So, first of all we would like to thank everyone of you who have joined italki’s 2015 New Year’s Language Challenge. Whatever your reasons of learning languages, we hope that by doing this challenge you will have a consistent language learning habit throughout 2015!

Here are some of the best videos that we received for this challenge:

Josie from England/Sweden, and is part of our service team completed italki’s 2015 New Year Language Challenge

 I want to take this challenge because it will push me to actually study and to be persistent. I get very frustrated that I cannot communicate with the locals, and so taking part in this challenge will help me overcome that barrier.”  Her goal is to be able to talk with the Chinese person in the office about their interest and hobbies

Here is the public video pledge that she made before the challenge

And here is the video after challenge

Søren a.k.a. Koko The Polyglot from United States successfully completed the challenge:

He took German and Catalan for this time!

Soren is an awesome language learner as you can see how he improved during the short period of time, and this is also his third time joining italki’s language challenge! Below is the video of how he improved his German and Catalan!

Soren posted a public video pledge when he began the challenge

Soren’s after the challenge video

Cassie from Australia has successfully completed italki’s New Year’s Language Challenge

She took French for 23 hours during the last 6 weeks!

Cassie actually have learned French for 12 months as an exchange students. However, she didn’t get much experience to speak the language.

She posted her public video pledge before she started the challenge

Cassie’s awesome improvement video after 6 weeks and 23 hours of French

Benjamin Bruce from United States has successfully completed the 2015 italki’s 2015 New Year’s Language Challenge

He took Korean lesson for the last 6 weeks

Since his place is almost like a Korean town, as a language enthusiast learning Korean is one of his goal. But, for this challenge he set a higher bar, not only for the basic of the language, but also being able to understand and to have a casual conversation in Korean

A public video pledge that Benjamin posted before he started the challange

Below is the result after 6 weeks of Korean

Helga Gvovdeva From Russia completed the italki’s 2015 New Year’s Language Challange

She committed to take at least 3 courses per week. Moreover, she also took classes for Spanish, Italian, and Japanese. Even greater, she didn’t even know anything for Japanese!

Below is her public video pledge before the  challenge

Below is after the challenge

She said that after the challenge she felt much more confident, and in her opinion she should not be afraid to make mistakes.

We are totally agree that mistakes are something that everybody make. So, nothing to be afraid of! (more…)

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If you’re having a hard time learning just one foreign language, take a break and watch this video. We were so impressed with this video italki student Sylin made of herself speaking 33 languages as an encouragement to language learners worldwide to try online learning! Congratulations (to her and, to all of her italki teachers)!

Here is a list of all the languages she speaks. The numbers are the time in the video where you can find each language. Can you find yours?

1. Urdu: 0:00
2. German: 1:17
3. Polish: 3:00
4. Hindi: 4:45
5. Punjabi: 6:30
6. Tamil: 7:00
7. Telugu: 8:00
8. Gujarati: 10:10
9. Hungarian: 10:40
10. Hebrew: 11:50
11. Bulgarian: 12:30
12. Czech: 14:20
13. Romanian: 15:30
14. Italian: 17:40
15. Turkish 19:55
16. Greek: 20:50
17. Brazilian Portuguese: 22:50
18. Spanish: 25:05
19. Quechua: 29:00
20. Russian: 31:06
21. Dutch: 33:40
22. Norwegian: 34:50
23. Swedish: 34:50
24. Swahili: 36:35
25. Arabic: 37:40
26. Indonesian: 39:00
27. Japanese: 41:10
28. Khmer: 41:35
29. Cantonese: 43:40
30. Mandarin: 45:35
31. French: 50:10
32. English: 52:00
33. Farsi: 57:30

Do you have a success story to share? Check out our italki stories for inspiring, real stories and hopefully write one yourself!

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I finished the 2015 New Year’s Language Challenge! 20 hours of Mandarin in 6 weeks!

