I have a very strong passion for learning foreign languages. While I was in college pursing a minor in Chinese, I decided to Google websites that would allow me to communicate with native Mandarin speakers, because I wanted to find an online community in which I could practice my reading and writing skills.
When I stumbled upon italki, I decided it wouldn’t hurt to sign up. I instantly began connecting with Chinese language partners who communicated with me in written form and encouraged me to persevere when I made mistakes.
Within a short period of time, I was logging onto italki on a daily basis, because my Mandarin was rapidly improving. I eventually started using Skype to practice oral communication and I often posted notebook entries in Mandarin (for italki users to correct) and grammar questions pertaining to the language (for italki users to explain). I always received very clear feedback and answers.
About a year later, I decided to take the next step and teach English online as an informal tutor. I was excited to be able to talk with and teach people from all over the world. I found it fascinating to share the similarities and differences between our cultures.
I wanted to share English tips with more than just my students, so I decided to write my first italki article entitled “Job Interviews in English: The Secret to Success”. One day, an Italian student sent me a message saying he liked my article so much that he wanted to take a lesson from me to prepare for his upcoming interview. A couple months later, he conducted his interview in English and was admitted into the Italian air force!
After another year passed, I was prompted to become a professional teacher on italki, because I was very interested in having the ability to customize my own English classes. As a teacher, I loved having the flexibility to set my own hours and length of sessions when I taught English. I earned enough supplemental income through italki to travel the world!
Finally, I decided to become an italki student, because I wanted to participate in the 2014 World Cup Language Challenge. I found several professional Chinese teachers to help me with my goal of passing the HSK 4 test. They often provided me with various language learning websites and supplementary materials to further my studies. I learned much more during this challenge than I had anticipated, such as common phrases used throughout China during holiday celebrations and various customs and habits of the people.
What’s the best part about italki? I made a real friend! Seven and I met through italki. We’ve now connected through Skype, QQ, We Chat, Gmail, and postal mail. We are language buddies that continually communicate via Internet to practice our Chinese and English. We love to share common phrases and idioms, pictures of food from our hometowns, and show off our latest purchases when we Skype. I’ve received postcards from the countries Seven has recently visited (Shanghai, China, Korea, Italy, and Germany). We can’t wait to meet in person some day!
Who knew language learning could be this rewarding and this much fun?
I highly recommend italki to anyone interested in pursuing a language through the Internet. Italki is an educational tool that has influenced the way I learn a language. I feel I have really made a difference in my students’ lives by teaching English. I’ve also made many memories and experienced more than I thought possible. italki has shown me that learning a foreign language is not impossible.
Jasmine as been a member of italki since June 2012