Italki is arguably the most popular language-learning resource online used by learners of all languages under the sun, so an italki review only seems reasonable! Like Verbling, italki provides its users the opportunity to practice speaking the language they’re learning with real live native speakers, regardless of geography.
From a social network for language learners in 2006 to the world’s most popular platform to find foreign language teachers, let’s dive into this italki review and see what the italki experience is like.
Finding your italki teacher
Italki boasts hosting native speakers of any and all languages you could be learning. Because there are so many italki teachers available to you, the site helps you narrow down your search, so you’re not sifting through all kinds of italki teachers that you don’t actually have any interest or need in setting up a conversation with.
That being said, your italki teacher search can and should be incredibly specific if you can make those decisions for yourself. This will really narrow down the number of choices you have to make.
So, for example, when I’m searching for an italki teacher to practice Spanish with, I’ll always choose Spain in this first category. Most of my experience communicating in Spanish is from living in Spain, so I have a hard time understanding accents from any other countries.
Though you do have a plethora of options to narrow down your search, my personal sticking point is that you can’t easily search by gender.
Hopefully, you’ll notice that one of those categories is “price”. Your italki price depends entirely upon the teacher that you choose. If, for example, you’re searching around for italki Spanish lessons, and you choose an italki tutor that’s from Spain (like I do), your italki cost is going to be just a bit pricier than if you’re learning from someone based in a Latin American country.
This is also the difference between an italki community tutor and professional teachers – because professional teachers are more experienced and likely have some sort of degrees or certification, you’ll pay a premium.
Fortunately, if you’re just testing the water, you do have 3 free trials to spend. Free trials are 30-minute lessons that must be used with different teachers. Not all teachers offer these trial lessons, but it makes it just a bit easier to try out using italki for the first time.
Choosing your italki teacher
After you’ve narrowed your search for an italki teacher, it’s time to do some deeper research. Each italki teacher offers a ton of information: an intro video, About Me, calendar, statistics, reviews, any packages they offer (like specific test prep, for example), and more.
Suffice it to say, all the information any reasonable language learner would need to make an educated decision.
And if you have any further questions, you can easily send your potential teacher an email, no pressure.
The italki lesson experience
Once you’ve gone through all these options and decided who you want to try out, you’ll go through a few steps. The italki platform does this all pretty well and very smoothly, in my opinion. Everything is very clear and to the point.
As you can see above, you’re already given a preview of your italki teacher’s availability on their page. And yes, this availability is presented in your time zone, so you don’t have to do any gymnastics to find a teacher that matches up with your schedule.
Once you’ve made an actual decision regarding who you want to learn from, you’ll get access to their calendar and be able to make a selection based on their open slots. If you’ve opted for a trial lesson, you’ll be able to select a 30-minute slot, and if you’re making a request within 24 hours, you won’t be able to cancel or reschedule your lesson after your teacher accepts it.
Then, once you choose a time, you’ll be able to choose your communication tool. Italki offers 3 options for you to host your lesson:
- italki Classroom
If you choose the italki Classroom (which I honestly recommend* – it runs well, and you don’t have to worry about tech issues/passwords), you’ll be granted access once your teacher accepts your lesson.
*it is worth noting that my experience using the italki Classroom is limited, and my teacher stated the platform isn’t as good as just using Skype or Zoom.
Then, like any lesson with a language teacher, you’ll be able to make full use of whichever platform you choose – talk to your teacher via the video chat, get corrections in the chatbox, or follow along if your teacher shares their screen to walk you through an activity.
italki language partner & other perks
Besides being able to pay to talk to native speakers of the language you’re learning, italki has also expanded to offer a few other perks. If you head to the Community tab on the upper right-hand side, you’ll see your options.
Articles are written by italki tutors, and you can specify which language you want to be reading in. Notebooks, on the other hand, are written by your fellow language learners, and you have the opportunity to both review others’ content and post your own practice and potentially have it reviewed by someone else.
You can see the option to listen to a recording, participate in a quiz, and answer a question, all of which can be great ways to engage in your target language.
italki review: group classes
Usually language learners seek out italki for private lessons, but some learners can try out italki’s group classes as well. It’s not nearly as popular on this platform, so you’ll have fewer options, but it’s still an opportunity you may want to take advantage of.
As of the date on the bottom of this post, group classes are only an option for learners of English, Spanish, and Japanese. To be honest, though, I’d be more inclined to use Lingoda for group English and Spanish lessons, as that’s Lingoda’s bread and butter.
But if you’re more interested in one-off group lessons, every bit of exposure to the language helps.
italki review: alternatives
If this italki review just proves that you’re looking for something else, there are also a few italki alternatives you might also consider. There aren’t many other major platforms like italki, especially considering the sheer number of languages available.
For websites like italki that also host a variety of languages, you might consider Verbling, which is very closely related – the biggest difference is that Verbling does not support as many languages. HelloTalk is a free option if finding a professional teacher isn’t important to you.
And if you’re looking for one language in particular, that may help narrow down your search. BaseLang, for example, is a potential option for Spanish language learners who are open to a more intensive commitment..
italki review: in conclusion
This italki review proves that the platform has a lot to offer any language learner. There’s a reason it’s the go-to for most of us in the language learning community. Conversations with natives in almost any language you could think of are easy to find with just an internet connection; it doesn’t get much simpler than that!
Ready to give italki a try? Click here to get $10 in free italki credits!