With more than 1,000 teachers, 2,000 tutors, and 50 languages on offer, italki offers a wide range of one-on-one online learning possibilities. The marketplace allows you to search for the best possible teachers or tutors and to manage your online interactions with them. Teachers are certified professionals who provide you with structured lessons, while tutors are mostly native speakers who can help with conversation practice.
The main italki advantage is the option to practice your language at any time from the comfort of your home or office at a rate more affordable than in-person lessons. The selection of teachers is great and the interface to manage the booking of your lessons is very user-friendly.
When you sign up, you will be asked for your email address (you can also log in via Facebook), your native language, your time zone, and your current country. You will then need to select the language you are learning from an extremely vast choice of languages as the italki model supports virtually any language. Next, you need to decide if you want to learn with a Professional Teacher or a Community Tutor. You will also be asked if you are interested in being contacted for language exchange by other students. You can also customize your sessions by selecting a teacher specialized in areas, such as teaching beginners, children, teenagers, test preparation, business vocabulary, etc. As the last step, italki presents you with a list of teachers that you could filter by location and hourly rate.
You have access to the ratings and reviews of the professors/tutors, as well as short videos where they introduce themselves. You will also access relevant statistics, such as the number of students and lessons they have handled. You can browse their schedule to find a slot most suitable slot for you. Take note that most of the teachers/tutors offer a 30-minute trial for only a few dollars, so you can test how you and your teacher fit before you make any commitment.
When you request a session, the teacher has to accept and confirm the session first. Once you request a lesson, italki will charge your student account, but will hold that money in a separate account. It will appear as a Lesson Request in your Student Wallet. If the teacher cannot accept your lesson, the italki Credits will be returned to your Student Wallet and you will be able to see a Refund there. If the lesson was completed properly –you will have to confirm that the lesson was completed – only then will the italki Credits be transferred to the Teacher’s Wallet.
Please note that the minimum credit purchase on italki is $10 USD in italki Credits and that every teacher/tutor defines their own price. There are plenty of payment options available, the most common being Paypal and credit card. There are also lots of options for Asian students, such as Alipay, Wechatpay, and China Unionpay.
Italki supports Skype, Google Hangout, and Facetime, as well as ICQ. The most commonly used video conferencing solution is Skype. To get the most of your lessons, you would need a microphone and a webcam.