I’m 41 years old and from the United States. Currently, I’m studying Chinese on Italki. My native language is English, and I know a little bit of Spanish. I presently work 2 jobs, so it was difficult for me to find a school that was suitable for my price range and schedule. When I was learning Spanish, I spent 1 year at home teaching myself, another year at a college in a beginner level course, and finally 1 year at a non-accredited school that tailors programs to whatever your specific needs are. All of these methods I tried have pros and cons. Italki actually a combination of all 3, plus a whole lot more.
Italki provided me with a number of great benefits. I’m able to take language lessons on line through Skype and I can pick what days and times are best for me. Plus there are numerous teachers to choose from to help any level student from the beginner to advanced and the price ranges fit my budget.
The one issue I had was I had never taken an online class before, and I was a little skeptical on paying for online classes. The italki website is filled with content that helped ease my concern. Knowing that I have the option of rescheduling a session or even canceling a session with a teacher without losing my money is awesome. As we all know, something can always happen at the last minute, especially when you are very busy. Italki even gives you the option of disputing a session with an instructor if you are not happy with the class for some reason. Italki has different payment methods and I can purchase as little or as many session as I want to. From my experience, many other learning institutions require you to pay for all or majority of the fees up front.
The tutors all seem to be very nice, patient and understanding. My suggestion is to try a couple of the trial sessions with different teachers to find someone that fits your goals or learning style. Trial sessions are usually 30min in length and gives you a chance to talk with your instructor about your personal goals. If you feel that you can’t afford an instructor or maybe you just don’t need or want a teacher, Italki gives you the option to meet a language partner. Basically, you and your language buddy pick days and times that are good for both of you to practice your language.
Finally, I think that for me, the best part about Italki is the community of people around the world I have a chance to meet. If you’re like me, I often want to learn a new language really fast so that I can travel to a different country and be part of that culture. But there can be other reasons too, such as business or personal fulfillment. Whatever the reason is, learning a language is a journey where half the fun is making new friends along the way. I now have a few friends from China with whom I talk and have been building friendships with. One day I might stop learning or practicing Chinese and forget what I have learned, but the friends I have made so far and what I have learned about them and their culture will stay with me for a long time. Italki provides this service in a great way 24 hours a day, 7 days a week.
Reggie has been a member of italki since July 2013