Becoming conversational with italki

Ken Grauer, MD got interested in the study of foreign languages while doing part of his post-university training in French-speaking Switzerland. Ken is learning French, Spanish, Italian, Portuguese, and Hebrew. He has been an italki member since July 2016.

Ken Grauer, MD

What motivates you to study a foreign language?

I did part of my post-university training in French-speaking Switzerland. Ever since, I have been interested (and motivated) in the study of foreign languages. I listen to CDs, podcasts, etc., all the time — but I lack day-to-day exposure with native speakers — which is what attracted me to italki.


What is the role of online speaking lessons in your language learning process?

My language learning had stagnated — because I just wasn’t able to practice with native speakers. I only rarely got to practice speaking the languages I was learning.


What advice would you give to people who want to learn a new language?

Start with learning a single language so as not to confuse yourself. Be regular in your efforts! Ideally, study (even if for no more than a few minutes) each and every day. Look for multiple ways to reinforce your learning program (ie, listening to radio, CDs or podcasts; viewing TV or video; reading newspapers or internet material; writing out what you study, as well as communicating via email or internet with your foreign friends) — and, practice speaking the language you are learning at every opportunity!


What is the biggest benefit you get from italki?

I get to converse with native speakers from anywhere in the world on a regular basis at an affordable price! Using Skype is the next-best thing to being there in person. These wonderful italki instructors soon become good friends that I look forward to seeing at my next session. Knowing when my next lesson is approaching is the best motivation for me in my study — and I am able to see immediate and ongoing improvement in my comprehension and conversation abilities.


Please share a story about something that happened for you because of italki:

My language studies have taken on new meaning — my motivation for study has been greatly enhanced — and my confidence increased, because I finally know that I CAN attain the degree of conversational comfort in the languages I am studying thanks to italki.