Our new summer intern Reid from the United States started work at italki on August 4th.  We wanted him to write a quick blog about his first experiences working with the team here in Shanghai.  The below post is written by him.

My First Week at italki

100_0026I (on the far left) attempt to hit a bullseye while playing darts with the other italki staff.

When I walked into the italki offices for my first day on the job, I certainly had that first day at work anxious feeling. But as I met the italki team and figured out my way around the office, my nervousness quickly drifted away. I felt more relaxed as I came to realize that italki is not an overly serious, unorganized startup. It is, rather, a very efficient yet fun work environment. So yes, my first-day outfit of a suit and tie certainly stood out…

As part of my first week the entire italki team visited a Shanghai gun range for a company bonding event. This being my first week in Shanghai, I have to say I was pretty surprised that I would be shooting guns in China of all places. italki is a very international company and as such it is hard for many of the English-speaking staff to really connect with the Chinese-speaking staff. That said, the power of sport once again flexed its ability to transcend cultural differences and bring people together: while the entire italki team was shooting bow and arrows, we were all aligned in a common cause of cheering on our colleagues to do well. And, when we later took to the gun range I didn’t need to use Chinese to joke with one of my Chinese colleagues about my very poor final score… The entire experience consisted of shooting bow and arrows, guns, throwing darts, playing fuzball, and most all 12-year old birthday party activities (minus the guns, of course). Our team bonding event was, to say the least, an enjoyable, enlightening experience that allowed for all of us to connect with each other on a deeper level regardless of where we were from or what language we spoke.

100_0020One of my colleagues, Karthik, shoots a bow and arrow for the first time.

The employees here at italki are genuinely passionate about what they do and it shows in the quality of their work. The entire premise behind this company is to give people the power of a new language and thus a new culture; It is genuinely so amazing to watch as users from around the world go from having zero knowledge about a language to using it consistently in their daily lives. All in all, I remain excited to work at italki and gain further perspective on the world through my relationships with my international colleagues and italki users.

Until next time,

Reid

Writing Your Way to Fluency

October 24th, 2013 | Posted by ross in tips | Writing - (0 Comments)

Guest Post by Allison VanNest, Grammarly.com

WriteOnNaNoWriMo

Even if your goal is just to be conversant in a new language, don’t neglect reading and writing in favor of speaking and listening. These four aspects of language acquisition all work together to forge new pathways in your brain. Incorporate daily writing practice into your routine to learn faster. Here’s how:

Be Social. Find a writing buddy who speaks the language you are learning, and offer to trade writing samples. italki’s notebook feature allows you to post short pieces of writing for correction by a community of native speakers. It’s a social way of learning that helps you develop your language skills at your own pace.

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