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 Language Challenge October 2015 , 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:


The italki June 2015 language challenge has not gone smoothly for me, and that in itself has taught me a great deal about achieving my goals and learning a language. It was an exciting, difficult, but ultimately rewarding journey. There are many things that I have re-asserted to myself throughout the process of the challenge: taking notes, importance of review, fundamental advantages of speaking with a person to learn language. Still, I want to make the emphasis on sharing some of the more unusual insights from the experience:

Lesson 1: My main struggle was caused by poorly picking my goal

The way I formulated my goal was simple: cover HSK 4 Level vocabulary (This is somewhere around C1 level, and combined with the previous levels of the test covers approximately 1200 Chinese words). (more…)

italki Team Language Challenge – Week 1 Update

January 22nd, 2015 | Posted by Aimé in feature | Language Challenge | Motivation | promotion - (Comments Off on italki Team Language Challenge – Week 1 Update)

The italki team is taking the 2015 New Year’s Language Challenge

How much Chinese can they learn in 20 hours?

3 members of the team at italki are taking the language challenge to improve their skill in Mandarin. Each of them will have 20 hours of lessons between January and February. Can you do better than them?  Check out their original Public Video Pledges that they made at the beginning of the Challenge here.

aime_circleAimé, Intern

Week 1

In this first week I’ve managed to complete 3 hours of lessons with my teacher Lea. I’m still feeling pretty confident about the challenge and the goals that I set out for myself, although it is a lot harder than I anticipated.

I’m having the most trouble with my pronunciation but my teacher assures me that with lots of practice outside our lessons I will start to see improvements. Before we started the challenge I had a talk with my teacher about my Language challenge goals and she believes its doable if I commit myself and trust myself for the next six weeks and she assured me she will do everything possible to help me achieve my goals.

My goal for the first week was to memorize about 4-5 sentences but unfortunately I came a little short, as I’ve been able to only memorize 3. Going into the second week I am a lot more determined to practicing by myself and working on my pronunciation. My goal this week is to learn 5 new sentences and to start using them around the office.


josie_circleJosie, Services

Week 1

After the first of the language challenge I unfortunately have not been able to take any lessons yet. I’m feeling a little nervous as my schedule has all of a sudden gotten fuller, so taking lessons after work isn’t as easy I thought it would. Also my Internet connection has been bad lately so that doesn’t help much.

Fortunately I have my teacher on WeChat now so it’s a lot easier for us to communicate. We have not talked much about the challenge yet but she is aware that I am taking the challenge and would like to use have as my teacher. I told her what my goals were for this language challenge and she was able to send me an online book to help me get started, which I have found to be very helpful. I also asked her to give me some homework because otherwise I won’t work as hard.

My goals for this next week is to get at least 2 lessons and sit down and study for at least 3 hours. I want to be able to put my notes on flashcards to help with my vocabulary but I haven’t been able to find them anywhere. I’m really hoping my second week of the challenge goes better than my first week but I’m still very confident I am going to kick Kartick and Aimé’s butts in this challenge.



Karthik, Data Scientist

Week 1

After the first week of the challenge I have been able to get 1 hour of lessons under my belt. I’m starting to feel a little anxious, 20 hours is a lot! I thought taking 1 lesson every other day would be easy but in the evenings after work, its usually hard for me to focus on much.

My teacher and I have discussed my goals for this language challenge and she assured me she would make lessons geared towards a more conversational focus that are appropriate for my level, context, and needs.

My goals for this upcoming week are to be able to introduce myself, memorize 20 words of fruits and vegetables and have a 30 seconds conversation. I think I will be able to meet my learning goals for week 2 but I’m afraid I might now meet my session goals once again.

What My Arabic Lessons With italki Look Like After 6 Weeks

January 20th, 2015 | Posted by Jim in Language Challenge | Learning Arabic | Motivation | promotion - (Comments Off on What My Arabic Lessons With italki Look Like After 6 Weeks)

One of our italki Language Challengers, Anil Polat runs a self-travel blog called foXnoMad.  He’s been taking sessions even before the Challenge and is already at 6 weeks where he began Arabic with absolutely no ability.  For our Challengers, this is something that you can expect after you complete the Challenge!  He only did 19 hours so far (at 6 weeks) but it’s pretty close.  Reprinted with permission. Original article here.

