italki Review (for Spanish Learners)

Italki is a tutor marketplace where you can find tutors and arrange lessons with online teachers from all over the world. 

In this comprehensive italki review, which is tailored specifically for Spanish learners, I’ll take you through what italki offers, its features, and how it can benefit you on your language learning journey.

I’m James, from Learn Spanish With James, and in this review, you’ll learn why I think learning Spanish with a tutor is so valuable for beginners, intermediate learners, and even advanced speakers.

Key Takeaways

  • italki is an online tutor marketplace where you can find tutors from all over the world. 
  • You can choose your tutor based on your budget, learning style, and schedule. 
  • italki is a rival of Verbling and Preply, both of which offer very similar services.
  • New features are released regularly, including group classes, and access to an online community.
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What is italki?

italki is not just another language learning platform; it’s a dynamic community that connects language learners with qualified teachers from around the globe.

At its core, italki functions as a marketplace where users can book personalized language classes directly with independent tutors.

With thousands of teachers offering their expertise, italki provides unparalleled flexibility and diversity in language learning opportunities.

italki is headquartered in Shanghai and was established in 2007. Upon setting up your profile, you gain access to a comprehensive database of tutors in your desired language.

Using search filters, such as price, availability, and country of origin, allows you to pinpoint the ideal tutor to suit your preferences.

With a vast selection of languages available, ranging from Spanish, to French, to Tibetan, italki boasts an extensive roster of tutors. Popular languages like Spanish boast over 2,000 tutors, while Chinese boasts more than 1,000.

To draw a parallel, italki operates akin to Airbnb in the travel industry.

While traditional language schools resemble conventional hotels, think of italki as a platform that offers a more personalized and tailored approach to language learning.

The platform itself does not conduct classes but serves as a facilitator for qualified native teachers and students to connect.

Payment is processed through italki, and classes primarily take place via platforms like Skype, although alternatives such as WeChat and FaceTime are also available.

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Languages and Prices

One of italki’s standout features is its extensive range of languages and teachers.

Whether you’re interested in mastering a widely spoken language like Spanish or delving into more obscure dialects, italki has you covered.

As of the time of writing, here’s a snapshot of the available teachers for various languages:

  • English: 4680
  • Spanish: 1916
  • French: 834
  • Mandarin: 855
  • German: 501
  • Portuguese: 389
  • Korean: 230
  • Greek: 76
  • Romanian: 47
  • Afrikaans: 36
  • American Sign Language: 9
  • Haitian Creole: 14
  • Belarusian: 4
  • Sinhala: 2

This impressive array of language instructors opens up a myriad of options for learners, allowing them to be discerning in their choices.

Whether you prefer a teacher from a specific country, a native speaker, or someone with expertise in teaching particular age groups, italki caters to diverse preferences.

Furthermore, italki’s pricing model offers flexibility, with teachers setting their own rates.

What are the Fees for italki?

Joining italki is entirely free; the only expenses incurred are for the lessons arranged with your chosen tutors.

As each tutor sets their own hourly rate, you have the flexibility to determine the affordability of your sessions.

While some instructors may charge over $50 per hour, many offer classes in the more affordable range of $4-$9 per hour.

Factors such as demand, teacher qualifications, and economic disparities among countries contribute to this variance in pricing.

There are opportunities to acquire lessons in bulk. For instance, you can opt to purchase lesson packages comprising five, 10, 20, and so forth, sessions with a tutor, typically at a discounted rate.

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Spanish Tutor Search

When navigating italki’s extensive pool of teachers, it’s essential to understand the two main categories available: Professional Teachers and Community Tutors.

Professional Teachers

Professional Teachers possess verified teaching experience or qualifications, including professional teaching experience, a degree in education, or a teaching certificate.

They often offer structured lessons and use tailored language teaching materials in their tutoring classes.

Community Tutors

Community Tutors, on the other hand, may not have formal teaching credentials but are native speakers or possess an advanced level of proficiency in the language. Native teachers who are not necessarily suitable for language academies are still ideal for casual conversation practice and informal learning.

Selecting the right teacher involves considering your learning preferences and objectives.

Whether you prioritize structured lessons with a professional teacher or prefer conversational practice with a community tutor, italki offers options to suit your needs.

Typically, although not universally true, Professional Teachers tend to command higher fees and possess extensive teaching experience.

They are more likely to offer supplementary materials and tailor lessons to suit individual student needs.

