Just like you, I also struggle to learn Mandarin while living outside China. Long commutes to a local language institute, if there is anyone near you, Chinese tutors also lacking and quite pricey. Since 2020, due to COVID, the situation took a turn for the worse, many language schools have closed and the ones that continue functioning mostly offer online classes at exorbitant prices. To tell you the truth, today’s reality is a bit depressing. Italki came to my rescue. Keep reading and it may become a helpful tool for you as well.
I would like to study but...
I don’t have time… but I’m too busy lately… but why now? Learning a second language is increasingly relevant today, you may want to speak to your in-laws in their native language, dream of applying to that coveted position at your company, or would like travelling to a foreign country without feeling like a complete tourist. I’m sure you have your reasons, the big question is how. How to learn a new language while working, attending college, or taking care of your family?
What is italki?
Created in 2007 by Chinese entrepreneurs Kevin Chen and Yongyue Jiangyin, italki became the go-to language learning platform for millions of students all over the globe, with more than 130 languages available. The most sought-after languages to study are English, Spanish, French and Chinese. There are over 1700 teachers for Chinese alone! The platform has many features, you may find a teacher to take classes with at affordable prices, language partners, a thriving community of language learners, and much more.
Why do I love italki?
The website is very developed and engaging. There is a wide selection of professional teachers at affordable prices (ranging from a few dollars an hour for inexperienced ones to about 40 dollars for the most popular ones). If on a budget, community tutors charge less. They are generally people fluent in the language who are looking for a side job but generally lack a background in teaching Chinese to foreigners, keep in mind that you may get a bigger bang for your buck.
Another great option is sending private messages to users and asking them if are interested in doing a language exchange with you. What is that? For example, meeting for an hour on Skype/Zoom, half of the time you’ll spend teaching English and the other half learning Chinese. How does it sound? Making international friends is also quite easy this way, you’ll also have who to visit in China.
Struggling? Enter the community tab and ask whatever is on your mind!
– Read the teacher’s reviews! No better recommendations than ones from past students.
– Find a tech-proficient tutor. What does that mean? As the class progresses, make sure to work together on a shared file, that way you’ll have notes to revise till the next class.
– Prepare homework. If not asked to, then ask for it, I’m dead serious! Studying online from your home is very convenient, still, you got to exhort some effort, otherwise, you won’t learn much. Practice makes best.
– Build a study plan. Having a concrete goal in mind is essential, it might be anything, could be preparing for the HSK exam, getting ready for a coming interview, or improving your spoken Mandarin.
Reached this far? Thank you! We appreciate your readership!
As you’re already here, if you have a minute to spare, why not post a comment?
I’m sure we haven’t yet heard your point of view! 😊