FULL DISCLOSURE: This post contains Italki affiliate links to support italianatheart.com. I receive compensation ONLY if you sign up for a paid lesson for the first time, and in exchange, you will receive a $10 credit towards your first lesson. I have been using Italki since 2015 and it is a platform I believe in as both an Italian learner & English teacher. It has helped me make progress and gain confidence in Italian, and I have found joy in teaching English again by getting more creative with my lessons and setting my own schedule. If you do sign up, I appreciate you supporting my website while improving your Italian (or any other language) . Grazie and happy language learning!
I originally started sharing my Italian progress online to keep myself accountable, get over my fear of making mistakes, and track my improvement over time to stay motivated. What I didn’t expect is all of the encouragement from strangers, both learners and teachers, who have become friends, especially on Instagram. The classroom has expanded beyond four walls, and that is the beautiful thing about the internet – we can connect from anywhere in the world and learn together.
I recently did a language learning survey (submissions are still open if you’d like to take it yourself!) to find out how I can encourage & support other language learners through my blog and social media. I used to be a classroom teacher, and I’ve come to realize that I love showing how to learn (so that others can adapt these methods to their preferences) so much more than telling students what to learn.
In this post, I’d like show you all of the cool ways that Italki can provide solutions to some of the most common challenges that my fellow language learners have shared with me:
- Fear of speaking
- Not having anyone to practice with
- A lack of time or money
I think many people have heard of Italki, but are not aware of all of the amazing resources it has, both FREE and paid. In addition to taking paid 1:1 lessons with a community tutor or professional teacher, you can also use the community features for free.
I didn’t discover all of the amazing community resources that Italki has to offer myself until I started poking around the menu one day YEARS after signing up. I want to share all of the features on Italki with you so that you don’t miss out on them either! The features under the community tab have become a staple in my language learning routine.
Free Italki Resources
All of the free resources can be found under the COMMUNITY tab on the top menu.
Read language learning articles written by Italki teachers. You can read articles in Italian or about Italian culture.
Some of the articles I particularly enjoyed:
- “Three things you need to know about Italians”
- “Come faccio ad imparare l’inglese (o qualsiasi altra lingua) nel minor tempo possibile”
This is hands down my favorite resource. You can add an entry to your Italki notebook and members of the community (both learners & teachers) can offer corrections.
I like to write down things that I want to say in Italian in my YouTube videos in my Italki notebook first to make any corrections before I speak. It helps me stop second-guessing myself and feel more confident to write before I speak!
You can see one of my notebook entries for molasses cookies. below. This is one of my favorite family holiday recipes and I tried to translate it into Italian. I learned that I needed to review articles and prepositions!
Have a language question but don’t know who to ask? Submit your question and a member of the Italki community (learners or teachers) will answer!
Want to have a longer chat on a certain topic or find a conversation partner? You can put a “wanted ad” here. However, I think that many people have luck finding a conversation partner by sending a direct message as well.
ALSO, SOMEBODY HELP THIS GUY WITH HIS UGLY ENGLISH! LOL (Love a sense of humor)!
5. Language Partners
You can browse other language learners and send them a message to invite them to do a language exchange. You can customize your search and browse the available members.
Tip: When first contacting your potential language partner, stand out from the crowd with a thoughtful message introducing yourself and asking an open-ended question. I can’t tell you how many messages I received that only said, “Hi.” That is not a great way to keep a conversation going if you’re not face to face.
6. Language Hacking
This is my other favorite resource! The Language Hacking challenge was created by Benny of Fluent in 3 Months, and the goal is to complete 10 speaking prompts to prepare you for a 15 minute conversation with a native speaker.
The Language Hacking challenge is perfect for you if:
- You are A1-A2 level (beginner)
- You want to have a conversation with a native speaker, but don’t feel ready or confident enough
- You have had a conversation with a native speaker, but you felt too nervous and couldn’t keep the conversation going
- You feel like speaking is your weakness
I am working my way through the Language Hacking as we speak! Here is mission #1 as an example.
Note: I filmed this over a year ago when I was super shy in front of the camera and had no idea how to film or edit (so I did it with my iPhone). Persevering through the discomfort is absolutely the key to making progress. You have to want to learn a language more than you care about your pride.
7. Instant tutoring
I love this feature! If you have a busy schedule and want to have a lesson on the fly, you can choose from the tutors available at the moment for instant tutoring.
8. Community tutors
Community tutors are native (or near-native) speakers, but do not necessarily have teaching credentials. They offer informal tutoring or speaking practice. This is a great option if you would like to practice informal conversation in a focused way (as opposed to with a language partner who will also expect you to help them with English).
9. Professional teachers
Professional teachers are certified professionals who can offer you expert feedback and structured lessons to meet your goals. I suggest working with a professional teacher if you have specific goals, don’t know where to start, or are not sure how to make progress.
You can search by teacher type, native language, hourly rate, and skill to find the perfect teacher for you.
If you’re ready to take your Italian to the next level, you can use my Italki link for a $10 credit, which will also help support italianatheart.com!
BONUS: Become a community tutor or professional teacher!
I have been teaching on Italki since 2016, and I LOVE working with students one-on-one to achieve their specific goals and helping them make progress with expert feedback. I love being able to get creative with lessons and setting my own schedule.