Conversely, Community Tutors are more suitable for learners seeking informal conversation practice.

When selecting a teacher and arranging classes, it is advisable to contemplate your preferences and learning objectives beforehand.

Consider aspects such as whether you prefer explanations in your native language, focus on specific grammar points, or casual conversation practice.

There are no definitive answers to these questions, as preferences vary among individuals. After identifying your ideal class attributes, you can proceed to search for the most suitable teacher.

Given the abundance of available teachers, the task of selecting one may seem daunting. Fortunately, italki offers several features to assist you in this process.

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Choose a Teacher and Schedule Lessons

Before embarking on your teacher search, take some time to reflect on your learning style and preferences.

Consider aspects such as whether you require explanations in your native language, specific grammar focus, or informal conversation practice.

Armed with this insight, you can navigate italki’s platform more effectively.

Finding Your Ideal Teacher on italki

Given the extensive pool of available teachers, it can be overwhelming to select the right one. However, italki provides features to simplify this process.

You can view each teacher’s location, which is particularly useful if you prefer to practice a specific regional variation of the language.

For instance, if you’re planning a trip to Peru, practicing Peruvian Spanish may be more beneficial.

Furthermore, you can access information such as the number of lessons taught, ratings, availability schedule, languages spoken, and both video and written introductions for each teacher.

Read Profiles of Qualified Language Teachers

Upon clicking on a teacher, you’ll be directed to their profile, offering additional insights. Reading through reviews from other students has been particularly helpful in my teacher selection process.

While negative reviews are uncommon, they provide valuable insights into teaching styles and approaches.

For example, I personally prefer flexible lesson plans and dislike excessive focus on vocabulary. Reviews often contain clues regarding such aspects.

Although it’s tempting to spend hours scouring teacher profiles, I advise against it. Instead, take advantage of italki’s trial lesson feature.

Most teachers offer 30-minute trial classes, often at a discounted rate. Scheduling trial lessons with a few teachers allows you to gauge compatibility and teaching methodology before committing to regular classes.

Moving forward, let’s explore how to book a lesson that aligns with your schedule.

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Scheduling and Payment Procedures for italki Lessons

Once you’ve identified a teacher you’d like to book a lesson with, simply click on the “Book Now” button. Alternatively, feel free to reach out to the teacher with any queries you may have before proceeding.

Teachers often offer various types of classes, each potentially priced differently or identical.

Furthermore, you may encounter multiple options for lesson durations, and occasionally, the opportunity to book lesson packages at discounted rates.

Next, you’ll need to select a suitable time for your lesson. This is made convenient by italki’s scheduling system, which displays the teacher’s availability in your own time zone.

Upon selecting a time slot, you’ll specify the platform for your lessons and provide your username.

While italki Classroom is recommended for its seamless video lessons, messaging capabilities, and screen-sharing features, you have the flexibility to opt for a communication tool you’re comfortable with.

Before the lesson commences, you can leave a message for the teacher, providing insights into your language proficiency, preferred focus areas, or topics of interest.

Finally, payment is required to confirm your lesson booking. You have the option to either pay for individual lessons with a specific teacher or purchase italki credits.

These credits hold the same value as USD and can be utilized to book classes with any italki teacher.

It’s important to note that a processing fee applies when making payments. The fee varies depending on the chosen payment method.

For instance, paying $10 by debit card incurs a processing fee of 69 cents, which significantly increases to $8.40 for bank transfers.

However, the percentage decreases slightly for larger credit purchases. For example, purchasing $100 worth of credits incurs an additional fee of $4.44 when paid by debit or credit card.

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One-on-One Video Lessons

After selecting your preferred instructor, a language learner can proceed to provide additional details and engage in a personalized video lesson with them. These sessions typically span from 30 to 90 minutes.

The flexibility of these sessions lies in your ability to collaborate with the instructor to tailor the lesson according to your preferences.

Whether you opt for structured textbook-based learning, casual conversation practice, or exam preparation, the choice is yours.

Personally, I’ve found italki to be an invaluable resource for honing conversation skills, especially since encountering native speakers in everyday life isn’t always feasible.

The quality of each session hinges upon the proficiency of the tutor. In my experience, most tutors have been punctual, well-prepared, and proactive, often taking notes during the lesson and providing supplementary materials afterward.

Since lessons are typically booked individually, switching tutors is hassle-free if your current one isn’t the right fit.

Furthermore, you have the option to rotate between multiple tutors to diversify your learning experience.

