I am a member of Couchsurfing and I really enjoy hosting travellers from around the world (having only been a guest once so far), so I find the idea of Pasporta Servo fantastic. But without much chances for an immersion until now I am feeling hesitant about being exposed to a new language as a primary means of communication.
So this brings several tightly related questions:
- What level of language proficiency is usually expected of a lodger (to not be labeled a cheapskate)? Of a host (to not be a bore)?
- Do many beginners participate or is one more likely to meet rather experienced speakers?
- Can the safety net of a fall back to English be taken for granted (throughout Europe, if not universally)?
Edit: I should explain that by the 3rd point I did not mean just switching to English but perhaps substituting an English word or phrase where I can not think of its translation quickly enough to complete a sentence. But carrying a handy online dictionary as Stela Besenyei suggests would do away with a need for such fallback :-)