Helping the academic community with its housing needs since 2000
Spring/Summer 2009

Dear SabbaticalHomes.com friend,

This is the second issue of our newsletter for SabbaticalHomes.com (in nine years of operation). We hope it will be interesting and informative to our readers. It is somewhat of a work in progress for the first few issues. We appreciate reader feedback to help us continue to improve our latest resource. If you have any comments or ideas, please email us.

Art for Rent?
Art Pays Rent for One of our Notable Members

Toronto-based artist Katherine Dolgy is taking her vibrantly colored paintings around the world-and through her relationship with SabbaticalHomes.com, will rarely pay for lodging.


Dolgy extends her art internationally by staying in the homes of academics, artists, and writers. Rather than pay the traditional monetary rental fee, Dolgy instead leaves the owner an original work of art. "I make sure to incorporate the places, people and objects that are dear to the people whose homes I visit," explains Dolgy. "I have built an international practice quickly, with a lot of honors, and I couldn't have managed it without SabbaticalHomes.com. I become very attached to my temporary homes. I have spent two to 15 months in homes and the owners all have remained friends to me, keeping in touch over the years," said Dolgy, who has been exchanging art for rent for seven years. Dolgy and her "landlords" get a feel for each other from multiple emails prior to the exchange.


Finding connections is an easy process for the artist. She simply lists a "Home Wanted" on SabbaticalHomes.com for the city she would like to visit. Members of the web site can reply to her directly to arrange dates and details and begin the process of getting to know each other.


"People are often surprised to see objects, pets, even whole rooms appear in my paintings," Dolgy mused. "The landlords are positive about the art which is an expression of who I am, but with a touch of who they are, too."  


Feedback Feature
New Feature at SabbaticalHomes.com

We recently established a feedback system. Feedback is intended to provide our community of users the opportunity to comment on the experiences they have had through use of the web site. For example, it's a great opportunity to let your host know how much you enjoyed their garden, or let your renter in on how much you appreciated the extra care taken with your home. Whatever your situation, using Feedback will help the community grow and improve your chances of another successful connection.

The feature is very easy to use. Simply log on to your account and go to "My Feedback" at the top of the page. You can leave feedback about people who contacted you, people you contacted, or even people you refer.
SabbaticalHomes.com keeps a history of all of your feedback for your reference until you choose to delete it. We expect the vast majority of comments to be positive, of course. If you must leave a criticism, be constructive and fair. SabbaticalHomes.com  reserves the right to withdraw any comments that are inappropriate. Log on today and give it a try!

International Professor Exchange
Richard Huber, the co-founder of International Professor Exchange (IPE) created a website with similar aspirations to our own-providing the academic community with networking options and excellent service. Richard answers a few questions for us about the idea behind his site, professors seeking job exchanges, and his own experience using SabbaticalHomes.com.
Q. How did you get the idea for your website, International Professor Exchange?
R.H.: I was interested in a short-term exchange in Australia and found myself spending hours searching for a science educator interested in exchanging positions. I began thinking that there must be a better way and that there were probably other academics in a similar situation. I was able to convince the director of International Programs for the University that a site such as the International Professor Exchange would be a valuable service to faculty at our university. Together, we were able to convince the Director of Instructional Technology for UNCW to fund the programming for IPE under the university's Innovations in Technology program.
Q. How many job exchanges have you published on your site so far? Do you keep track of the successful job exchanges and, if so, how many are there?
R.H.: We currently have 286 positions posted on our site and 1009 registered members. While we are not able to track the number of successful exchanges facilitated by IPE, members often write to thank us for this valuable free service. The most popular postings are in Business Administration, Computer Science and Education.
Q. Which countries are in most of the demand for, or from, professors seeking exchanges?
R.H.: Most requests are coming from the U.S., India and Spain. While most of IPE members are from Canada and the U.S., the most frequently requested country is Australia, with the most frequently requested region being Europe. This surprised us given the very positive exchange rates for people coming to the U.S. from Europe.
Q. You've participated in home exchanges in Switzerland and Paris. Please tell us more about your experience. Do you have some advice for people about to embark on the same adventure?
R.H.: Both of our home exchanges to Europe were very positive. We were able to tie in our exchanges with presentations at conferences in these areas and thus defray the cost of airfare as well. My advice is that home exchanges are a great way to get away from the traditional tourist mode and become part of a community; we enjoyed getting to know the neighbors.
Q. You mentioned that you "like the site very much and have shared the address with several of colleagues." What do you like about SabbaticalHomes.com and how did you find out about us?
R.H.: I found the SabbaticalHomes.com website easy to navigate. While the whole idea of home exchanges is a very much an upper middle-class phenomenon, I found an increased sense of security knowing that I would be exchanging homes, and possibly automobiles, with other academics.  

