For German conversation practice, a number of people have recommended iTalki to me and so I have decided to give it a try. iTalki is an on-line platform that allows you to easily connect 1-on-1 with language tutors. I’ve been using it now for a month or so and here are my impressions on teacher quality, ease of scheduling, and price.
There are two types of tutors on iTalki – professional teachers and community tutors. Professional teachers have educational credentials and/or experience and can offer formal classes such as TELC exam prep. Community tutors tend to be native speakers (but not always) who offer general conversation practice. You can read more about the differences between the two types here. So far, I have only taken informal conversation lessons with community tutors. One thing I learned the hard way was that not all teachers are native speakers. One of my first lessons was with a community teacher who spoke German with such a strong Russian accent we had a very hard time understanding each other. When searching for a teacher, you can filter by “Native Speaker” and by country. I have had much better luck with lessons when choosing teachers who are native speakers from Switzerland. I have even been able to get a little bit of help with my Swiss German. You can read more tips about how to find the right teacher for you here.
One thing that I’ve really liked about iTalki is that scheduling lessons when I want them has been fairly easy as there are a lot of German teachers available. It has even been possible to schedule an “instant lesson,” that is, a lesson that starts in the next five minutes. This is great when I want to get in a lesson but didn’t schedule something ahead of time. You can also schedule half-hour lessons rather than a full hour, which is also a big help in fitting learning german into your schedule.
Ok, let’s talk cost. Is iTalki worth it? And, how does it compare with Lingoda? On iTalki, teachers set their own hourly rate – anything between USD 5 and USD 80 per hour. If you are looking for formal lessons with a set curriculum that follows the Common European Framework of Reference for Languages (CEFR), you may need to pay a professional teacher something on the higher end of the pay scale which could make it more expensive than Lingoda. If you are looking for informal conversation practice with community tutors, prices tend to be at the lower end of the pay scale, which so far for me has been considerably less than Lingoda. And as I mentioned earlier, it is also possible to schedule half-hour lessons rather than a full hour, so you can still get meaningful practice in but keep costs down. And unlike Lingoda, with iTalki you don’t need a subscription. Instead you simple pay for classes as you take them.
Will I continue to use italki? Yes! My goal right now is casual conversation practice and for that iTalki fits my needs very well. I have been able to find good tutors at a reasonable rate and I have been able to schedule lessons when I want to take them. I will definitely continue to use iTalki for conversation lessons.
Note: This post is not sponsored. All opinions are my own.