I know that I’ve mentioned italki a thousand times on my blog, but it bears repeating:
italki is one of the most powerful tools that I’ve used as a language learner.
It’s been a huge part of my language learning since I first registered in July 2013. I’ve visited the site nearly every day, and I credit the connections that I’ve made on italki with a lot of my progress in both Spanish and Tagalog.
I’ve been getting some new readers lately (Hello! Welcome!), so I thought that I might briefly share some of the many benefits of this site for language learners.
Not-so-free resources on italki:
- italki is the best source of online language tutors that I’ve found. I’ve taken well over 100 tutoring sessions since I started learning Spanish (and then Tagalog). I have four scheduled for next week alone. If that’s not an endorsement, then I don’t know what is! Tutors vary in skill, experience and price, but I’ve been extremely satisfied with my experiences so far.
italki regularly hosts challenges for members, encouraging them to complete a certain number of lessons in a set time period. Participants pledge a set amount of credits to participate, and winners get their credits back plus extra credits as a prize.
I love this funny, inspirational italki challenge video by English teacher Brian Foley (who doesn’t seem to be actively teaching right now, but who would probably be very easy to talk to!)
I’ve won two italki challenges so far, and I’m looking forward to the next one. For a pledge of 100 ITC (10 dollars), you can join the October Challenge. Finish 12 lessons during the month, and you win back your 100 ITC plus 200 more!
Free resources on italki:
- You can find a language exchange partner. Search by language, location, even gender, and connect with someone who is interested in trading languages. I’ve met and spoken with partners from Spain, Argentina, Mexico and the United States.
- You can find a penpal. Sometimes schedules just don’t match for language exchanges, but I’ve had several penpals in both Spanish and Tagalog. I write in my target language, then they correct my message and respond in their target language, and so on. This is a great way to start communicating with native speakers if you’re feeling anxious about Skype conversations.
- You can post your writing and have it corrected by native speakers. I go through periods where I post two or three paragraphs per week, and I’ve found that the corrections that I receive are timely and very useful. Writing is great practice, but it’s much more valuable if you have someone to help you reword and correct your work.
- You can ask quick questions in your target language. Not sure if you should use “para” or “por” in a sentence? Not sure what verb tense to use? Not sure how to say “I’d rather not eat liver and lima beans tonight?” in your target language? Just ask, and someone will probably answer.
- You can browse through useful articles (if you’re learning English, Mandarin, French, Spanish, Portuguese, Japanese, Italian or Russian). Articles contain some real gems about grammar, culture, study strategies, and the way that “real people talk”.
I teach a very limited number of French lessons on italki. I’m not actively looking for students right now, but I have written a few articles on italki that might be of interest to you if you’re learning French:
- 10 Tips for Self-Studying French
- Six Good Reasons to Learn French
- Six Tips for Simulating French Immersion Without Leaving Home
- Three Common Structures for Asking Yes-No Questions in French
- French Expressions With “Avoir”
- French Words That You Already Know
- Turning Positives Into Negatives: Present Tense French Negation
If you’re not already a member of italki, then I highly recommend that you check it out!
Note: If you join and purchase credits using this link, you’ll provide me with the equivalent of 30-60 minutes of tutoring at no cost to you. To Be Fluent is a personal, non-commercial blog, and I’m posting about italki because I think that it’s one of the best tools out there for language learners. If you think that you might someday like to try out online tutoring, and if you’d like to support my language learning at the same time, then please consider signing up using the referral link!