June Language Challenge: Andrey’s First italki lesson for the June 2015 Language Challenge

June 8th, 2015 | Posted by Ivan in feature | Language Challenge | Motivation - (Comments Off on June Language Challenge: Andrey’s First italki lesson for the June 2015 Language Challenge)

Andrey is one of the newest italki employees, a Russian designer who has spent the last three years in Beijing. Here is the story of his very first italki AND very first Chinese language lesson. 

I had my first Chinese class with my italki teacher Sebastian (I picked him because his introduction video looked interesting, and he’s traveled a lot). Even though I’ve already spent several years living in China, it was my first Chinese class ever!

When I lived in Beijing, I hardly ever used Chinese. I mostly used Russian, and later English. I have also picked up some Chinese by being around people (mostly colleagues, friends, locals, and other Russians). Still, despite having a bit of basic vocabulary, I’m very much a beginner.

My first italki Chinese class

Sebastian showed me cards with Chinese characters and pinyin*, which I have not studied before. Maybe it’s because I’ve already lived in China, but I understood the pinyin portion quickly. I found it pretty fun to suddenly be able to name characters that before the lesson seemed just like mute squiggles.

* Pinyin is the “romanization”; the system of “spelling out” the pronunciation of Chinese words using letters of the alphabet.

I have homework.

I will need to learn Chinese characters. I think it will be fun, because characters haven’t really meant anything to me up till now; so far I have thought of them as just drawings. Now, I’d like to take steps to actually understand them, and I already recognize a few: 我, 你, 小, 他, 水, and 心 (because these are quite basic).

Since I already “passed” pinyin in my first class, Sebastian gave me some homework for learning characters. Beginning with the 2nd lesson, we’re going to start reading in Chinese. It’s kind of a challenge for us both, for him as well as for me!

Tones

I have problems with the tones, as many of those learning Chinese, which I’d like to focus on for my next lessons. Though the tones do seem a bit complicated, and I’ve always had trouble with them, I am hopeful I will be able to finally figure them out.

It seems kind of weird to speak this way, using tones, you know? I’m not the kind of person who finds it easy to laugh at themselves, and I don’t want to sound weird. But, at the same time, I want this; it’s part of the challenge.

I think overall I’m quite nervous: I think that to learn all of the characters would take forever! It seems like a lifetime-long project! I’m kind of scared that I don’t have that much time. I don’t mean that I’m going to die anytime soon, but I’m just too busy with work or other stuff. Again, I see this as part of the challenge: forcing myself to start learning something new and making time to do it well.

Overall Impression

I’ve never done anything like this before, it’s very cool!

The feeling is the same as when you’re on a roller coaster: it feels amazing, but you’re still nervous, maybe even scared. I’m looking forward to the ride.

Support the 2015 June Language Challenge Thunderclap!

May 22nd, 2015 | Posted by Jim in announcement | feature | Language Challenge - (Comments Off on Support the 2015 June Language Challenge Thunderclap!)

Are you taking the Language Challenge?
Share that you are taking the Challenge with others and use this peer pressure (in a good way) to help yourself achieve your language learning goal!


What is a Thunderclap?

It’s a new, powerful tool that allows people to Tweet or Facebook an announcement all together on the same day, at the exact same time to be heard loud and clear! We’re working with Thunderclap to make this biggest, most exciting Language Challenge ever! Get ready!

This summer join thousands of other language learners and achieve the common goal of learning a new language together!  Our Language Challenges have proven to help language learners get into a habit of learning. It helps by setting a clear goal they need to meet.

See Who’s Taking June Language Challenge

If you are taking June Language challenge we’re giving away 50 free ITC if you make a video challenge pledge. Life Hacks research has shown that if you put yourself up to something by doing it in public, you follow through because others are watching.  So use peer pressure to your advantage!  So help out your fellow language learners participating in the challenge!  Leave them words of encouragement on their notebook entries!  And don’t forget to sign up for yourself, and get the summer of to a great start!

 

Click the links below to see:

June Language Challenge Video Pledges 2

June Language Challenge Video Pledges 3

June Language Challenge Video Pledges 4

Janie  from Thailand is learning Spanish and Italian
Janie has been learning Spanish and Italian with our native teachers on italki for a while, she had took part in our New Year’s Language Challenge and can’t wait for another exciting challenge. Janie will be participating in our June Language challenge and continue to improve her Spanish and Italian! Cheer her on by leaving a note on her notebook entry.

 

Autumn  from Nova Scotia, Canada is learning French
Autumn has
been teaching English on italki for 4 years, and she’s also been a student learning on italki at the same time. As a teacher and student she thought it’s great that you can only have to pay a 100 ITC registration fee and if you finish the challenge you end up winning 300 ITC (and improve your language ability as well) !  Autumn is traveling to French speaking Canada so decided to take our June Language Challenge to improve her French!

 

Sylin  from Paris, France is learning Croatian
Sylin speaks 30 different language! How inspiring!
If you missed it, she send an inspiring video of her speaking 30 different languages on italki!  Right now she’s learning Croatian and hope that she can manage to reach B2 level in this language. Give her some love by writing on her notebook.

 

 

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So… in the spirit of giving, we’re offering this bonus again to help you complete the Challenge!

If you’ve signed up for the italki June 2015 Language Challenge, we’re giving away even more ITC to motivate you to succeed!  Do you really want to complete the challenge?  Use peer pressure (in a good way) to help yourself achieve your language learning goal! Life Hacks research has shown that if you put yourself up to something by doing it in public, you follow through because others are watching. Things that you put on the Web have a better chance of getting done!

BONUS 50ITC! Upload your Language Challenge Public Video Pledge

Make a Public Video Pledge by uploading a video to YouTube or Youku before you begin your first session (or your first few sessions).

What should you say in your Public Video Pledge?

Youtube video:


Youku video:


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italki on TV! ICS (International Channel Shanghai) Culture Matters

May 1st, 2015 | Posted by Christopher in feature - (Comments Off on italki on TV! ICS (International Channel Shanghai) Culture Matters)

Kevin Chen, the CEO of italki recently appeared on Culture Matters a talk show on ICS (International Channel Shanghai).   This particular episode was about online education and the different players that are currently in Shanghai.

(Note that Kevin appears at the 42:00 minute mark)