My name is Joshua, my home in the States is Philadelphia, Pennsylvania but my family and I are currently living in Beirut, Lebanon. Two years ago, we moved to Lebanon for the main purpose of immersing ourselves in learning the Arabic Language and Culture. Obviously, not everyone has the opportunity to pack up and move to another country to learn a new language but in God’s plan and provision we’ve been able to do so and it has been wonderful.
For these past two years, my wife and I have been taking one-on-one lessons from a professional Arabic teacher who teaches us in our own home. At this point in my learning I have gone through all of the grammar in the spoken Levantine dialect of Arabic and my greatest need now is practicing speaking on a more regular basis and also to keep building my vocabulary. There have been many opportunities to go out and speak with people in everyday life but I wasn’t finding many opportunities to really converse with people on a wide variety of subjects like I wanted to. So, one day, as I was reading an article about language learning on the website Fluentin3Months.com I came across the author’s recommendation to visit and try italki.com to connect with teachers, tutors, and other language learners who can help you improve your language abilities.
I joined the site, eventually bought some italki credits, found a tutor who is a native speaker of the Levantine dialect of Arabic, and scheduled my first lesson. Honestly, I was a little nervous about talking with someone whom I had never met before but that nervousness was quickly dissolved as I found my tutor to be very helpful, knowledgeable, and understanding of where I was and what needs I had as a student. Since my first session, I have also used one other tutor who seems to be a better fit for me and in the coming weeks and months I plan to also try some new tutors as well.
italki has helped me with my speaking abilities because I am able to plan times of conversation with native speakers by actually scheduling it into my week whereas before my desire would be to converse with people but often it would not happen for whatever reason. Also, italki has given me the opportunity to converse with native speakers not just on everyday topics, like weather or personal wellness, but on deeper more substantial topics which cover a wide variety of subjects. It’s hard to go up to someone on the street, who you don’t know, and say to him “let’s talk on the subject of gambling” or “let’s talk about the subject of Literature and Poetry” but with italki, you can do just that! Italki makes it easy to converse with native speakers on whatever topics you’re interested in because the teachers and tutors are there to help you in whatever ways you need. So far, italki has been a wonderful help to me in improving my conversational skills in Levantine Arabic. Right now I am taking about one lesson per week, I would take more but as of now we are also continuing our lessons with our Arabic teacher here in Lebanon
As my family and I transition from Lebanon to America again, we undoubtedly will be taking advantage of italki on a more regular basis. Arabic is a very unique language to learn with many different spoken dialects and not to mention Modern Standard Arabic (MSA). One of my fears, before joining italki, was if I could find a teacher or tutor who spoke the Levantine dialect which I was wanting to improve in. After looking, it wasn’t long before I found a number of teachers who spoke the Levantine dialect. In the future, I look forward to branching out and trying to converse with native speakers from other Arabic countries and different dialects. Thankfully, italki affords this opportunity!
One of the great things about italki, is that there are many professional teachers, and personal tutors to choose from who can meet whatever learning needs you might have and if you don’t want to spend any money there is also a large community of language partners which you can connect with for free and share languages together. I haven’t been a member for a long time yet, but already, I love italki! One reason being, because italki affords you the ability to connect with native speakers, from anywhere in the world, who speak the language you are learning. Before the age of the internet, this concept would be very difficult if not impossible to accomplish but in our day of technological advancement we have an amazing opportunity before us to connect with people from all over the world who live in different cultures, think in different ways, and speak different languages; as language learners may we take advantage of this amazing opportunity!
If you’re reluctant to join and try italki, I encourage you to lay your nervousness or fear aside, you won’t regret it! Don’t pass up this unique opportunity to learn from native speakers, one-on-one, face-to-face. This opportunity used to only be available to those who could move to a different country or perhaps lived in a large city with various cultures but it is now made available to everyone! We have no excuses, it so easy! Give italki a try and you won’t be disappointed!
Personally, I see myself using italki for many, many years to come. As my family and I plan to move back to the States italki will play a vital role in helping us keep our fluency in Levantine Arabic and also help us improve more and more everyday.
Joshua has been a member of italki since September 2015