I started using italki in the latter part of this year because I was interested in keeping up my Spanish and learning Portuguese. Living in the United States, it’s sometimes hard to find people willing to speak with you in their native language since English is the dominant language here. If they speak another language, they usually come here to practice English. italki was perfect for me in this regard because I could find people who wanted to practice English and were willing to help me learn their native language too.
At first, I struggled to find people who wanted to speak with me, but gradually I started finding people who I could do an English language exchange with. One of the things that has helped was correcting other language learners’ English notebook entries and introducing myself to them. I would say that I was interested in learning their language in exchange for helping them with English and almost everyone agreed. We normally practice over Skype for 30 minutes in English and 30 minutes in their native language.
I also have bought italki credits to speak with professional language instructors and this has been a nice way to rapidly improve my language skills. It is a nice balance as I am speaking with people my age in other countries as if we were having a normal conversation as well as learning from professional instructors.
I would definitely recommend using italki for language learning. To me, it embodies the essence of why the majority of people learn a language: to be able to speak with the people who use the language on a day-to-day basis.
What better way than to actually practice speaking with natives? It’s so much better than completing fill in the blank exercises out of grammar books.
I’m excited to see the new developments of italki and to watch my language skills grow in 2014!
Andrew Case joined italki in October 2013.