Summary: Italki Reviews
Italki.com is an online language school that provides people all over the world with personalized, one-on-one language instruction. If you are trying to learn a language on your own but need conversational experience that language textbooks can’t provide, the italki app might be the right choice for you.
Our comprehensive italki review will give you a good idea of what you can expect from italki.com.
Through the app’s online teacher marketplace, you can search for instructors in the language you want to learn and find the right one for you. Teachers can be sorted based on which language they teach, how much they charge per lesson and level of experience. Italki.com categorizes its instructors as professional teachers (certified instructors) and community tutors (native speakers). Professional teachers are vetted and must display their credentials on their profile page.
Image Source: Pixabay
Since all language instruction is done through video chatting, www.italki.com takes pride in the convenience of learning through the platform: you canfind an instructor anywhere for any time of day. For those looking for even more foreign language practice, the italki app provides a platform to find free language exchange partners. You can learn a foreign language for free in exchange for teaching your partner your native language over the Internet.
The website’s teacher marketplace does offer reviews to help you make an informed decision when selecting a teacher, but we at AdvisoryHQ aim to give you an exhaustive italki review of functionality, history, values, services, and customer reviews so you can make an informed decision before beginning your foreign language instruction.
How it Works
Italki.com works as a platform to find language instructors based on your required criteria, such as language, price, and availability. Once you choose a teacher and time/date to get started, your lesson takes place over Skype or the video chat software of your choosing. The italki app itself does not contain a platform for video chatting.
The website does provide other interactive features, such as a virtual notebook and forum to post language questions and discussions. The www.italki.com website also requires all of its users to create a profile, like a social media platform.
Payment for language lessons is done through purchasing italki credits (ITC); the exchange rate is currently 10 ITC = $1 USD.
Based in Shanghai with an international team, Italki.com was founded to make language learning a more accessible, less expensive undertaking. The site was launched in 2006.
The founders believe that anyone anywhere should have the opportunity to learn a foreign language, which is where the italki app comes in handy. The “About italki” webpage highlights that teachers and students across the globe need only an Internet connection (and web-linked device) to participate in language exchange.
Teachers for Every Language
Italki.com claims to give users access to teachers of any language they desire. When the company announced that it received a second round of angel funding in 2012, it claimed to at that point have reached more than 900,000 users learning languages in 200 different countries.
While there are indeed many language options to choose from—ranging from Mandarin to Swedish—it’s important to note that, depending on its popularity and market demand, not every language has the same number of instructors available in the italki.com teacher marketplace.
For example, there are over 300 available teachers for Spanish, but you will likely only find one community tutor available if you wish to learn Bengali.
Image Source: Pixabay
No Tuition Costs
While there are free language learning mobile applications available, italki.com (which is solely a web application and does not have a mobile app at the time of this writing) takes pride in providing a marketplace for affordable, interactive language learning experiences. Unlike in-person language courses, there is no large upfront fee—you pay on a per lesson basis.
Many italki app instructors will also offer a 30-minute trial session at a discounted rate. This way, it is easy and cost-effective for users to try out several different language instructors before settling on one to stick with for an extended period of time.
Aside from paid formal and informal language instruction, italki users can also find a language exchange partner. This option is free, and while not quite the same as language tutoring, it does provide experiential language learning (via conversational practice) that isn’t possible without a personal, one-on-one exchange.
“Online lessons are the next best thing to living in a foreign country.”
Italki.com time and again highlights that the best way to learn a language is through verbal communication. A subjective statement, but they stay true to their mission by offering a platform for finding web-based one-on-one language instruction at varied costs.
100% Satisfaction Guarantee
The italki app teacher marketplace lists the following guarantee: “We know that starting lessons is a big step and we want you to feel confident booking with us. We’ll gladly help you find a new teacher and make sure you have a successful first lesson on italki.” Italki users generally seem happy with the plethora of language tutors available; however, experience depends highly on a user’s personal language instruction, and you may have to try out several different instructors before finding the right fit.
Who Can Use Italki?
Anyone with an Internet connection and computer can utilize the italki app. Payment is conducted directly on the www.italki.com website; costs are determined by each individual teacher and can range anywhere from $4/hour to $30/hour.
Italki Language Instructors
For those looking to become instructors on italki.com, the site provides a comprehensive teacher website full of resources, frequently asked questions, and instructions on how to get started and get paid. The italki teachers’ site gives a detailed summary on how the process works from start to finish, including screenshots of the website back-end for students and teachers.
