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italki Review: Pricing, Pros & Cons, and Getting Started

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Price
Languages Offered
User Experience
Accessibility
Engagement
Resources
italki is my favorite language learning app because of how many languages are offered, and how diverse the teachers are. That being said, it is a more expensive way to learn languages. However, you choose your pace and teachers, so you can easily control how much money you spend. The app and website are a breeze to use and italki has extra resources for learners. A native teacher is the best way to learn a new language, and italki makes that more accessible and affordable than ever.

I’m starting this language learning italki review with my summary, in case you don’t have time to read everything else, like the pros and cons. When I started this post, I’d been on italki for over a month, working with two different tutors in two different languages: Spanish and Dari.

So, what do I think about italki so far?

I’m a big fan. In fact, italki is my favorite language leaning platform thus far. It’s quite different than my other favorites, like Pimsleur and Language Transfer, but I think it’s essential for anyone who wants to learn a new language, or improve language skills.

Yep. italki is an essential language learning platform. And I’ll tell you why!

Now, as a disclaimer, everyone learns differently. And the amount of great teachers on italki means you’ll have to speak to a few before hiring one. So it does take a little research and communication when you’re getting started. Luckily, italki makes getting started very easy.

italki boasts “Become fluent in any language” on its homepage, and I believe it. Ready to start browsing teachers and tutors? Get started on italki!

Table of Contents. Jump ahead!
  1. italki’s big advantage
  2. italki pros and cons
  3. Pro Tip
  4. Getting started (super easy & free)
  5. Final thoughts

italki’s Big Advantage

There’s one thing about italki that sets it far apart from other apps and platforms, and that’s diversity. Chances are, if you’re interested in learning a language, you’ll find an italki teacher to help you in that language. Not only that, you can choose where your tutor is from, other languages they speak, and whether or not they’re native speakers. That’s huge! You want to be selective when you’re finding a language teacher.

If you’re traveling to a certain region or country, you’ll want to filter your results to people from that place. For example, if you’re visiting Portugal and want to learn the language, hire a Portuguese teacher, not a Brazilian! Likewise, if you want to learn Arabic for visiting Jordan, or Morocco, or Egypt, italki makes it a breeze to find teachers from those countries.

On italki, I was able to find a Spanish teacher from the state in Mexico where my wife’s family lives!

Searching on italki returned 323 Portuguese teachers from Brazil and 2 French teachers from Guinea. It’s a fun app to browse.

A Brief italki Story

When I hired Jahdai to help me with Spanish, not only was I impressed with his engaging personality, but he gave me a list of resources and said “I don’t need to see you for one month.” He only wanted me to practice listening with a few resources and see how I felt after 30 days.

Now, I speak some Spanish. This may not be the formula for others, but Jahdai helped me determine my Spanish level and gave me the appropriate learning plan (with a great list of Spanish learning resources). He didn’t say “Book 10 classes with me, we need to meet every week.”

Nope.

“I’ll see you in a month.”

Why do I share this story?

There are some really great teachers on italki that aren’t taking advantage of inexperienced language learners. He saw the equation and gave me a solution that didn’t financially benefit himself. Sure, we’re going to meet more. But if he’d had told me to book a class or two every week, I likely would’ve listened to him.

Also, Jahdai speaks many languages, which was very attractive to me as a student. He’s clearly interested in language learning as a practice, not just making money with his Spanish-speaking skills. Similarly, my Dari/Farsi teacher Ahmad speaks many languages, teaches at a school, and is learning new languages himself.

Look for teachers with lots of reviews, students, and lessons completed. And if they’re practicing students themselves, that’s a huge bonus.

