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.

Music for Learning French and Spanish

March 24th, 2013 | Posted by Samuel Bleakly in media | Uncategorized - (Comments Off on Music for Learning French and Spanish)

Hi Guys!

This week we have a special treat for all of our language students learning French or Spanish.

Here are two playlists of songs to help you practice listening and singing:

 

We hope you have fun listening to these.  Let us know if there is a suggestion you have for a good playlist idea.

One of our Community Tutors Stops by the Office

March 18th, 2013 | Posted by Samuel Bleakly in Uncategorized - (Comments Off on One of our Community Tutors Stops by the Office)

Hi guys,

Sam here.

A few weeks back one of our community tutors stopped by the office to meet the italki team.

Here is a picture of her with me:

Camera 360

 

Her name is Irina Xiang She offers speaking practice in Chinese and she’s very friendly.

Visit her profile by clicking her name and book a lesson with her today!

Teacher of the Week #6 Amera

March 12th, 2013 | Posted by Samuel Bleakly in Uncategorized - (Comments Off on Teacher of the Week #6 Amera)

Teacher of the Week #6 Amera Eid

This week, we are proud to feature a rising star, Amera Eid as our Teacher of the Week.

Amera teaches Arabic on italki and has an impressive 5.0 feedback rating.

Check out Amera speaking Arabic in this video with Fluent in 3 months:

 Here’s what some of her students had to say about Amera’s class:

Amera is very encouraging and is patient with me. She always gives me time to repeat or practice my new words and sentences. I feel very comfortable in my attempt to express myself in Arabic. I love my teacher! :-)michaeljarman

Amera is awesome! I’ve already learned so much in one half hour intro session! Looking forward to continuing more intensively with her.”  – nicklesb

Book a lesson with her by visiting her profile here.

 

 

Shanghai Expo and May Holidays

April 29th, 2010 | Posted by Kevin in announcement - (Comments Off on Shanghai Expo and May Holidays)

The World Expo is about to start in Shanghai, and we are excited to be here. Shanghai has been under construction for years in preparation for this event, and now the world will be able to see the results of that work.

This year’s Expo theme is Urban Development, and there will be numerous pavilions dedicated to how we can improve the way we live. We think this theme is very timely, given the level of urbanization in China, and the problems it faces in terms of sustainable economic growth. Events like the Expo present a great opportunity for people to exchange ideas about these increasingly universal issues.

italki is also trying to facilitate the exchange of ideas, virtually through the internet. Even though technology has driven the costs of communications to almost zero, language still represents a significant barrier in communication. It’s hard to imagine how people can work well together to tackle global issues if they cannot communicate well with each other.

If you are coming to the Expo (or are just curious), try posting it on your blackboard or in your notebook. Many italki users are interested in meeting in person, and there are lots of members in Shanghai (where we are based)! If you also happen to be in town (for the Expo or otherwise), please come and stop by — we like using Skype, but we’d love to meet you in person!

The italki Team