My name is Joan and I’m 51 years old, I am married with one son who is 12. I am English; born in a city called Liverpool in the North of England. I have lived in Hong Kong for four years I came here with my husband whose job brought us here. I am a registered nurse, working at a hospital on Victoria Peak. At the hospital where I work the nurses and some of the patients all speak Cantonese.
As I was struggling to learn Cantonese, I was surfing the Internet to see how I could advance with my learning. I came across a person who can speak many languages called Olly Richardson; in his blog he talked about a site called italki that had been of help to him. I contacted Olly and he gave me two Cantonese teacher recommendations on italki.
My first learning experience on italki was a little bit scary, as I did not know what to expect and also was a bit anxious that my computer would let me down.
The benefits of italki for me are:
I do not have to leave the house and travel for a lesson, this saves time and money with travel,
I can use my computer at my desk, in peace and quiet with my paper and pens comfortably around me,
I do audio Skype only and so I don’t have to worry about how I look,
I can schedule the sessions at times that suit me,
I feel free to ask the teacher any questions without group pressure and the fear that I might look stupid,
I feel that I can concentrate on my personal language needs that are nursing related.
My skepticism was related to finding a tutor who would be flexible and encouraging but this was quickly erased after my first session when I could see that the tutor was hard working and very encouraging and understanding. I was really impressed at how the teacher went out of her way to translate documents that I have to work with and then set about helping me learn the words that I need in my job.
Skype seems a very effective way to learn, as it is very clear and allows the tutor to type whilst you talk and also to send documents. I really feel that this method of learning is enabling me to make progress, however I have only used italki for 4 weeks and will be interested to see where it takes me in 6 months time.
Italki / Youtalki – the benefits are monumental!
Joan has been a member of italki since November 2015