For travelers, italki is essential

When you’re visiting a foreign place, there will be words, phrases, customs, and foods that are specific to that country, or region. Learning with italki will give you confidence (and therefore, some peace of mind) when you arrive in a new destination.

italki Pros and Cons

With all the language learning apps and platforms out there for you to try, knowing the pros and cons of each is important. Some are free, some don’t ask you to memorize anything, and others are like games. Everyone learns differently (and has different time and budgets available for language learning), so perhaps you’ll find another platform that works better for you. Or italki could be the perfect solution to your education.

italki Pros

  1. Trial lessons on italki are inexpensive lessons that introduce you to a teacher, and italki gives you three risk-free. In other words, they’ll refund you if you’re not satisfied with these introductory meetings. So go ahead, try italki, it’s risk free.
  2. I already mentioned this one, but italki is diverse. Most languages (even some obscure ones) have teachers available. My other favorite language learning apps are much more limited. It’s not easy, for example, to find Dari (the Farsi dialect of Afghanistan) resources online. But there are plenty of teachers on italki!
  3. italki is very easy to use. It’s clearly a popular platform that serves people well, because the app is pretty much flawless when it comes to user experience. You can search, send messages, book classes, cancel & change classes, buy packages…everything you need is right in the app.
  4. Teacher profiles are filled in very well. AKA you can learn a lot about someone before you message or hire them. Profiles list teacher’s experience, number of students taught, lessons taught, and ratings & reviews. Each teacher has a bio, qualifications, a resume, and an intro video, too.
  5. Plentiful rating & reviews give you tons of feedback on a teacher’s style and strengths. You can even see where the reviewer is from and how many lessons they’ve taken (and which language they’re learning).

  6. You can message teachers before hiring them to introduce yourself and ask questions, and to see if they’re a good fit for your interests or travel plans.
  7. Learn at your own pace on italki. You decide how often you’ll book lessons, and whether your teacher will complement your other tools (maybe meeting once a week, or every other week) or be your primary source of learning (useful for languages that don’t have many online resources).
  8. …and price, too. Prices are transparent, and many teachers offer discounts for purchasing packages. Whatever your budget is, you can schedule more classes, or less classes, to avoid overspending. Certain languages are more expensive, but those languages (Spanish, French, German, for example) tend to have more teachers, so pricing is competitive. Oftentimes you can find a newer teacher who isn’t charging as much as the rock stars at the top. You can expect to pay $10-25 per hour on italki. But italki also offers group classes, which are a good way to learn from native speakers about certain topics while saving some money.
  9. italki has lots of extra resources like quizzes, vocab practice, a podcast, and articles to read. The best resource, I think, is the teachers, though. Don’t be afraid to reach out to your teachers and ask questions.

italki Cons

  1. italki is not free. In fact, if your language is available on Pimsleur, Language Transfer, and Duolingo, you’ll spend much less money using just those three platforms. I spend about $200 per month learning 4-5 days per week on italki, but that’s pretty dense learning. You might only need one hour per week to complement your other practice, which would be very helpful.
  2. italki requires work, where some other platforms have a more passive feel to me. For example, Language Transfer asks you not to memorize anything, but a teacher on italki might expect you to learn new vocab and do homework (though you can request no homework, I’m sure). Every teacher is different, but italki requires some work to get the most bang for your buck–studying a bit after lessons, for example.

My italki Pro Tip

I got an amazing piece of advice from my Spanish teacher, Jahdai, and I want to share it with anyone who is learning a language, or wants to start learning. This pro tip will take you far!

When you start learning a language, you are like an infant. Infants learn languages by listening, speaking sounds, and lots more listening. Jahdai told me not to write and not to read.

That’s tough for me as an avid writer and reader!

But reading and writing slow you down, teach you strange words, and (most importantly), they do not give you an ear for the language you want to learn.

What happens when you don’t develop an ear for the language?

You can’t follow conversations or listen & attempt a response. And this is important! Language Transfer teaches to always attempt a response, not be afraid to make mistakes. That’s part of how we learn! But if we focus on reading and writing, our listening comprehension will be slow.

My testimony? It works! After just a few weeks of passive and active listening, I can follow my in-law’s Spanish conversations much better. I was pretty surprised at how many words I picked up without much effort.

So, here’s my italki pro tip: when you’re learning a new language, find resources to listen to, actively and passively. If your italki teacher doesn’t recommend this, no worries, I’ve given you an important tool.

