I am a native English speaker. Having lived in Belgium for 15 years, I already speak reasonable French and Dutch. I am a musician and I like to travel, and a while ago I made some friends in Italy. I had gone to Rome for the first time, and my friends threw a great party for me. The party was in a dance studio and we played music and hung out until about 5am. That weekend I really fell in love with the warmth and openness of Italian people, but it was quite frustrating that there were so many people with whom I wanted to talk to, but couldn’t.
For me the sound of a language is also important, and I really like the expressive sound of Italian. So I resolved to learn the language. When I came back I took the same approach that I had done in learning Dutch many years ago – I just learned a lot of vocabulary. I also used some online stuff like Duolingo.
But after a while I lost interest, and the second time I went to Rome, again a while back, I still couldn’t speak although I could understand a little bit.
That’s where italki came in. I realized I absolutely had to practice speaking. Because I am not living in Italy, I couldn’t speak fluently unless I actively found a way to actually speak the language regularly. That meant finding someone that speaks Italian as a native speaker. Who? I knew people, but it would be a lot to ask as many hours would be required.
Then, I learned about italki from a language learning blog and checked it out. I found Chiara, my teacher there. She’s really good, she makes me work hard (that’s a good thing) and she really makes sure my pronunciation and grammar are correct. We have one hour a week, but we get through a lot in that time. She provides all the material in advance, and I do put in the hours, studying grammar, dialogues, flashcards and all of that. The lessons are really fun and sometimes we end up laughing a lot at some silly mistakes that come out. However, the great thing is that I am learning really fast. And also, it really isn’t that expensive. The italki system makes the scheduling and payment very easy too.
Later on, when I reach a certain level, I could also use italki to find someone to do a language exchange with, where they could practice English and I my Italian. But for now, I am really happy with how my studying is going. Learning a new language is just a great thing to do for its own sake.
So, yes, I am very happy with how it is going!
Daniel has been a member of italki since February 2016.