Completing the Challenge was definitely harder than I thought it would be, but I am so glad that I kept going. After my very last session, I was very happy and couldn’t believe how much I had learned! 20 hours is a lot, especially if you are as bad at planning as I am… but I am so glad that I kept going. Keeping track of my weekly goals was especially helpful, as it helped me see which areas needed most improvement.

One thing that I wanted to do was to see how much my Mandarin has improved. I had made a Public Video Pledge where I spoke some Mandarin at the beginning of the Challenge and as I was making my final video, I decided to edit in my Before Video and found a noticeable difference!

Watch below and judge for yourself!


Join me by making your very own AFTER video!

If you won the Challenge and previously sent into to us your Before video, here’s your chance to show off your Challenge achievements in a video. Not only that, but we’ll be rewarding you with an additional 50 ITC! 

Here are some ideas of what you can include in your video:

Show off your improvement in the language you were learning

  • Introduce yourself and tell us what language(s) you were learning for the Challenge
  • Tell us about your italki teacher(s). What did you like about them?
  • What did you learn about learning a new language after completing the Challenge?
  • Do you have any advice for people who are thinking of taking the Challenge in the future?

Label the video: “(italki username) completed the 2015 italki New Year’s Language Challenge!”

Write a Notebook Entry “I completed the 2015 italki New Year’s Language Challenge” and paste the YouTube/Youku URL.

Send the link to your notebook entry to support(at)italki.com and we will send you a 50 ITC voucher straight away!

I personally just wanted to thank each and every one of you for helping us create a wonderful language learning community.  If you didn’t manage to complete the Challenge then don’t worry, there will be plenty of more opportunities!

Thank you for taking part and I hope you found it just as fun as I did!

Keep on pushing,

Josie

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2015 New Year’s Language Challenge Wrap-Up!

March 5th, 2015 | Posted by Tommaso in feature | Language Challenge | Motivation - (Comments Off)

challenge_logo201412What a great way to welcome the New Year with the completion of the italki 2015 New Year’s Language Challenge!

The Challenge was to complete 20 hours of language lessons on italki in 6 weeks (from January 15th to February 28th) to win a reward of 400ITC! (Click here for the Official rules)

Challenge Recap!
We did an analysis of this Challenge and it was similar to our previous Challenges (2014 October Challenge, 2014 World Cup Challenge, 2014 New Year’s Challenge). For this year:

48% of Challengers completed the Challenge!

We had Challengers came from all over the world (representing 66 countries).
These were the top 5 countries participating:

1. United States
2. United Kingdom
3. Russian Federation
4. Spain
5. Canada

Wow! We had over 49 languages that were learned in the Language Challenge.
The 5 most popular languages that our Challengers were learning were:

1. English
2. Spanish
3. French
4. Chinese
5. Italian

We also had a lot of much greater representation from our less popular languages like:

● Armenian
● Bengali
● Esperanto
● Galician
● Icelandic
● Lao
● Mongolian
● Punjabi
● Tamil
● Telugu
● Urdu
● Zhuang

Other interesting tidbits:

71% of Challengers who submitted a Public Video Pledge completed the Challenge. Compared to the 48% that finished from all the Challengers, this really helps!
● One hardcore challenge winner completed over 100+ hours (and you know who you are). This is doing more than 2 hours of language lessons a day! Wow!
11.5% of our challengers were also Community Tutors or Professional Teachers on italki so many of them were not only learning but teaching during the challenge!
3.9% of the challengers just missed winning by 1 hour or less. Ouch.
Planning ahead pays off! In one of our surveys, 82% of successful Challengers had already chosen a teacher (or teachers) before getting started.  They were also twice as likely to have considered their Challenge goal and mini-goals.
Confidence is not enough. Of Challengers who told us their confidence levels, those who did not finish the language challenge were just as confident as those who did!  Plan ahead to create a structure and study habits to help you commit.
Josie, Karthik and Aime – our italki staff completed the Challenge and really improved their Chinese. They all won the reward but their bigger prize was that was they got to keep their jobs (just kidding)!

italki_thunderclap_header4-1

Again, while it’s great that 48% of you that finished the New Year’s Challenge! We wanted congratulate all the challengers who participated. Even if you didn’t finish, we hope that this was a positive experience and it helped you kickstart your language learning for 2015! Give yourselves a big pat on the back!