Don’t believe me? That’s okay, I’m just some guy who likes to learn languages. Check out this Language Learning Roadmap by Dreaming in Spanish, a document which helps determine your language level. Check out the bottom, where it recommends when you should start reading. Hint: it recommends mostly just listening for your first hundreds of hours of learning, before you venture into reading.

Getting Started on italki

Here’s why italki is so easy to get started with: it’s free! Not paying for anything is a great first step. After you download the app, you’re able to immediately browse tutors for basically any language you can think of, or any language you’re currently learning.

Apps and platforms that put all their features behind a paywall are always a turn off for me. With italki, you can explore the platform and it’s features before you sign up, and signing up is free. The only time you pay for anything is when you book a trial lesson with a teacher.

Finding Teachers

Obviously you’ll find a lot more teachers for languages like Spanish and French than others like Tajik and Welsh, but it’s fun to browse those smaller, sometimes obscure languages, too.

So what languages are you interested in?

Whether it’s Italian, French, Arabic, or something else, you’ll enjoy checking out the teachers’ profiles, reading other students’ reviews, and exploring the app.

The brief video below shows me searching for an Italian teacher, from Italy. Check out how smooth the app is!


Searching for an italki teacher. I searched for an Italian teacher, from Italy. Filtering it by location chopped almost 100 teachers from all over the world off the list of recommended Italian teachers. Pretty cool!

Final Thoughts on italki

Obviously I like italki, but it’s not the only way I learn languages. I like to cover all my bases. However, others keep it pretty streamlined, learning with just Pimsleur, or just Language Transfer, or just Duolingo (yikes). I actually stack these four together, and some other listening to podcasts and such. You, however, don’t need more than italki, if you want to keep it simple.

Consistency (and lots of listening to your new language) are more important than hitting all the popular apps and platforms.

I recommend starting with the platform you’re most interested in, finding a few podcasts or TV shows to start listening to the language regularly, and not stressing about how fast you progress.

A native teacher is the best way to learn a new language, and italki makes that more accessible and affordable than ever.

Price
Languages Offered
User Experience
Accessibility
Engagement
Resources
italki is my favorite language learning app because of how many languages are offered, and how diverse the teachers are. That being said, it is a more expensive way to learn languages. However, you choose your pace and teachers, so you can easily control how much money you spend. The app and website are a breeze to use and italki has extra resources for learners. A native teacher is the best way to learn a new language, and italki makes that more accessible and affordable than ever.
italki is my favorite language learning app because of how many languages are offered, and how diverse the teachers are. That being said, it is a more expensive way to learn languages. However, you choose your pace and teachers, so you can easily control how much money you spend. The app and website are a breeze to use and italki has extra resources for learners. A native teacher is the best way to learn a new language, and italki makes that more accessible and affordable than ever.
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George
Georgehttps://georgecallahan.com
George Callahan is the creator of Pine Tree Poet. He is an author of fantasy stories and an adventure poet. He prefers mountains and pine trees to most other things, and usually takes his dog Cowboy along for the ride.

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italki is my favorite language learning app because of how many languages are offered, and how diverse the teachers are. That being said, it is a more expensive way to learn languages. However, you choose your pace and teachers, so you can easily control how much money you spend. The app and website are a breeze to use and italki has extra resources for learners. A native teacher is the best way to learn a new language, and italki makes that more accessible and affordable than ever.
Price
Languages Offered
User Experience
Accessibility
Engagement
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italki is my favorite language learning app because of how many languages are offered, and how diverse the teachers are. That being said, it is a more expensive way to learn languages. However, you choose your pace and teachers, so you can easily control how much money you spend. The app and website are a breeze to use and italki has extra resources for learners. A native teacher is the best way to learn a new language, and <a href="https://www.italki.com/en/i/ref/AEd66bG?hl=en&utm_medium=user_referral&utm_source=copylink_share">italki</a> makes that more accessible and affordable than ever.italki Review: Pricing, Pros & Cons, and Getting Started