italki - Online Language Lessons Without Commitment

Gabriel Tan

Gabriel Tan

Jul 13 2021


4 min read

This post is a part of the How to Learn Korean series:

1. How To Learn Korean Part 1: The Basics
2. The Korean-English Learners' Dictionary
3. italki - Online Language Lessons Without Commitment

If you're looking for Korean lessons but you don't have easy access to them either because there are no good Korean teachers in your vicinity, or just because it's hard to commit to a fixed timeslot every week, italki might be just the thing for you. italki is a platform where you can find teachers for almost every language you can think of. You get to pick your teachers and timeslots, making it very flexible. On top of that, they are likely to be much cheaper than regular in-person lessons. I'll also write about my own personal experience using italki and why I am still using it.

Let's get started!

What kind of teachers are there on italki?

italki teachers

italki allows all kinds of teachers on their platform and labels them as either a community tutor or a professional teacher. A community tutor is a teacher who does not have any professional qualifications, but still wants to teach. On the other hand, a professional teacher is one who is certified with some sort of teaching qualification in the language that he/she is teaching. A lesson from a community teacher is usually much cheaper than one from a professional teacher.

Depending on your learning style, you might prefer one over the other. From my experience, professional tutors tend to give lessons that follow a syllabus, and community tutors are a bit more easygoing. Of course, this varies from tutor to tutor so the best way to find out how a teacher teaches is to send them a message on the platform, or simply take one of their trial lessons.

Each tutor usually has a video introduction in addition to an "About me" section, so you can see what a teacher is like before booking any of their lessons. italki allows you to book trial lessons as well, which are lessons that last for half an hour and cost less than a regular lesson. This is a good way to get a feel of what a regular lesson might feel like, as well as getting to know the teacher's teaching styles.

Booking your first lesson

After picking a teacher that you think you can get along with, you can check their availability at the side of the page, like so.

Teacher availability

The teacher's availability should be shown in your local timezone, so you don't have to do any mental arithmetic! ๐Ÿ˜‚

You can simply then pick the lesson type (which differs from teacher to teacher), select a timeslot, and send the teacher a text message introducing yourself. The teacher will then have up to 48 hours to accept or deny your request.

All that's left to do is to wait for the lesson to begin!

My experience using italki

My italki experience

As you can see, I took over 140 lessons (in Japanese and Korean) in the span of 3 or so years, which may not seem like a lot. For me, I like to see italki as a supplementary learning tool in addition to my primary method of learning.

The teachers I've met so far are really nice people, and I've even met them in person before! I find that the more lessons I took, the better the teacher understood me, and the more interesting the lesson content became. Also, the teachers tend to cover areas that I tend to skip over.

Learning from teachers on italki also motivates me to continue learning, since it feels like wasting money if I don't put in the effort.

The only downside that I can think of is that since the teachers tend to teach many students at a go, they might not be able to always remember specific things about you. Also, it might not be so good for absolute beginners since some teachers can struggle a bit in explaining some concepts. If you are an absolute beginner, it might be a good idea to ask if the teacher is comfortable with explaining things in your native language.

Overall, I still think using italki has helped me lots in my language learning journey, and strongly recommend it to people who like 1-1 lessons.

Signing up for italki

You can sign up for italki by clicking here using my referral link. Once you successfully complete a lesson, you'll get $10 worth of italki credits for your next lesson!


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