Sometimes there are people with big ideas in this world that create something hug-worthy.
This includes everything from my love of the clothes on Modcloth (Thank you, Susan!) to my passion for seamless task management (Thank you, Dustin + Justin!) and all the way to our topic of today, which is the cultural connection of Italki.
Kevin and Yongyue are the co-founders of a site called Italki, which is changing the way people learn languages all over the world. (& Yes. I want to hug them for making it real.)
As you read this right now, I’m going to guess that at least 85% of you would love to be in Italy eating gelato while you walk down the winding streets of whatever charming town you have in your mind.
But because of work, kids, school, or whatever piece of life is taking priority, we’re not there and that means that we’re not immersed in the language.
I can’t tell you how many times someone has told me this line: “But I just really think immersion is the answer for me finally learning Italian.”
To some extent, that’s true. Certain kinds of people need the all-or-nothing style of immersive experiences to become fluent, but many of us don’t need that and don’t realize it yet.
What you’re really missing and what you think immersion will provide is interaction with real people from the country.
You don’t have to kiss your audiobooks goodbye, but you do have to step twice to the right to get out of your comfort zone.
Why You Should Try Italki
Remember why you’re learning Italian.
Now tell me, does your reason have any inkling of making conversation with Italians involved?
It’s probably a yes because that’s what my readers are telling me all of the time.
— I want to learn Italian so I can connect with my family in Italy and finally have full conversations with them.
— I want to learn Italian so I can talk to my boyfriend’s family and create deeper relationships with them.
— I want to learn Italian so I can move to Italy for half of the year, meet locals, and experience a new culture.
E così via. The list goes on and on.
Since conversation is what you’re really trying to accomplish, reading your grammar books, listening to podcasts, and watching Italian TV should all funnel into the larger goal of having conversation.
But you SHOULD NOT wait to have conversation, no matter your level.
As Benny the Irish Polyglot says, “Speak from day one.”
Whatever you can say, speak it.
More than that though, you need a safe environment where you can practice conversation, make plenty of mistakes and continue to move forward.
That’s the value that Italki brings to the table.
Real conversations with native speakers and a safe environment to learn.
How to Use Italki
There are six main ways that you can use Italki and about half of them are free.
Click any of the articles below to get a step-by-step for how to use it.
Full disclosure: Italki has sponsored the 30 Minute Italian podcast in the past, and while they don’t pay me to brag about them on my site like this, they deserve the best of the best treatment…and hugs. Lots of hugs.