italki Review

italki screenshot (not mine)


Have you been looking for a way to practice your target language? Whatever the language might be (with the exception of some really far-out, ten-people-in-the-world-speak-it languages), you can probably find a native speaker on italki. italki is a site dedicated to connecting you to the people you need.

italki is a site to meet someone or hundreds of someones who live in Korea, speak Korean, are Korean, who you can chat with either by using italki‘s chatting system, or better yet, by exchanging Skype names. An italki account is free, easy to sign up for, and the best investment in your language-learning experience that you don’t actually have to pay for.

Yes, you can purchase lessons from real people who are real teachers certified to be teaching you whatever it is they’re teaching you. For even cheaper rates, you can purchase sessions with non-certified native speakers who can still be just as helpful with teaching you their language. But I think the best two advantages of italki are language exchange friends and notebook entries.

Want to make a Korean friend? (Or a Japanese/Russian/Spanish/any kind of friend!) Sign up, write out in Korean (or English, if you’re going to be lame and not proactive about your own language learning experience) how you’re a ____ native speaker interested in learning Korean and helping others learn to speak your language. Do a search and input your language buddy interests. Then send a request to whoever you want to help you. They’re very likely to send back acceptance message.

Kakao Talk

Kakao Talk is where it’s at.

I’ve already had a several-hour-long chat on Kakao Talk with a Korean native that I met on italki. I had no idea that I knew enough Korean to talk for that long. It was a really great feeling and already I picked up several phrases and keywords that I didn’t know before I had the conversation. It challenged me to make an assumption of what an unknown word meant based on the context. But yes, there were a couple times where I really, really didn’t understand what the other person was saying. However, when I didn’t know what my new friend meant in Korean, we worked out an understanding cobbled together through both English and Korean – because my language exchange partner is learning English.

At the end of the day, I felt annoyed with myself because I ran out of time with things to do and didn’t end up reviewing the TTMIK lesson that I wanted to go over – “RAAAHHHH angry muffins! I didn’t study Korean today!” – but then I realized that I had been studying Korean for almost three hours. I had been chatting almost entirely in Korean with a Korean native with only a few mishaps, and I’d ended up learning far more than I would’ve had I studied a single lesson.

This is what italki can do for you. It can give you that connection. And yes, there’s other sites similar to this. Livemocha is a language-learning website that I’ve already reviewed – check it out here. However, I really like italki for another reason besides language exchange partners.

italki notebook entry

You can even record yourself speaking what you wrote in your entry.

Notebook entries.

Basically the greatest thing since sliced bread and language exchange partners.

If you don’t have time to chat directly with a language partner, write up a few sentences about what you did today. How you feel about muffins (and you feel absolutely splendiferous about muffins, by the way). A funny experience you had. You can write about anything – and if you can’t think of something to write about, italki provides some suggestions. So post that little entry and be on your way, because within a few hours (if not minutes) there will be corrections and encouragement from native speakers.

If you’re still not convinced, read this really great review that someone else did. It’s much better and explains far more details than mine.

Go on. Check out italki. You know you want to.



8 thoughts on “italki Review

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    • Thanks for the comment, Loving Language!

      Generally, I don’t use the italki chatting system for Korean. I exchange Kakaotalk names with my Korean partners and we use that to chat – and since it’s on my phone, I can chat with them almost every night. Otherwise, I usually check italki at least once a day and reply to messages that English-learners send me; as their English is limited, it’s quick and easy to chat with them!

      I don’t get overwhelmed by requests because I limit the number of people I “follow back.” It’s fine if a lot of people want to follow me, but I would rather develop language-learning relationships with a few people and actually help them with chatting and their notebook entries.

      Currently, I talk with a Japanese woman, a couple Arabic men, and several Koreans. It’s fun to be able to help them learn English ^.^


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