My name is Brandon, and I am a 20 year old who comes from the beautiful island of Saipan. I grew up in a multicultural environment where the languages vary from Carolinian, Japanese, Chinese, English, to Chamorro. Growing up I was never really interested in learning other people’s culture or language. It was not until I wanted to travel and see the world as I transitioned into my 20s, that I realized that it would mean so much more if I could communicate with other people in their native tongue.
Recently my focus has been on French. I chose French for no particular reason because it was considered easy (compared to other languages), but the truth is far from it. Learning a new language requires a lot of effort and time.
I learned off italki by reading ‘Fluent Forever’ by Gabriel Wyner, and getting suggestions from Benny Lewis’ blog. When I first used italki, I was quite skeptical because it was a paid online service, but I went through multiple reviews of the website and decided to take the plunge! My first italki experience was with a community tutor and it was nerve racking at first because I’d only had a month of studying. However, the teachers were really understanding of my level in my target language. They were always there to help me break down my fear of making mistakes.
Too often we are worried about looking foolish in other people’s eyes, but that is how you learn. Make mistakes, and make a lot of them. I learned that from italki. I also learned how convenient the time schedules can be. You set your own schedule and choose what you would like to talk about. It really brings the language to you. The excuse of not having anyone to speak to in your language no longer exists. There is even a language community where you can meet other individuals who are interested in helping each other.
I highly recommend the use of italki if you do not have immediate access to native speakers, as they also have a great referral program! With italki we use skype and it is awesome because it does not delete your conversations and you can always return and see what you guys ‘typed’ about.
When you first begin to use Italki, I strongly recommend trying various teachers because everyone has a different approach. Find the one you feel most comfortable with, and your learning experience will be a blast as you will look forward to having that session again every week!
Brandon has been a member of italki since October 2015