tell the special story of the Middle East. Ruth Unz, Israel

Under large photo:
The 60th anniversary of Servas is marked by 50 members from the whole world at the International People’s College in Helsingør this week.

Headline:
On a bed sofa around the world

Opening:
It is cheap, fun, different and a great experience. The 50 members of Servas who have gathered at the International People’s College in Helsingør this week have a very special way of travelling the world.

By journalist Kirsten Moth
Photographer Torben Sørensen

Text:
Helsingør: - The first time I went to South Africa with my three children aged 10, 13 and 15 and our four backpacks.
It was just after the end of the apartheid regime had ended and we felt we could go there. Half of the time we stayed in private homes and it was an unforgettable experience. It was made possible because we could stay so cheaply.
Gunna Starck is active in the international organisation Servas which has gathered 50 members from the whole world at the International People’s College in Helsingør this week to mark the 60th anniversary of the organisation.
Before getting together at Helsingør she hosted to Koreans who are touring all of Europe and have stayed with Gunna at Kultorvet in Copenhagen for a couple of days. We give by offering a place to stay to other people. But we also get a lot back. It is a great experience to learn about other people’s circumstances in their countries and compare it to our own situation in Denmark. I always find that I like Denmark better when I get to tell other people about it, Gunna says smiling.
Her two Korean guests are also participating at the International People’s College and tell us that they would never be able to make such a journey if they had not been members of the Servas network.
Meeting in person
However, there are other advantages besides the economical. It is a warmer way to meet other cultures. We get close to each other’s lives and a foreign country becomes much more real to you when you stay in a private home. It becomes a new home in another country, they say.
Among the Servas people in Helsingør we also find the visitors from Singapore, USA, Spain, Israel, Finland, Sweden, Germany, France and Ireland.
Ruth Unz is from Israel and has been a Servas traveller and stayed with people sleeping on their sofa beds all around the world.
- We have been dancing, singing, making friends across languages and cultures, we have laughed and cried and met each other’s life stories. As an Israeli it has been a chance for me to tell the special story of the Middle East.
According to Gunna Starck, for the past five years it has been virtually impossible to receive Servas travellers into Denmark from countries like India, Pakistan and Africa.
- They cannot get a visa, not even a tourist visa. The government is worried that they will stay. It is very regrettable.

Facts in box:
Facts about Servas
Servas was established in Denmark in 1949 by an American conscientious objector who thought that if people knew each other across national borders there would be no more wars. Today, after 60 years, the organisation is alive and doing well.
For more information see www.servas.dk and www.servas.org.

(Translation: Sus)