As some of you already know, I work on italki as a Legal English teacher and I’ve done this for many years. I also am a student on italki – I take Italian classes and I’ve also used it for studying Portuguese in the past.
Today I want to share, not just about my own personal experience as a teacher on italki, but also, I’d like to give you some useful and practical information about how this platform actually works. If prefer listening than reading check out the podcast below, or alternatively watch this as a video, just scroll down.
So what is italki?
Italki is a huge international community of teachers and students who are teaching and learning languages online.
So, if you need to study a language online, not just English and not just specifically Legal English but any language, you can find a teacher on italki who can teach you this language. There are over 10,000 teachers on italki and around 130 languages are taught on the platform. There are also around 5 million students studying on italki – which is bigger than the population of Wales – which is actually my home land!
What different types of teachers are there on italki?
Online professional teachers
There are professional teachers who are qualified teachers and who you have to pay to have classes with. These are great if you are really dedicated and you want to study something specific, e.g. grammar, business English, Legal English, etc., where you need a very attentive and specialised teacher.
Online community teachers
There are also community teachers, who are not qualified, but who are there for conversation classes and general practice. Their prices are, as you would expect, cheaper than the professional teachers. So, if you’re just looking to keep up with conversation skills you could consider booking a class with a community teacher.
Online language partners
Another nice feature on italki is that you can find a language partner. Say you are Spanish, and you want to learn English, you can find an English person who wants to learn Spanish and instead of paying for classes, you simply exchange language for free. For example, you could schedule a Skype call where you speak for half an hour in Spanish and half an hour in English.
This could be helpful for legal translators because you might be able to find other translators who are willing to swap language skills and also practise writing skills and translations.
So, if you are interested in a more informal approach or your interested in making friends through the platform then I suggest that you find a language partner.
Specific features on italki
So, that’s an overview of the type of teachers you can find on italki. Now, I’d like to focus on a few specific features on the platform.
How do you book a class on italki?
Once you’ve chosen a teacher you can look at their schedule and choose a time which suits you best. The lessons are really flexible because if it turns out that you need to cancel the class you can cancel up to 24 hours before the class and you get a refund. You just click a button and this cancels the class or you can choose to reschedule the class to a more suitable time.
What do you need to study?
italki is really comfortable because you can take classes from wherever you want – the main things you need are:
- a computer / smart phone
- an internet connection.
If you want to have a class at work during a quick break, if you want to simply have conversation on the train on the way to work, on your lunch break in a café, from home whilst your eating your dinner, from the airport if you have a flight to catch– you can do it.
If you are a celebrity, a CEO, a very important person, or if you are simply self-conscious or embarrassed about learning a language, online classes are great because you can take a class from the privacy of your own home and you don’t even have to put your video camera on. Online classes a very private and teachers respect your privacy. As long as your practising your language skills, the rest is not a problem.
Can I book a trial class?
Another really powerful feature is that you can normally take a trial class with a teacher to test whether you like their style, their material, abd you can understand them. If you feel comfortable with that teacher, then after the trial you can choose whether to proceed or not with booking classes.
My personal experience of italki
Regarding my personal experience as a teacher, I’ve tried out a few different platforms for teaching online such as Verbling, Preply, and I can say that italki is my absolute favorite. Why? Mainly because it’s so flexible with how you carry out the lessons – you can use the specific platform on italki for the calls or you can use something like Skype or Hangouts.
Something that I really love about online teaching is that I get to interact with students from all over the world – I’ve got students from Russia, Kuwait, Somalia, France, Germany, Brazil, Japan, Thailand, China. On the one hand ,I get to help these lawyers and law student with their Legal English and on the other hand they completely challenge me to make sure that I am always developing my own knowledge on specific legal matters and terminology, for example, in areas such as negotiation, contract drafting, arbitration, intellectual property, mergers and acquisitions, the list goes on!
So for me as a teacher its really fulfilling and for students it enables hem to find a teacher that they might not be able to find in their home town.
Do you have any questions?
So if you have any questions about italki leave a comment here and I’m happy to answer any questions.
Get $10 for free!
If you want to try out italki then visit go.italki.com/studylegalenglish and you’ll receive $10 in italki credits when you purchase your first italki class.
What are you waiting for?
Finally, I’m going to leave you with one of my all-time favorite quotes which is a quote by Mark Twain – it’s:
“Twenty years from now you will be more disappointed by the things you didn’t do than by the things you did do…
Explore. Dream. Discover.” (Mark Twain)
So, of course, I can tell you about my experience with italki but you can only understand if it’s right for you by trying it yourself.
Why don’t you give italki a try? If you don’t like it, leave it. At least you know you’ve tried.
Question for Listeners
Have you ever studied a language online? What did you like or dislike about it? Email me, leave a comment below, or join in the conversation on social media!