If you’re moving to Geneva or will be living here for at least a few months, it’s worth a try to learn or improve your French. Here’s a list of some affordable French courses available (100 CHF or less per month) that I have either tried and liked or that good friends have tried and liked.
1. Group French Classes with Carolina
Carolina is a good friend that has been living in Switzerland for 15 years or so. She’s certified to teach French and uses all of the Alliance Française books (and then some) to teach you grammar and vocabulary. The best thing about her class is the conversations. She has a knack for putting people at ease and getting them to talk! That’s probably the hardest when you’re just past that very beginner phase.
She splits her students up by various levels and usually meets once a week for 3 hours – intense but if you’re busy most days of the week this tends to work for many people – at Uni-Mail (aka the University of Geneva). Class is always complemented by fun outings to restaurant and dinner/wine/fondue/all of the above get-togethers at her place.
If you’re interested in joining her class for just 100 CHF a month, you can contact her at: firstname.lastname@example.org
2. GIA French Classes (for those interning in Geneva)
GIA [jee-ah], the Geneva Interns Association, hosts these great group courses at various levels (A1, A2, B1/B2). They’re taught by University of Geneva students that are studying translation and are native French speakers. I’ve had the pleasure of learning under Estelle, Hélène and Gabriela, all of which have been really lax but precise in their teachings.
The classes are pretty cheap (at 80 CHF per month, although suspended until March 2015 due to PayPal issues) and is definitely another great networking opportunity if you’re interning in the area. They all meet for an hour and a half, twice a week. Someone long ago developed the material for the courses and while it is precise, it is not as personalized as one might want it to be but hey, that’s what you get when you sign up for a group course, right? It’s just something to keep in mind.
For more information, see: GIA’s French classes webpage.
3. Université Populaire de Genève
I have never personally taken any classes at UPG but a friend just started to and is loving it. The French class meets twice a week. The catch is that you have to sign up with them either for their fall or spring semesters in either September or January – but it’s only 50 CHF for a whole semester of classes. You just gotta love Europe for that.
Other [Reportedly] Good Options (Well Above 100 CHF)
1. Ecole Migros – People tend to like this course because it attracts people from all walks of life, not just interns or college students, etc.
2. IFAGE – Also good at preparing people for the DELF test (to have an accreditation of your French level that allows you to work in French Switzerland and other francophone countries).
For Language Exchanges/Partners (FREE)
1. CAGI (Geneva Welcome Center) – I met my current language partner through this service. It took them a while to match me up with someone but I think they really do it with care!
2. Couchsurfing – You don’t need to stay on someone’s couch. Just look through the website to see who’s in the area and willing to do an exchange!
I hope this helps & bonne chance!