Andrew Tracey is the author of the Spanish Learning Blog How to Learn Spanish (using free online resources!). He recently wrote a review about italki and we enjoyed it so much that we wanted to share some of the insight that he gained. Reposted with permission. Here’s a link to the original article iTalki Reviewed: Free Language Exchange Plus a Tutor-Student Marketplace (also: are tutors worth it?)
I’ve talked about (here) how I think language exchanges are probably the single most valuable thing you can do to learn a language because that’s where you’re actually talking to – and being corrected by – a native speaker, that’s where the rubber meets the road. They’re considered an absolutely integral part of The Telenovela Method of Learning Spanish since I place such emphasis on using the Spanish you’ve just learned and I think the best possible way to do that is by trying to use it to communicate with a native speaker (because you’ll learn immediately whether you’re applying it correctly or not).
Also, I know I’ve recommended italki before several times, usually stating that it was what I believed to be the best online language exchange site available (and that’s including even the language exchange sites that cost money, iTalki does not) and I still believe that. I’ve been meaning to write up a review of it for a long time now (couple years actually) but haven’t because I’ve dealing entirely with my book the last two years or so (either writing it or launching it or marketing it or…blah, something), so here it is. Not only am I going to cover the language exchange portion of the site (which is entirely free) but I’m also going to cover the tutor-student marketplace, so to speak, that’s the other part of the site (and where iTalki makes its money, if you were wondering). I’ve been using the language exchange system on iTalki for years now but only just today did I try out one of their tutors for the very first time. (more…)