By The Numbers: What My Arabic Lessons With italki Look Like After 6 Weeks

craiova romania

At the beginning of December, I began a 3 month project with the language learning site italki with the goal to be conversationally fluent in Arabic. Having now completed a third of the way, here are the raw numbers on my progress and what I’ve learned so far.

19: Number Of Course Hours

I’m taking roughly 5 hours of lessons a week, once per weekday. (I’ve tried two hours sessions but after 60 minutes I begin to lose focus.)

100%: Percentage Of Arabic Script I Can Read And Write

Although it was intimidating at first, I can comfortably read Arabic script as well as write by phonetically sounding out words.

nick miller

2: Number Of Instructors

I spent some time trying out several teachers to get an idea of styles as well as evaluate which might be the best fit for me personally. I eventually fell into a good routine with two particular instructors whose structured lesson plans I’m benefiting from greatly.

1910: italki Credits Used

That would be the equivalent of about $190 for courses so far. Although every instructor sets their own rates, almost all seem to fall into the 120 italki credit (~$12 USD) range. Here’s a bit more on how italki works exactly.

university hall

At Least 100: Words Learned

This one’s hard to quantify but it has to be at least one hundred, not including various common phrases as well.

Where I’m At Right Now

At this point I can conjugate verbs in the past tense from memory and know many of these essential travel word combinations. In a relatively short time, I’ve picked up the structure of Arabic: the rules and grammar which make the language work. Early on I wasn’t sure if laying down this foundation first (prior to speaking skills) would be efficient but the thorough italki instructors have proved me otherwise.

I’ll keep you updated with my weekly progress. Please let me know if you have any questions in the comments below about the italki process, specifics of what I’m learning, or any tips you might have to make me a better student!

New Year’s Language Challenge Video Pledges (Part IV)

January 19th, 2015 | Posted by Jim in Language Challenge | Motivation | promotion - (Comments Off on New Year’s Language Challenge Video Pledges (Part IV))

See Who’s Taking this Year’s Challenge – Page 4!

If you are taking this year’s 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 2015 of to a great start!

This is the second blog listing of New Year’s Language Challenge Video Pledges.  Watch the videos from the previous posts below. We’ve had so many that it’s better to just make multiple posts so they don’t get too long!

This is our 4th page of Public Video Posts! We love that so many of you are willing to make that extra commitment (and earn a bonus 50ITC)!

Part I Here
Part II Here
Part III Here

seven.seagulls  from Ireland is learning Chinese
seven.seagulls (whose real name is Alex) is learning Chinese. She’s actually taking part in another Challenge called the #Add1Challenge and is taking part in the New Year’s Challenge as well! All that matters is that she reach her goal in improving her Chinese. We like Alex makes some very practical and very achievable goals. For example, one of her goals is to be able to order food in Chinese at the Chinese restaurant. You can cheer her on here.


Nildo  from Brazil is learning English
Nildo really wants to improve his English skills. His goal is to be able to have a conversation with his American friends and tutors on italki. He also wants to focus on his confidence. Please send him some words of encouragement in his notebook entry here.


Paulo Ribeiro  from Brazil is learning English
Paulo Riberio is also from Brazil and also is taking the challenge to improve his English. He’s been studying English for his entire life and he really wants to get rid of his accent or at least improve his fluency. He also really wants to get rid of his stuttering. Let’s wish him the best by commenting on his notebook entry here.


Pawel  from Poland is learning Dutch
Pawel really wants to improve his Dutch as he is now living in Beglium and wants to be able to use it to speak with his co-workers. He’s completing a research internship there and has always had a strong love for language learning. Wish him the best by commenting on his notebook entry here.

Click here to watch his video on Youtube


daisu saikoro  from the United States is learning Chinese
daisu saikoro has been to China very recently and is determined to learn Chinese in 2015. He’s also looking for some help. If you can send him an italki gift card, he’d really appreciate it as he feels the Challenge is going to be a bit difficult as he’s also taking care of his great grandmother who is very sick. Please wish daisu saikoro the best by commenting on his notebook entry here.