If you’ve ever dreamed of taking three months off, you’re not alone. According to a recent survey by Airbnb, one in three respondents in the United States said they needed a sabbatical to avoid burnout at work. And if you’re anything like the many survey respondents who said they’d use their sabbatical to meet new people and discover other cultures, keep reading.
This summer, Airbnb wants to send four volunteers on a three-month sabbatical in Grottole. The hillside village is located in southern Italy’s Basilicata region—a 30-minute drive west of Matera, Europe’s 2019 Capital of Culture.
Today, only 300 inhabitants remain in Grottole’s historic center and more than 600 houses sit empty. To help save the village from disappearing and draw more visitors to Grottole, Airbnb is working with Wonder Grottole, a local NGO that focuses on urban regeneration. The two companies will send four people on an all-expenses-paid sabbatical to live and volunteer in Grottole as Airbnb Experience and Home hosts alongside locals.
“Our dream is to repopulate the historical centre,” Silvio Donadio, founder of Wonder Grottole, said in a statement. “In 10 years we’d like to see the village full of people from different cultures perfectly integrated with the local community.”
Before they start their three-month sabbatical as Airbnb Home and Experience cohosts with Wonder Grottole, volunteers will be trained for a month in Italian language skills, Italian cooking, and more. Then they will act as cohosts, welcoming travelers into a house in the village center or a bedroom at the local community center.
As part of their work as Experience hosts, the volunteers will teach travelers passing through Grottole traditional Italian farming skills, such as harvesting honey, growing vegetables, and making pasta and olive oil. The proceeds of these Airbnb Experiences will be invested back into revitalizing the town.
Airbnb is accepting applications for this Italian sabbatical at italiansabbatical.com from now until February 17, 2019. To be eligible, applicants must be available to live in Grottole for a full three months from June through August 2019.
Applicants must also be at least 18 years or older and reside in the United States, Mexico, Argentina (except the province of Mendoza), Italy, United Kingdom, Germany, France, Spain, Portugal, Netherlands, Australia, India, or Japan. While applicants must be conversational in English, they will learn Italian during the trip. Four winners will be announced on March 29, 2019.