We wanted to thank everyone who participated in the italki 2014 World Cup Language Challenge.  A few daring Challengers not only completed the Challenge but they also put in some extra effort and recorded a  BEFORE (by posting a Public Video Pledge) video.

Well… a few of these people who posted these Public Video Pledges here and here and here did something even more incredible.  They went on and posted their AFTER videos so you can actually see their progress!    Here are the top videos that we received!

LindsayDoesLanguages from the United Kingdom
25 Hours in 2 Months Learning Portuguese COMPLETED!

Lindsay,an avid language learning enthusiast and blogger, really set the tone as she gave weekly status updates to all the Language Challengers and showed us how she took on and really took on Portuguese.   She was the standard that all Challengers had to keep up with and her performance during these two months was exemplary.  The only thing we could find fault with was her prediction that England was going to win World Cup 🙂

LindsayDoesLanguages’ BEFORE the Language Challenge Video
Lindsay actually posted a Public Video Pledge when she began the Challenge.

LindsayDoesLanguages’ AFTER the Language Challenge Video

Lindsay also gave a great wrap up and offered her tips on how she beat the language challenge!


Leigh Davis from Ireland
25 Hours in 2 Months Learning Spanish COMPLETED!

Leigh is relatively new student but has already learned to get the most out of italki in a few short months.  If you haven’t read his amazing testimonial story – please do, it will inspire you to start learning a language now!  What’s even more inspiring is his progress in Spanish in just 2 short months.   If you ever wanted to hear someone improve from an OK level to a mind-blowing level of fluency, watch his before and after videos below!
Leigh Davis’s BEFORE the Language Challenge Video
Here’s his  Public Video Pledge before he began the Challenge.  His Spanish is already at a pretty good level.

Leigh’s AFTER the Language Challenge Video
He now speaks Spanish at a near-native level.    We showed this video to some of our Spanish speaking staff and they were impressed at his fluency but they were really blown away by his confidence.  It really shows in his after video!


Sandrah from the United States
25 Hours in 2 Months Learning French COMPLETED!

An avid language learning enthusiast and Community Tutor, Sandra started the learning French from zero.   You be the judge of whether she improved or not.  Her improvement is absolutely amazing and inspiring!

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The Interns’ Blog: italki Team Building

August 18th, 2014 | Posted by Reid in feature | Writing - (Comments Off on The Interns’ Blog: italki Team Building)

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,


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Check out this handy infographic for the World Cup Challenge Wrap-up:

World Cup Infographic Final-01

Click me to read the World Cup Language Challenge insights!

The second learning challenge of 2014 has finally finished, and we daresay has brought us some interesting insights about learning a language, as well as a bit about the italki community. This has been the biggest challenge by far, with hundreds of students participating.language_challenge_2014worldcup

  • The overall challenge completion rate was 53%. Over half of you have passed the goal of 25 hoursof language-learning in two months.
  • What is even  more remarkable, 23% of the participants have done more than 30 hours of classes during the challenge.

One notable thing that we learned through this challenge: telling your friends, neighbors, anonymous YouTubers and the italki community about your commitment greatly increases the likelihood of you achieving your goals:

  • Of our pledge video participants a whopping 62.5% have completed the challenge
  • 26.2% have completed over 30 hours

A few of the participants went astronomically above and beyond the challenge, with top-3 students having completed:

  • 87.5 hours (from U.K. – studying French and Italian)
  • 87.8 hours (from Spain – studying English)
  • 92 hours (originally from Mexico, now living in the U.S. – studying Mandarin Chinese and Cantonese)
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I beat the italki 2014 World Cup!

August 5th, 2014 | Posted by Jim in Language Challenge | Motivation - (Comments Off on I beat the italki 2014 World Cup!)

We received this great message from Jeremy who finished the 2014 World Cup Language Challenge learning Chinese!   Originally posted on his personal blog, we enjoyed it so much that we wanted to share it with everyone.  Great job Jeremy and keep up the great work!  Re-posted with permission.

Italki 2014 World Cup is over!

I beat the italki 2014 World Cup!

Ok, alright, you can stop cheering now. The challenge wrapped up over the weekend and I was notified today that I was successful. So now that I’m filthy rich, I plan to keep learning Chinese, instead of retiring to the Bahamas. I know, I am a wild one.


What is italki 2014 World Cup?

In short I put up 200 ITC ($20) pledging to spend 25 hours language learning through their site, within a 60 day period. If I win I get 400 ITC ($40) and my bet returned. This should be an easily attainable goal of about three lessons a week during the 2 month duration of the challenge. Surprisingly only 53% completed the challenge. They have some cool stats on most hours completed by country, and most hours completed by language, if you’re interested.

Thanks italki for being awesome!

