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.

italki 2015 New Year’s Language Challenge Before and After Videos!

March 24th, 2015 | Posted by William in feature | Language Challenge | Learning English | Learning Japanese | Motivation - (Comments Off on italki 2015 New Year’s Language Challenge Before and After Videos!)

So, first of all we would like to thank everyone of you who have joined italki’s 2015 New Year’s Language Challenge. Whatever your reasons of learning languages, we hope that by doing this challenge you will have a consistent language learning habit throughout 2015!

Here are some of the best videos that we received for this challenge:

Josie from England/Sweden, and is part of our service team completed italki’s 2015 New Year Language Challenge

 I want to take this challenge because it will push me to actually study and to be persistent. I get very frustrated that I cannot communicate with the locals, and so taking part in this challenge will help me overcome that barrier.”  Her goal is to be able to talk with the Chinese person in the office about their interest and hobbies

Here is the public video pledge that she made before the challenge

And here is the video after challenge

Søren a.k.a. Koko The Polyglot from United States successfully completed the challenge:

He took German and Catalan for this time!

Soren is an awesome language learner as you can see how he improved during the short period of time, and this is also his third time joining italki’s language challenge! Below is the video of how he improved his German and Catalan!

Soren posted a public video pledge when he began the challenge

Soren’s after the challenge video

Cassie from Australia has successfully completed italki’s New Year’s Language Challenge

She took French for 23 hours during the last 6 weeks!

Cassie actually have learned French for 12 months as an exchange students. However, she didn’t get much experience to speak the language.

She posted her public video pledge before she started the challenge

Cassie’s awesome improvement video after 6 weeks and 23 hours of French

Benjamin Bruce from United States has successfully completed the 2015 italki’s 2015 New Year’s Language Challenge

He took Korean lesson for the last 6 weeks

Since his place is almost like a Korean town, as a language enthusiast learning Korean is one of his goal. But, for this challenge he set a higher bar, not only for the basic of the language, but also being able to understand and to have a casual conversation in Korean

A public video pledge that Benjamin posted before he started the challange

Below is the result after 6 weeks of Korean

Helga Gvovdeva From Russia completed the italki’s 2015 New Year’s Language Challange

She committed to take at least 3 courses per week. Moreover, she also took classes for Spanish, Italian, and Japanese. Even greater, she didn’t even know anything for Japanese!

Below is her public video pledge before the  challenge

Below is after the challenge

She said that after the challenge she felt much more confident, and in her opinion she should not be afraid to make mistakes.

We are totally agree that mistakes are something that everybody make. So, nothing to be afraid of! (more…)

Learning Chinese on italki: Ken

December 28th, 2009 | Posted by Toffler in marketplace | members - (Comments Off on Learning Chinese on italki: Ken)

Here is another story of an italki member learning a foreign language with a teacher online.  Ken is from Osaka, Japan and spends a lot of time traveling for work, therefore he needs a flexible arrangement for learning Chinese.

[Translated from Japanese, original is below.] I joined italki almost 2 years ago. I started online lessons at the beginning of this year.

In Japan the fee of the language lesson is extremely expensive, and it is easy to forget everything if you have only one lesson a week, so I chose italki where I can learn everyday with local teachers.  I initially did the trial lesson with several teachers. Now I study with only one teacher. [I chose this teacher because] she is very kind when she teaches and she also generously spares her time, even very early in the morning.

[I started learning Chinese because] I wanted to talk more with my Chinese friends.  I feel that I progress day by day. Taking lessons everyday makes it easier to review the contents of the previous lesson and remember things more clearly.

[As for learning online,] recently, Skype has been working well, so there’s no such a big problem if you use it with video. I’m kind of an idle fellow, so it offers better condition to study continuously rather than to study by myself.  I’m hoping italki will continue to make a user friendly system,  and I expect them to succeed!

Original Japanese

italkiへの参加は2年ほど前に登録させていただいたと記憶しております。オンラインレッスンは今年に入ってから始めました。

日本ではとても授業料が高く、一週間に一度のレッスンではすぐに忘れてしまうため、現地の方と毎日勉強ができるこちらを選びました。何人かトライアルしました。
いまは一人の先生に教わっています。とても親切に教えて下さる上に、早朝であっても時間を割いて下さるからです。

中国の知人ともっと会話をしたかったため。日々少しずつ進歩しています。毎日授業を受けることで復習が容易で、記憶にしっかりととどめることができます。

最近のSkypeの状況はとてもいいので、カメラを使用しながらで あればさほど問題はないかと思います。怠け者の私でも、自習をするよりも毎日勉強する環境作りに役立ちます。これからも使いやすいシステム作りをがんばって下さい。期待しております。

If you’d like to share your italki story on our blog, please contact us!