I grew up in Southeast Asia with English as my first language. After moving to the States, my mom would sit my brother and I down on the couch and teach us Mandarin on the weekends. I always fussed about learning Mandarin; I acknowledged its importance but then tucked it away as a project for someday.
Years later, I find myself wanting to learn and speak Mandarin. I wanted to find a way to learn at my own pace subject to my crazy schedule without having to be in a formal classroom. The motivation this time around is different, as I’d like to better connect with my culture and have fluid, meaningful conversations with family friends. I googled “language learning online” and italki (thankfully!) came up. I also read blogs about language learning and italki was recommended by plenty so I was pretty confident it could be something good.
Italki has always been a good experience for me because of my language teacher. I wasn’t sure what to expect but figured a trial lesson would be enough to help me figure out whether italki would be something I’d regular use. My teacher is easy going and really caters every lesson to help me improve my general fluency. I tell my friends often that I practice Mandarin with someone through Skype, explaining I think it’s even better that my teacher is across the world. In some ways, it’s somewhat of a cultural experience to relate to someone in a completely different timezone.
There’s little reason to not try italki. Every experience for me has been a positive one and I always look forward to each lesson. It’s been easy and straightforward, and italki bridges gaps between cultures through language exchange. To anyone who is unsure about learning, just start and see what happens – you’d be surprised what you’ll learn about yourself, another culture, or how fast you can improve your language skills in a couple weeks.
Daphne has been a member of italki since January 2016