I want to thank italki for putting on the challenge and being so encouraging. I think they did several helpful things for us participants. They encouraged people to make a video pledge and post it onto their FB, G+, or the like. Their data showed that people who did this were more likely to complete the pledge. Another thing was they put up a big FAQ page full of useful info. I checked it a few times. They also reminded you via the website message system weekly about the challenge. This reminder would let you know roughly how many hours you should have completed, and what the current leaderboard looked like. Another thing that was nice was the countdown clock on the main site. You knew exactly how much time you had left. What I hope they do for next time is add a “hours scored”, or “#/25 completed” section up there also. Currently you have to go to sessions and do a manual count if you wanted to know how far along you are.

How did I do?

My work towards completion was not linear. With holiday’s, and business trips in the middle, I had to be mindful of my schedule. To compensate for my traveling I did roughly 4 sessions a week during the first 2 weeks and the last 2 weeks. Even with one trip to Colorado, and another to Florida I ended up clocking in 31 hours. That’s just over 3.5 hours a week. Not too shabby in my opinion.

What’s Next?

With this challenge completed I look forward to the next italki challenge. In the mean time my next big Chinese goal is the HSK IV. I take it this month on the 17th. I’m not yet ready for it, but I am working towards that as fast as possible. Wish me luck!

Everyone here at italki wishes Jeremy good luck with his HSK IV test.  

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Koko the Polyglot runs his own Language Learning Blog – Koko the Polyglot. He has been taking World Cup Language Challenge learning Catalan. We are reposting his original blog with permission.

Italki World Cup Language Challenge Week 8: The Results!


(Source: https://www.flickr.com/photos/sniffen/ )

We are on the last week of the italki World Cup Language Challenge and I’m done to my last sessions with my tutors it’s time to share my results. While the challenge doesn’t officially end until Thursday, I simply will not have the additional time to schedule more sessions at the moment. But what I can say is that I wasn’t able to complete the challenge. However, I got incredibly close though. So how many sessions did I manage to complete this time around? 18 out of 25 which is actually really close to completing the challenge. Unlike the last time where I became overwhelmed with circumstances beyond my control and losing motivation toward the end.


How Did It Go?

I would say it went really well despite having to deal with moving to a new place and a working full-time. I can honestly say that I progressed so much from this challenge, especially since I chose a language I didn’t have much knowledge in as well. It was great to see how much more I was able to accomplish this time around with the challenge. Each lesson truly motivated me to learn more Catalan. It was also the first language that I did lessons with Professional Teachers as well. I felt like even though I lost I was able to make substantial improvements to my language skills that I wouldn’t have done otherwise.

What Happened This Time?

I could go on with excuses as to why I wasn’t able to complete the challenge. But let’s just say I was able to continually stay motivated even though I had some major setbacks during the challenge. Those setbacks did cause more delays when it came to scheduling sessions with a tutor but, I was still able to make the most of it while I could. Which mean teaching a lesson on my mobile and using my tablet to take a session with a tutor. It wasn’t until my internet was set up that I was finally able to book sessions at rapid fire. Which meant taking 3 lessons with a tutor on Tuesday and 2 on Wednesday.?

Finding Victory In Defeat


(Source: https://www.flickr.com/photos/86530412@N02/ )

Yes, I lost the italki World Cup Language Challenge again but, I felt like I was able to reach more of my language goals this time around than had a not participated at all. I wasn’t going to allow being defeat discourage me from reaching my full potential in a new language: Catalan!

I would personally like to thank Lindsay of Lindsay Does Languages for encouraging and inspiring me to attempt the italki challenge once again. Instead of allowing my previous defeat get the better of me and not bother trying again.

When compared with the previous challenge, I was able to triple the amount of lessons I’ve taken with tutors by being proactive and persistent about seeing this challenge through to the end, even if I didn’t win.

Sometimes the real victory comes from being able to admit defeat and not giving up until you accomplish your goals.

In this case, I was still able to achieve my goals for Catalan by being able to have a basic conversation about subjects that interest me. In fact, I would like to thank these tutors: here, here, here, and here for really accelerating my learning Catalan to the next level.

Jo Practico El Meu Català Ara

És plou avui. Hi ha llamps i trons però m’agrada el temps perquè no és massa calurosa. Era un repte molt interessant. Vaig escoltar una varietat de les cançons en Català. Em vaig sentir que el meu català he millorat molt. He tingut més motivació que abans. Vull apprendre Català sempre però no vaig tenir temps ara per ara. La llengua Catalana és una mica d’espanyol, francès, italià, i portuguès. Reconec moltes paraules de francès, espanyol, i italià però és com sentir una llengua totalment diferent alhora. En dijous és el dia final per el repte d’Italki. Gairebé he guanyat el repte d’Italki però jo només he acabat que 18 lliçons.

Here’s an example of my written Catalan so far. Feel free to correct if you’re a native speaker of Catalan.

Italki World Cup Language Challenge Participants: How did you do? Did you finish the challenge? Almost there? No even close? I would love to hear how you’re doing in these final days of the challenge!

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