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The Nature of Lessons

The lessons offered on italki are as diverse as the instructors themselves and cater to your individual learning objectives.

I’ve encountered sessions that progressed at a painstakingly slow pace, where I found myself eager to conclude the lesson prematurely.

Conversely, there have been instances where time seemed to fly by, resembling more of a friendly conversation than a structured class.

Given the multitude of personalities and learning styles, what may appeal to one learner could be less favorable to another.

Personal preferences vary greatly, making it essential to explore different teaching styles through trial lessons.

Each native teacher offers a distinct experience, allowing you to discern which aligns best with your learning preferences.

In my experience, the general structure of most lessons remains consistent. Typically, for initial sessions, teachers add me on Skype a few minutes before the class commences.

During the lesson, the predominant activity involves online conversation, interspersed with feedback from the instructor.

The approach to error correction varies among teachers, with some addressing every mistake, while others adopt a more lenient approach. Additionally, some teachers make notes during the session to review at the end.

While I personally haven’t utilized this option, you have the flexibility to bring supplementary materials such as textbooks, reading materials, or writing assignments to incorporate into the lesson.

Most teachers are accommodating and adaptable to your preferences.

The italki Community

While italki is widely recognized for its affordable online language tutoring services, it offers an array of additional features within the italki app, collectively referred to as the “Community” features. Let’s explore each of these offerings in detail.

Within the italki app’s Discover section, you’ll encounter a plethora of content generated by fellow members of the italki community, encompassing both educators and learners.

Topics and Discussions

Under the “For You” segment, a diverse array of posts awaits, thoughtfully categorized into various topics. These posts cover a wide spectrum of discussions, ranging from general language discourse to more niche subjects like culinary delights or literary works.

Additionally, you’ll find individuals seeking answers to specific language-related queries and numerous learners actively seeking language partners for practice sessions.


Another invaluable segment of the italki Community is the Questions feature, where you can seek answers to any lingering language queries you may have.

Whether it’s determining the appropriate word usage in a specific context, grappling with grammar intricacies, or encountering any other puzzling inquiries during your studies, this platform is a repository for resolving such uncertainties.

Rest assured, you’re likely to find eager individuals willing to lend a hand with your inquiries.

In return, consider reciprocating by offering assistance with questions pertaining to your native language, thereby fostering a collaborative learning environment.

Language Exchange Partners

While italki lessons are generally cost-effective, if you prefer to forgo monetary expenditure altogether, you can leverage the platform to connect with language exchange partners.

Previously, this feature was a dedicated aspect of italki, allowing users to search for language partners using convenient filters such as native language, geographical location, and gender.

Regrettably, the process of connecting with fellow users has become slightly more convoluted.

Although messaging other language learners is still possible, you’ll need to compose a post expressing your intent to establish a language exchange partnership. One drawback of this change is the inundation of requests in other sections of the app.

Nonetheless, the potential for beneficial language exchange with a native speaker of your target language remains considerable.

With a vast and diverse user base, it’s effortless to find individuals willing to engage in language practice sessions, particularly for native English speakers.

italki Group Classes

Engaging in group classes through italki presents a structured, social, and cost-effective alternative to private lessons.

These classes cover a diverse array of topics, such as daily conversation, language essentials, travel, global culture, debating, hobbies, interests, and exam preparation.

Typically lasting for an hour or an hour and a half, group classes are available for various languages, including English, Spanish, French, and Japanese.

italki Language Tests

italki provides two types of tests: the Oxford Online Placement Test for English grammar and the paid italki Language Test.

The latter is available for seven languages, including English, French, Spanish, German, Japanese, Portuguese, and Italian, for a fee of $30.

Test results adhere to global standards and are comparable to widely recognized assessments such as CEFR, TOEFL, and TOEIC, encompassing speaking abilities.

Alternatively, the Oxford Online Placement Test assesses English grammar for approximately $10.

Community Exercises

Within the “Community” tab, users can access the exercises section, which features practice sentences in their native language from fellow learners, posts seeking language partners, and daily practice questions.

These daily prompts encourage users to craft journal entries within the community, fostering language practice and engagement.

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The italki Language Challenge

italki periodically organizes its Language Challenge, which invites students to enroll, select a learning objective—ranging from 5 to 24 hours—and strive to achieve it to unlock rewards. This challenge typically recurs three to four times a year and spans approximately one month.

Previous iterations of the challenge have witnessed a surge in lesson bookings, with up to ten times more lessons taken compared to regular months.

