Quick Italki Review: Is It Really That Good?

October 29, 2020

In this Italki Review, I'm ready to share with you one of my favorite platforms for learning a new language.

I've reviewed many websites in the past, such as Pimsleur, Busuu, FluentU, Transparent Language, and talked about which platform is better (Duolingo Vs Memrise, LingoDeer Vs Duolingo...). They each have their own advantages and disadvantages.

Overall, my conclusion is the same - you can't beat the best language learning system in the world - Human Beings and "Living Word ". So, that's the reason why I like Italki so much. There are no courses or gimmicks to distract you, it focuses completely on connecting you to Human Beings.


Italki Review: What's Italki?

Italki is founded by a group of American and Chinese entrepreneurs in 2007. The company is headquartered in Hong Kong, a development center in Shanghai. Italki is currently one of the largest databases of students and language teachers.

Currently, Italki has about 93,000 users on Facebook. Connecting followers from week to week is measurable in the hundreds. Although it allows connecting people interested in languages and culture, Italki does not have integrated tools for online teaching.

Teachers must use other software programs to communicate with students. Data on lecturers are public within the site, so it is possible to download students and direct them to other educational platforms, which shows that the concept of Italki leaves room for the development of trust in relation to lecturers (partners) and students (clients).


Italki Review: How It works?

Italki works extremely simple. You apply as a student with a desire to learn a new language: German, English, French, Spanish, Chinese, etc. There is somewhere, e.g. in Norway, someone is teaching the language you want to learn.

You can start learning a new language in 3 simple steps:

  1. Choose your teacher - Watch teacher introduction videos and read reviews from other students.
  2. Book your lesson - Only schedule lessons at a time and date that suit you.
  3. Start your journey- Connect with your teacher via video chat software, and let the learning begin!


3 Options For Learning Languages

I have personally used Italki exclusively for paid lessons, but I haven't even paid that much for them. However, it can also work if you are looking not to spend any money at all.


Basically, you have three options to choose from when searching for someone to help you with your learning language:


Professional Lessons

The language lessons option is given only by professional teachers. So, these people have experience in teaching offline/online and have certification as language professionals. You can check that certification since every teacher needs to have them uploaded to the site for verification.

Italki Review

I know, this option can be more expensive, but this way you can be more confident that you'd get a high-quality lesson. So, it's expected from the teacher to guide you through the lessons and adapt to your needs, based on their experience. Obviously, this can vary with the person you have the lesson with.


Informal Tutoring

This option offers you lessons with a tutor. This tutor can be even a native speaker who is willing to help others by teaching the language. You can select that option. Often, tutors on Italki don't have much (or any) experience teaching off Skype, and probably have a day-job unrelated to teaching.

In my opinion, having lessons with a less experienced teacher when you are a beginner as well. These lessons are better options for people who are truly interested in practicing, with someone who will patiently listen and correct their mistakes.

Informal tutoring is usually more affordable than Professional language lessons, especially when you have in mind that it's less likely to follow a lesson format.

In my case, this option is quite fine when I wanted to refresh my Spanish skills. I've got some teaching experience so I can decide to take the role of deciding where the lesson goes. However, I am at the beginning of learning Chinese and it can be very difficult when the teacher keeps asking “So, what do you want to talk about now?” with my currently extremely limited vocabulary.

However, there is another side to the coin. Sometimes can happen that a person who doesn't have a certificate, or experience in teaching, can be an excellent teacher. To be honest, I've found few people on Italki that are way better teachers than those with diplomas. So, the best thing you can do is to try out several from both categories and go with the one(s) you feel is helping you the most


Language Partners (In the ‘Community' tab)

If you can't afford private lessons, this option can be a great solution for you. You can find a language buddy who is a native speaker of the language you want to learn and motivated to patiently listen to you and correct your mistakes. Of course, you would also be a good friend and teach them your native language in exchange.

Italki Review

Since it's free, I'd recommend trying Italki out with the other options until you find the person or people you find is/are definitely helping YOU out. If you end up speaking just in English (presuming that's your native language), then you should consider finding someone else. The search facility makes Italki that extra bit easier to use.


Italki Review: Pros and Cons

Pros Cons
There are large numbers of teachers available even for less common languages. Community features are only available through the app.
You can find skilled teachers even at low prices. You may need to try several tutors before finding one that fits your learning and personality style.
The flexibility to schedule lessons whenever convenient. The huge number of teachers guarantees you’ll find someone to fit your schedule. It’s easy to not take classes as often as you should.
The extra features in the Italki Community make it easy to ask questions, get your writing checked, and find a free language exchange partner.
Quick responses to support requests.


Italki Review: Final Thoughts

Italki really is a very useful tool you’ll find for learning a language and is something that I highly recommend using.

The decision to take classes on Italki will be extremely beneficial for you, regardless of where you live or the language you want to learn.

Also, you don't have to pay for classes since you have the option for language exchange and other free extra community features which are great. But you shouldn't trust me on word, try Italki out for yourself to see if I am right.

I'm sure the platform will continue to improve and expand with time. If you've used it yourself, let me know your thoughts in the comments below!

If this story is too serious for you and is the type of person who loves to use language learning apps which are more fun, Ling App can be a good place to start. Learning a new language with Ling feels like playing a game.

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