Learning a new language is incredibly difficult, especially when you don’t live in an environment surrounded by your target language. I have tried to learn Chinese (as a Filipino taking Tagalog in school) in different ways for the past year and a half, yet lacked the money, startup knowledge, and environment for supporting my learning of the language.
To prepare for my school’s Chinese Class Placement Exam (to transfer from a Tagalog class to a Chinese Class), I started taking 1:1 lessons on Italki about two months ago, and have taken about 15 lessons ranging from 30-60 minutes each. I have tried two different teachers, and during this short time, I have gathered a few notes that you can consider if you ever want to try out italki.
Some teachers have very low rates
Some teachers charge $8-9 for an hour long or 30 minute lesson. Some charge even lower. This is pretty cheap when considering that private tutoring that can cost up to $60 per 60 minute lesson in the USA.
You pay by lesson and bookings can become limited
Many great teachers end up having most of their lessons nearly fully booked, and since Italki has a pay by lesson (or package) system where booking lessons are first come, first serve, students can end up losing their teacher because of low availability.
Tutor wifi issues are common
One of the teachers I booked in the past had unstable WiFi that disrupted the lesson a bit. She was from Shanghai. Encountering teachers with bad WiFi is pretty common on the platform.
Utilize trial lessons
It can be pretty difficult to find the best teacher for you on italki, but taking trial lessons (which are significantly cheaper than normal lessons) from different teachers instead of just one is a great way to narrow down your search for the best tutor.
Tutor ratings are inflated
After every lesson, students are required to give a rating (and an optional comment) on how the lesson went. Almost 95% of the time, students give 5-Star and positive reviews. Nearly every tutor on Italki has a 5-Star Review. If ratings were more anonymous, this might’ve been a different case.
Also known as Informal Tutoring, this type of tutoring is offered by almost every single teacher on Italki. It’s distinct from the usual type of tutoring that teaches students a language by a textbook or some sort of formal and formatted guide. In Conversational Tutoring, which is usually cheaper than normal tutoring, students can just practice speaking and gain additional support.
Though there are a few things to watch out for when using Italki, its services are still amazing. Rates are cheaper, you can learn from Native Speakers, and if you invest the effort into finding the right tutor for you, Italki can be a great way to learn a language. I’m currently studying with a great teacher from the platform who I feel is significantly helping me with the preparation for my upcoming Chinese Placement Exam.