Checking References
A few useful tips

In response to our users' inquiries as to how to check references (and because of the large amount of fraud that exists online), here are some tips we have put together to help you check references before sealing the deal on your home-exchange or rental.
1) One of the easiest ways to get an idea of a person's authenticity is to check his or her email. You can do this through a Google search. If the domain of the email copied and pasted into a search bar shows legitimate results, i.e., an academic institution or popular company, this is a good sign that the person is a valid candidate for consideration. Also, since many scammers will neglect to change their emails, you might be able to see if this particular email address has been known to be fraudulent. (Fraudulent emails are often in popular domains such as yahoo.com or hotmail.com, so look at the specific domains of a university, school, or company as a good sign.)
2) Another form of Google search that you can perform is to type in the person's full name and see what results appear. If the person you are considering for your exchange or rental is an academic, writer, or artist, you can utilize the Google search to find anything that the person may have published.
3) Employer inquiries are another way to check a person's credibility. You may call an employer to get information about a person's work history.
4) Many universities will perform Enrollment Verifications for those asking if a particular person is currently enrolled or was enrolled at one point in their lives at a specific school. The university's Registration Office is your best bet for attaining an Enrollment Verification.
5) Credit Checks are a more difficult but helpful way of getting information on a person's credit history. We are not sure if this option is available outside of the U.S. For credit reports, check out www.experian.com or www.equifax.com.
6) If the person is willing to submit Letters of Recommendation or Reference, make sure that the people writing the letters are legitimate by checking their emails and/or phone numbers. You may use the Google search methods above for this as well.
7) Check SabbaticalHomes.com feedback of previous members who have used our site for home-exchanges, rentals, etc. Please remember, never send any money for deposits until you are completely sure of a person's authenticity. 

Home Exchange Insurance
A new type of insurance

While most home exchanges go off without a hitch, occasionally unforeseen circumstances like illness, travel delays, and lost travel documents can make for a stressful sabbatical. No more!
Now there is travel insurance available that is especially designed for home exchangers residing in Canada and the USA. CHECtravel (Certified Home Exchange Community) with Travel Guard insurance, offers a variety of services for this unique group. The insurance covers such things as trip cancellation (if either the purchaser or his exchange partner cancels) or interruption; trip delays; home exchange damage; delay, loss, theft or damage to baggage, and emergency medical transportation. The TravelAssist feature provides travelers with information on lost travel documents, emergency cash transfers, flight rebooking, and doctor referrals. With its interactive agreement forms, CHECtravel will assist you with concierge service, mediation, and even English-speaking translations.
For additional information, refer to the website at CHECtravel.com. For a fee, you could have some extra peace of mind when planning your sabbatical. Be sure to mention SabbaticalHomes.com with the code (SH) if you decide to take advantage of one of CHECtravel's programs. We want to know how things work out. SabbaticalHomes.com will benefit from a five percent commission.

Summer Preview
Professors Take Vacations too...

SabbaticalHomes.com has set up a special section on its website for summer exchanges. This section makes it easier to search the site for properties available during the summer months.

Notable Members
Who will be next?

We hope you enjoyed reading about our Notable Member Katherine Dolgy Ludwig. Many SabbaticalHomes.com members make significant contributions to the world and we are proud to recognize them. We would like to invite our members to nominate themselves or fellow members by emailing nconger@sabbaticalhomes.com. Some ideas for features include: leading a nonprofit, conducting medical research, developing a documentary, or writing a book. 
Stay Connected
Join the conversation...
Follow us on Twitter  Like us on Facebook  Find us on Pinterest