I’m a former chemist and now a wife and a mother to two lovely young children. I love to learn new things all the time. With my first two Spanish classes in high school, I decided I wanted to become fluent in Spanish. I took another class in college, but with all my other studies, I didn’t have the time to do much more. Since college, I would periodically attempt Spanish, but would never get very far because I only had a textbook and no one to practice with.
Then, a few months ago, I saw an ad on YouTube of all places for italki. My interest was instantly piqued. I did some research and found rave reviews for italki, especially on Benny Lewis’s language blog “Fluent in 3 Months”. Italki solves the problem that plagues language learners: it gives you a chance to talk to natives in the target language! Excited, I decided to try it out. I bought credits, researched community tutors, scheduled some trial sessions, and anxiously awaited my first lesson. I was quite nervous. I had been practicing grammar and vocabulary for a week or so preceding my first session. My teacher was so nice and patient! She was very friendly and found the perfect balance between encouragement and helpful critique. My brain felt exhausted after listening so hard during my lesson, and I discovered I’d been sweating from all of the nerves and mental effort, but it felt so good too. I wondered how many calories I’d burned from some of the most intense mental exertion I’ve done in a long time. But I loved it!
After a few lessons, I found myself listening “faster,” with the amount of in-my-head-translation cutting back significantly. I continued trial sessions until I found a few teachers I wanted to keep taking from. From there I also began finding fellow-learners interested in doing language exchange and I have likewise found that most helpful and enjoyable. Now, I take two lessons from community tutors and have 3 language exchanges per week. My Spanish is really improving! I’m even feeling confident enough to start teaching it to my children so that they can become bilingual. Since I’m planning on home schooling my kids, I will most definitely be using italki for their language studies! I likewise really enjoy the articles on Spanish I find on the website.
I tell others about italki all the time. When asked what’s new, I tell them about my current Spanish project, explain italki and enthusiastically tell them that if they want to learn a language, italki is the only place to go! Even if you are cash-strapped, you can find killer deals with community tutors or not spend a dime and utilize the language exchange setup. Getting tutored one-on-one over Skype is so effective. It is having your own private teacher for your language studies and one-on-one simply can’t be beat! To me, it seems it’s the only way to learn a language. You can have class when you want, with who you want, at a great price, wherever you are, and you get concentrated time with a native speaker to help you with your problems with the language, rather than getting lost in a class of students at college or trying to get natives in the country of your language to talk to you and give you constructive feedback.
If you even think you might like italki, get started today, as a student or teacher. I love italki! It is going to be a regular part of my life for years to come.
Jessica has been an italki member since September 2015