• Brillantmont
  • British School of Geneva
  • Collège du Léman
  • GEMS World Academy Switzerland

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A new initiative, called Trade School Geneva, will launch in Geneva next month, allowing students to barter with teachers for classes, which they may not otherwise be inclined to attend or able to afford.

Providing an experimental and innovative learning space, Trade School Geneva, will enable students to sign up for a class by agreeing to meet the barter requests of teachers.  So a teacher offering a class on how to make butter, for example, may request anything from cookies and tea, through to household items or clothes, or even theater tickets. In many cases, the teachers ask for nothing more than a smile or a hug!

To mark the opening of this non-traditional learning initiative, Trade School Geneva will hold a launch party this evening at the Café Gavroche in Geneva.  Everyone is welcome to come along and join the co-creators for a drink and some snacks, and find out more about this unique concept to arrive in Switzerland!

44 classes have now been scheduled throughout the launch month of April, and can be viewed on the Trade School Geneva website at www.tradeschool.coop/geneva. Each class includes a short description about the lesson being offered as well as the venue and time, some details about the teacher, and suggestions on what you can bring to the class in exchange for attending the lesson.

Once you have identified a class that interests you, just click on the Join button and fill in your details, remembering to indicate which of the items you are able to bring. Registration is essential as many classes will fill up very quickly – indeed some of the more popular classes are already full. At the time of writing, close to 300 students have already registered for classes throught the school.

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To give you an idea of the diverse range of classes on offer, students can choose from subjects such as cooking, marketing, writing, photography, graphic design, dance and yoga.  In many cases, course titles are very specific and vary from “Creative iphone photography” through to “Backpacking in Central & South America” and “What is Artificial Intelligence?”  Some lessons are delivered in English, others in French – the titles will usually indicate the language of instruction.

Whilst most of the classes will be held at the L’Espace de Quartier Secheron  in Geneva, many will also be hosted at other venues kindly bartered by local organizations such as the Université de Genève / Uni Mail, the AOM YOGA Studio, and the UAC Eaux Vives Champel.

The Trade School network is made up of self-organized, barter-for-knowledge schools across the world. It started in 2010 with a small group of friends in New York and spread to Virginia and Milan in 2011. In 2012, the organization built a new web platform so that it could share its experience with organizers worldwide. Trade School Geneva is the first of its kind to be launched in Switzerland.

The initiator and co-founder, Narmada Ramakrishna told us, “I was inspired to start Trade School Geneva because I saw immense potential in the people of Geneva wanting to learn, mingle and express themselves. Unfortuntely, living in a city rated under the top five most expensive cities in the world, this concept of coming together and learning comes with scary numbers attached to it. I wanted to remove this barrier and promote inclusiveness within the community: that's why our slogan is - Knowledge BY the community FOR the community. I personally am very involved in the Share economy initiatives happening around the world, especially Berlin and Paris, hence see the same spirit rapidly spreading in Geneva too."

She added, "The Trade School Geneva concept has been designed for people who value hands-on knowledge, mutual respect, and the social nature of exchange.  It is run entirely by dedicated and committed Co-Creators, who want to shape the world they live in, and who are energized with a passion for knowledge and community. When you get involved with Trade School Geneva you are not just a volunteer or organizer: you influence, create and shape the initiative as your own - you "co-create". We hope the knowitall.ch community will join us in making this new Trade School in Geneva a huge success, hopefully the first of many to take place in Switzerland!”

According to Narmada, the plan is to complete the launch month, re-boot, learn and re-launch accepting classes in new venues starting again in June/ July. Look out for more details on the Trade School Geneva website and Facebook page.

Geneva Trade School
Facebook: Trade School Geneva

Launch party:
Café Gavroche
4 Boulevard James-Fazy,
1201 Geneva
Thursday, 27 March, at 8pm.