Mary and Ai both love teaching but are beginning to learn how enriching and fun it can be to suddenly become students through barter. When Ai offered Mary the Japanese lessons she had listed on her WishList, Mary almost passed it up. She didn't think she had anything to offer in exchange and couldn't afford to pay for the lessons in cash.
"I was about to say no thanks, until I checked out her profile and noticed she was interested in art lessons," says Mary.
Ai teaches Japanese professionally and often uses images as visual aides in her lessons. Now Mary is teaching Ai how to draw so she can create these examples for her students and illustrate her own book some day. In return, Ai is teaching Mary how to speak and read Japanese so Mary can navigate websites, read books and eventually be fluent.
But the best part of this long-term arrangement, according to Mary, is that the lessons are tailor-made to the students. With both swappers leading busy lives, they're able to exchange customized one-on-one classes at their own pace with the focus aimed at their individual tastes. For instance, their last meeting focused on sketching versus line work, various inking tools and Japanese grammar.
"It's definitely more interactive than following a book on our own," says Mary. "Because having some accountability to the other person means it sort of kicks your butt to actually practice and study!"
While Mary has only made one swap so far on Swapsity, she already has one piece of valuable advice. "Don't be quick to turn down an offer and turn the other person away," she says. "In other words, don't be quick to assume the other person doesn't have anything you want and vice versa!"