italki is an online language-learning platform that connects you with fluent speakers and teachers at a very low cost – here’s how it helped me practice and learn a new language faster

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We’ve all heard that learning another language is valuable, but more often than not, it’s framed as a business skill. That the knowledge of another language opens up countless opportunities for your career isn’t untrue — of course it’ll give you a leg up in the global marketplace. But language isn’t only about expanding your international offices or serving an international customer base.

What frustrated language learners need to understand is that learning another language isn’t a means to an end. The process isn’t only about memorizing the proper spelling and sentence structure needed to complete a transaction — any learner who relied on pure memorization to ace their high school language classes but was unable to last even a few hours in the country where that language is spoken would recognize this. Instead, it’s about understanding the larger role language plays in human connection, because you can’t separate language from people or their culture. 

This emphasis on human connection is what online language learning platform italki focuses on, and why it uses a different strategy than gamification to teach languages to its users. italki connects five million language learners with over 10,000 teachers through one-on-one lessons. 

italki was born out of co-founder Kevin Chen’s own experience and struggle with learning Chinese. It wasn’t until he traveled to China and studied Chinese there that he truly learned the language. The big difference was using it in real conversations. 

Jumping from textbooks to real life is undoubtedly scary. No one likes making mistakes or feeling embarrassed, but italki eases you into the process by facilitating lessons and conversations with native and fluent speakers. Especially during a pandemic, it can help you easily and safely connect with people from all over the world, and at your own pace and schedule. 

While the top 10 languages learned on the site are English, Spanish, French, Japanese, Chinese, German, Italian, Russian, Korean, and Portuguese, Italki has also helped revive interest in endangered or vulnerable languages like Basque and Blackfoot.

Here’s how italki works:

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