Teachers are given step-by-step instructions on how to set up their italki.com accounts. They are given the option to upload introductory videos so that potential students can get a sense of how they speak before signing up for a lesson. Most do this.
Payment and Policies
Student purchase the virtual currency, italki credits (ITC), before using credits to purchase language lessons. Since there is a processing fee involved in each transaction of italki credits, it is more cost-effective for students to purchase credits in bulk. However, if you are looking to try out italki’s services but are not sure you want to commit to that many language lessons, be warned that you cannot get a refund on already purchased credits. The only option for unused ITC would be to “gift” them to a friend who is also using the italki app.
Users search for teachers by narrowing several criteria:
- Professional teacher or informal community tutor
- Language taught
- Other languages spoken
- Country of origin
- Hourly rate range
- Various specialties (beginners, children/teens, business, test preparation)
- Miscellaneous criteria (native speaker, trial available, audio/video available)
Teacher profiles also offer a lot of information so that users can make an educated decision when searching for an instructor. Students and former students can provide ratings (based on a 5-star system) and personal reviews, and each instructor has their average number of stars listed on their profile. Profiles also list how many students the teacher has taught, total number of lessons taught, various lesson offerings, and their resume. Booking is simple, as there are obvious buttons to “schedule a lesson” or “contact teacher.”
Rates change depending on the teacher as well as the specific service chosen.
For example, professional Spanish teacher Gabriel offers informal tutoring starting at 85 ITC and has Spanish for business lessons for 140 ITC.
Language Exchange Partners
The language exchange partner search platform on italki.com appears quite easy to use. Users narrow their search by selecting which language they’re looking to practice, what language they can help their partner with, their partner’s gender and nationality, and whether they prefer their partner to be a native speaker of the language they’re learning.
English Placement Testing
The website offers its users access to the Oxford Online Placement Test for a fee of 100 italki credits ($10 USD). The test takes about an hour for most users and provides a simple way to demonstrate your understanding of the English language to a new instructor. You can display the results on your italki app profile.
Articles and Notebooks
Italki.com features a blog with articles from language teachers and tutors. The articles cover a vast range of topics regarding language learning, from understanding grammar to giving presentations. Users can also keep a notebook to practice writing in the language they are learning, and native speakers can make comments and corrections on others’ notebook entries.
Discussions and Answers
The answers section on italki.com provides a forum for users to post specific language questions that can be answered by the site’s other users and language tutors. The discussions page offers a forum for users to post articles and discuss topics having to do with their language learning experiences. Italki app users are quite active on both of these sections.
Customer Reviews and Feedback
Other than italki.com itself, there don’t appear to be sites with many reviews of the website concentrated in one place. However, there are many blog posts and articles available independently that provide detailed experiences of italki from both the student and teacher perspectives.
The majority of italki reviews seem to be quite positive about experiences with the website. One italki review cites some of the best ways to make the most of the website, including putting in the time to try out different instructors and language partners.
Another italki reviews lists many of italki’s features as positives, including having different pricing options and many tutor profiles to choose from (for learning Spanish specifically).
The review does also mention to have realistic expectations: “Don’t except much more than conversation practice if you’re only paying $5 an hour.” Several blog reviewers make note of how having to purchase italki credits before purchasing lessons is inconvenient.
Italki.com features a stories page with hundreds of positive testimonies from students and teachers. One student mentions how italki exceeded his expectations, as he assumed that virtual lessons would not live up to in-person tutoring: “My naive skepticism was that I wouldn’t be able to learn through a virtual teaching session as much as I would during a face-to-face tutor session. The reality couldn’t have been further from the truth. I now believe that it’s what you put into the sessions that you get back.”
Others mention being “pleasantly surprised” with their experience and consider italki.com to be “the only realistic option” for learning a new language, since it is completely flexible to your schedule. A few testimonies also mention making good friends through italki.
Italki has even been featured in the Independent as one of the ten best language-learning products.
Is Italki.com Right for You?
Essentially, if you are searching for language instruction from a person and not a quiz-based mobile application or textbook, and you don’t wish to pay the sometimes heavy tuition costs of in-person language courses in your local area, the italki app is likely the right choice for you.
It is important to keep in mind that, while italki.com provides an easy way to search for certain types of instructors, you may have to do a bit (or a lot) of trial-and-error before settling on the right language instructor for you.
Those wishing to simply supplement their independent language learning (via textbooks or mobile apps) can find practice partners through italki’s language exchange partner platform at no cost.
Overall—depending on the language you want to learn—if you are willing to put in the time to find the right tutor or exchange partner for you, it is very likely that you will find good language instruction and practice through the italki app.
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