Author Archives: Jim


Challenge recap!

The June 2015 Language Challenge has ended and it was an amazing success!

55% of challengers completed the challenge!

We did an analysis of this Challenge and it was similar to our previous Challenges (2015 New Year’s Challenge Wrap-Up2014 October Challenge2014 World Cup Challenge2014 New Year’s Challenge). For this challenge:

The challenge was to complete 12 hours of language lessons in the month of June (June 1st to June 30th) to win a reward of 300ITC!

We had challengers from all over the world; 80 countries were represented!

Top 5 countries participating :

1. United States of America
2. United Kingdom
3. Russian Federation
4. Australia
5. Brazil

And we even had some language learners from the below these countries (wow!):

– Syrian Arab Republic
– Puerto Rico
– Turkmenistan
– Zimbabwe
– Trinidad & Tobago
– Angola
– Libya
– Venezuela

52 different languages were learned during the challenge.

The 5 most popular languages that our challengers were learning were:

1. Spanish
2. English
3. Chinese

4. French
5. Japanese

We also had a much greater representation from our less common languages like:

– Latvian
– Belorussian
– Persian
– Telugu
– Cebuano
– Tamil

Other interesting tidbits:

91% of challengers who submitted a Public Video Pledge completed the Challenge! Wow – that pretty much means if you make a Public Video Pledge, you’ll complete the Challenge.
– One hardcore challenger complete 77.5 hours of lessons! That’s more than and hour and a half of lessons each day.
– One of our challengers (Sylin from France who actually speaks more than 30 languages!) learned 15 languages during the challenge!
10% of the challengers were also teachers.
3% just missed the challenge by one hour or less! Ouch.

Also a big congrats to some of our italki staff who finished the challenge like this guy below… (again they all get to keep their jobs!)


 We finished the 2015 June Language Challenge! 12 hours of italki lessons in June! (well some of us did)

italkersEven though this was only 12 hours, completing the Challenge was definitely hard!  A few of us at italki took the Challenge and here are our results!

Tracy learning Esperanto (in Chinese) Completed!
Ivan learning Chinese Completed!
Javi learning Chinese Completed!
Andrey learning Chinese Did not Complete the Challenge!

Andrey wanted to clarify that “My Chinese Teacher went on vacation halfway through the Challenge and I really didn’t want to get another one.  If I did, I’m sure I would have completed the Challenge!”

Excuses aside, it’s hard and that’s why it’s called a Challenge!  We just did some calculations and found out that a whopping 91% of Challengers who submitted a Public Video Pledge for the June Challenge actually completed the Challenge!

In italki tradition, we’re awarding 50ITC as bonus for an after video.  Below is Tracy’s AFTER Video for Esperanto.  She started with zero Esperanto ability!

Tracy’s AFTER Video for Esperanto

Join us 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 June Language Challenge!”

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

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

And we leave you with some last words from Tracy:

“So, even though I took the language challenge to learn Esperanto, I actually ended up learning a lot about time management and good study habits.  
Specifically, I sometimes have trouble scheduling things in advance because I worry about what other things might happen that I’ll need to adjust to, but once I actually booked the classes and got them on my calendar, it was actually sort of a relief to know for sure what my schedule would be like.  Even if you’re really busy, just book the classes in advance. Yes, I gave some things up to finish my classes, but it’s all about priorities.

I also learned some things about watching which study habits were easy or difficult for me to maintain.  It’s important to practice every day, but I would recommend choosing a “passive” thing to practice every day – for example writing out sentences or reading something.  Not because passive practice is better than active practice, but because you’re probably more likely to actually do it!

And I never would have WANTED to finish it without my awesome italki teachers.  It’s a great feeling to WANT to review your material so you can have another great conversation soon!”

Congrats to everyone and see you at the next Challenge!


The 2015 June Language Challenge has Ended!

July 1st, 2015 | Posted by Jim in announcement | Language Challenge | Motivation - (Comments Off on The 2015 June Language Challenge has Ended!)

Congratulations to all who participated in the 2015 June Language Challenge! It’s over now and we’re busy calculating the winners and losers. Final announcements will be made on July 7th as any sessions taken on June 30th need 7 days to auto-confirm if you haven’t confirmed sessions manually. We’ll also be depositing the 300ITC reward for completing the Challenge on July 7th as well!

5 of our italki staff also participated in the Challenge and they are busy compiling a great after video about how they felt balancing work, life and language learning to finish the challenge. Each of them wrote updates about their experiences taking the Challenge and if you haven’t read them, direct links are below:

Ivan’s Update
Tracy’s Update
Javi’s Update
Andrey’s Update

Note: William is missing because he’s back home visiting family and friends in Indonesia!

June Language Challenge Update: Learning Brazilian Portuguese

June 23rd, 2015 | Posted by Jim in feature | Language Challenge | Motivation - (Comments Off on June Language Challenge Update: Learning Brazilian Portuguese)

Jairet has his own blog called The Crummy Life and is taking the June Challenge and just posted this update. Reposted with permission. Original Post here.

June italki Language Challenge Update: Brazilian Portuguese

Olá! Tudo bem?

This month I am participating in the June italki Language Challenge. Maybe you saw my first post with my public pledge video, where I said what I aim to accomplish and used a bit of português brasileiro. What did you think?

Well it is time for an update, because week three has just begun. With my birthday in week one, and being in a wedding in week two, life has been packed to the gills with action and excitement.

I originally set the goal of taking three classes per week so that I could easily expect to meet the challenge of completing twelve total hours in June. Then, my family gave me the dates for our annual trip to Lake Tahoe, June 22nd – 29th!

Luckily this happened in week one.

I made the decision to up the ante to finish the challenge a week early so that I don’t have to finish the challenge while on vacation, just to take away the need to be in front of a computer while I want to be on the lake, on a hike, or rock climbing with my wild man father.

In week one, I completed three sessions. In week two, I completed four more sessions. Now we are in week three, and I have completed one more lesson. Also, I have four more scheduled before the family fills up the cars on the 22nd.

That means I have completed eight, and I have sessions nine through twelve scheduled already! I am on track to complete the challenge on June 21st, over one week early.

That’s all for now. If you have more interest in what italki is all about, check out my previous post or head tothe italki website for details.

Muito obrigado por ter vindo. Até mais!

My name is Javi, I work in e-marketing at italki and I’m taking the June language challenge! For this challenge I wanted to choose a very specific goal: learning a Chinese menu.

javi_eatingThere are so many Chinese culture and traditions around food and meals that I am not aware of, so many dishes that I try and love but don’t know how to describe, so many food-based idioms that I don’t understand… I’ve been living here for over a year and I still can’t order in Chinese! So this month I promised myself that all that would change.

So after 3 weeks, I’ve finished 8 lessons on italki and my Chinese teacher Catherine is awesome (I highly recommend her)!  This week I am trying to fit in 3 more lessons so all I need to do is 1 more this weekend to finish it.  It’s been tough but I agree with Tracy in that you just need to schedule your lessons in advance and set this time aside to meet your goals.

So halfway through week 2, I went to lunch with a bunch of my colleagues as we welcomed our new summer intern Jiahong and they had me try and order off the menu.  It actually wasn’t bad as I got about 75% of the food items correct.  I know I still have a ways to go but I feel with these last 3 sessions and by reviewing what I’ve learned using flash cards, I will most definitely meet my Challenge Goal!javi_eating_studying

I hope you guys are enjoying the Challenge as much as I have.  I’ve been at italki for almost a year now and it’s the first Challenge I’ve participated in and it’s a really great experience!