If you missed this Challenge, don’t worry as we’ll have future Language Challenges.

See you at the next Challenge!

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Five Tips for Learning Languages During Travels

March 4th, 2015 | Posted by Tommaso in tips - (Comments Off)

Languages and travel are two words that are difficult to separate, since you learn key words when visiting other countries. Luckily if you’re trying to learn the language, being a traveller offers many benefits. For example, being forced to learn vocabulary and basic grammar changes how you approach the language. Quickly putting what you just learned into use helps you remember it better. If you don’t, good luck knowing how to get out of the subway station, and even better luck asking for help. Another benefit is that you can now link vocabulary you’ve learned to feelings and experiences of your travels, helping them stay in your memory.
Without further ado, here are our top five tips for learning languages during your travels:

1. Learn the basics before your trip. Don’t fill your head up with complex grammatical structures and vocabulary which you really aren’t going to use during your trip. Actually, do the opposite: Learn simple vocabulary, such as “hello”, “thank you”, “how are you”, etc. Also make a list of the activities you plan on doing, such as the food you will eat, your means of transport and the places you plan to visit.

In action: I know memorizing new words and phrases can be challenging. To make it easier, try to connect words with your anticipated image of them. Regarding your pronunciation, Google translate has a voice option you can use to listen to words you aren’t sure about. After hearing a word be pronounced, make a connection between two syllables that sound similar in your language and the language you’re learning.

2. Get a good phrasebook. Learn complete sentences related to situations such as ordering food in a restaurant, asking for help on how to get somewhere and introducing yourself to a new person. When preparing for your trip, you need to optimize your efforts. Stay away from long, complex learning material, and instead, use resources that ease the learning process.

In action: The Internet puts many free resources at your disposal. A great option is MosaLingua’s travel phrasebooks. They’re incredibly useful, containing expressions and phrases you are going to use on your travels. You can download them free off their blog.

3. Be sociable. Not everyone is comfortable initiating conversation. Making matters worse is not having mastered the language you’re speaking! However, your success at finding people to speak and practice with depends on your determination, and above all, finding the correct people and context with which to do so. Seek out activities and locations where you’ll be around people who are locals but also travelers like you. In doing this, you can feel a little more comfortable speaking with somebody who has been in your shoes before and who can possibly relate to the stress of learning a new language.

In action: An increasingly popular decision for this is Couchsurfing, an online travelers’ community which offers infinite possibilities for meeting other travelers whose countries and cities you want to visit.

4. Stray from tourist hotspots. Participating in a tour can be enjoyable and a new opportunity to meet people, but if you want to learn the language and approach the culture of your destination, you should avoid these and other tourist clichés.

In action: Try searching the web for a short course or an open lecture (in a university, cultural center or museum) you would find interesting. Learning vocabulary is great, but you have to get a feel for the pronunciation and intonation of the language. Spur small talk with taxi drivers, vendors or welcome center employees about their favorite lesser known locations.

5. Do not cave in and speak your native language. Restaurants in Amsterdam and Camden Town, London might surprise you, because when you order your meal, they usually respond in your language. As a native English speaker visiting Berlin, I was surprised when a local answered me in English after I had asked how to get somewhere in German!

In action: Prepare yourself to be placed in these situations, and always act with courtesy and continue to speak the language you’re learning. Keep in mind that the locals will speak your language in order to facilitate the conversation, yet while you are in the bars or cafes, the locals may be more willing to listen and talk to you although you can’t speak their language fluently.

Good luck on your travels!

Author: Mildred Sarachaga.
Mildred creates content for MosaLingua blog since 2012, her articles are focused on her experience living and learning English in the UK. Mildred is from Bogota, Colombia and recently got a Masters in International Development: Poverty, Conflict and Reconstruction from The University of Manchester.

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