My Experience Taking Language Lessons on italki

Walter Freiberg
4 min readSep 21, 2023

Between January 2020 and September 2022, I took a total of 162 classes on italki, diving into languages such as German, Italian, Portuguese, and English. During this period, I interacted with 34 different instructors, although most of my lessons were with just 11 of these professionals. In this blog post, I’ll delve into my italki experience, offering insights for anyone considering the platform for language learning. Whether you’re a beginner or looking to refine your language skills, I think you’ll find it helpful.

Language Breakdown

  • German: 54 classes from April 2020 to September 2022
  • Italian: 81 classes from January 2020 to January 2022
  • Portuguese: 15 classes from June 2022 to September 2022
  • English: 12 classes from April 2020 to May 2021

The majority of my lessons were geared towards conversation practice in various languages, including German, Italian, and Portuguese. This focus on conversation allowed me to gain practical skills and become comfortable interacting in different linguistic settings.

What is italki?

As I explained in my Spanish blog post, italki is a website that serves as a bridge between language tutors and students. Since 2020, it’s been my primary platform for honing my language skills with skilled instructors. The platform’s variety in teaching styles and price ranges is one of its most appealing features.

Here’s a link to my student profile on the platform: https://www.italki.com/user/986705

The platform provides two types of educators: Community Tutors and Professional Teachers, giving students a wide range of options. The filtering system is also quite robust. I often filter tutors using keywords related to my interests, making the learning experience much more personalized and enjoyable.

Types of Teachers

On italki you can find two categories of language educators: Community Tutors and Professional Teachers. I often prefer Community Tutors for conversation practice because their teaching style often aligns with my preference for informal, relaxed lessons. However, for more specialized needs like preparing for the Goethe-Zertifikat C1 exam in mid 2022, I opted for a Professional Teacher.

From my experience, the distinction between Community Tutors and Professional Teachers doesn’t say much about the teaching quality. I’ve found both to offer excellent teaching services, but their approaches can differ, providing a nuanced learning experience depending on your goals and needs.

Conversation Lessons, Accent Training & Exam Preparation

I usually start conversation lessons when I reach an intermediate level in a language. As a rule of thumb, I find it useful to have achieved a certain level of confidence in a language before engaging in conversation. During these sessions, I focus on receiving feedback on pronunciation, grammar, and word choice. While preparing for exams, however, I make sure to work with Professional Teachers who are familiar with the test format and guidelines.

Like I mentioned in my Spanish blog post, conversation lessons provide a safe environment to gain “flight hours” in speaking. They allow me to work on my oral skills and get tailored feedback. Depending on the teacher, this feedback can come during the lesson or as a summary at the end, which works nicely for different learning preferences.

On one occasion, I got accent training from a Professional Teacher to work on my American English accent. These lessons focused mostly on accent reduction to get closer to a native-like sound (something I usually strive for, when learning a foreign language). I got to know my first accent coach here, and had a fantastic experience.

How I Find Teachers on the Platform

When it comes to selecting tutors, I tend to use keywords related to my personal interests-such as “vegan,” “meditation,” or “piano”-to find a good match. I don’t think this is an absolute must, but it’s always nice to have common conversation topics with a person you’re going to spend quite a few hours speaking with. italki allows students to filter tutors based on country, time zone, and other criteria, making it easier to find the perfect fit for your learning journey.

You can also find tutors by using other filters like price range and availability, giving you the flexibility to schedule lessons around your existing commitments. I generally opt for tutors who match not just my learning objectives, but also my schedule and budget.

Key Takeaways

  • Diversity of Teachers: The platform’s range of tutors and teachers ensures you’ll find someone who matches your learning style and objectives.
  • Flexible Scheduling: Scheduling lessons is easy and adaptable to your lifestyle.
  • Quality Assurance: The consistent quality of teaching across both Community Tutors and Professional Teachers ensures a strong return on investment.
  • Payment Ease: italki handles all payments, streamlining the process for both students and instructors.

Flexible scheduling works really well for busy professionals or for those who juggle multiple commitments. The intermediary role played by italki in handling payments also means that you don’t have to navigate the often cumbersome international money transfer systems or lesson cancellations.

Conclusion

My journey with italki has significantly boosted my language proficiency and conversational confidence in multiple languages. Whether you’re a beginner or aiming to polish your existing skills, I highly recommend exploring what italki has to offer. If you’re interested in trying out italki, here’s a referral link that gives you a $10 bonus for your first set of lessons.

Next year, I plan to resume my italki adventures, this time diving into Thai classes. Stay tuned for more updates! 😊

Originally published at https://www.walterfreiberg.com.

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Walter Freiberg

Language coach - I learn things and I help others how to learn better — walterfreiberg.com