Advantages of Using italki

Let’s also have a brief overview of the pros and cons mentioned in this italki review to help you weigh the benefits and limitations of using this platform to learn languages

Wide Range of Languages

italki stands out for its extensive language options, offering a diverse array of languages that surpasses many other language learning platforms.

From commonly studied languages to lesser-known ones like Assiniboine and Basque, italki provides learners with opportunities to explore languages they may not have considered before.

Additionally, italki offers specific dialect options, catering to learners interested in particular regional variations.

For instance, learners seeking to study Taiwanese Mandarin can easily find suitable tutors from that specific region.

Varied Pricing for Tutors

One of the notable advantages of italki is the flexibility in pricing for tutors. Learners can discover tutors whose rates fit within their budget, with some tutors charging as low as $4 per hour.

Despite the varying rates, italki ensures the quality of its tutors through thorough vetting processes.

Whether learners opt for lower-priced community tutors or higher-priced professional tutors, they can expect quality instruction tailored to their needs.

Flexible Scheduling

italki offers learners the convenience of scheduling lessons according to their availability.

With the option to book trial lessons for as short as 30 minutes, learners can test the waters before committing to longer sessions.

Additionally, the platform allows learners to view tutors’ availability calendars and choose time slots that align with their schedules.

For those seeking a more structured approach, many tutors offer package deals, allowing learners to book multiple lessons at discounted rates.

Moreover, the availability of various lesson durations, ranging from 30 to 90 minutes, provides further flexibility to accommodate learners’ preferences and budgets.

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Limitations of Using italki

Limited Real-world Immersion

While italki offers a conducive environment for language practice, it may not fully replicate real-world scenarios.

Despite engaging in conversations with native speakers and tutors, learners may miss out on spontaneous interactions encountered in daily life, such as conversations at the grocery store or restaurant.

While tutors can teach idiomatic expressions and native ways of communication, italki sessions may still feel somewhat artificial compared to real-world immersion experiences.

Inconsistent Tutor Quality

Like any tutoring platform, italki may exhibit variations in tutor quality. While italki verifies all tutors, learners may encounter discrepancies in teaching styles, explanations, or compatibility with their learning preferences.

To address this, it’s advisable for learners to explore multiple tutors initially to find the right fit for their learning journey.

With a vast pool of tutors available, learners have the flexibility to switch tutors if needed until they find the ideal match.

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Final Verdict of this Italki Review – Is italki Worth It?

So, as we have seen, italki offers a wealth of opportunities for language learners seeking personalized instruction and flexible learning experiences.

With its extensive range of languages, diverse pricing options for tutors, and flexible scheduling, italki provides learners with the tools they need to tailor their language learning journey to their individual preferences and budgets.

While it may not fully replicate real-world immersion and consistency in tutor quality may vary, italki remains a valuable resource for language enthusiasts at all levels.

Ultimately, the worth of italki depends on the learner’s dedication, willingness to explore different tutors, and proactive engagement with the platform’s features.

For those seeking affordable, accessible, and effective language learning solutions, I can say in this italki review that the experience is a worthwhile investment in expanding linguistic horizons and achieving language proficiency.

FAQs from Language Learners about italki

Here are answers to some of the questions people ask about language learning with platforms for language exchange like italki.

Does italki really work for improving your language skills?

Absolutely! italki connects language learners with qualified teachers who tailor lessons to individual needs. Additionally, language exchanges with native speakers offer valuable practice opportunities.

In the italki communitiy, you can ask questions, get speaking practice of English, Spanish or any other language, and speak languages with other students so you learn a new language together.

Is italki a free app?

Yes, italki is a language tutoring app that is free to download and join. However, private tutoring sessions with qualified teachers incur charges.

Does italki cost money?

Yes, while italki itself is free, booking lessons with qualified teachers involves monetary transactions.

Is italki a dating site?

No, italki is not a dating site. It’s a platform primarily focused on language learning through interactions with qualified native teachers.

How much does italki cost?

The cost of italki varies depending on the teacher and lesson duration. Prices are set by individual native teachers and may range from a few dollars to over $50 per hour.

italki’s qualified teachers tailor their lessons to each learner’s style and learning goals.

How do lessons work on italki?

Lessons on italki are conducted through one-on-one video sessions with qualified teachers. Students can choose their preferred lesson type, such as structured classes or casual conversation practice.

How much do you get paid with italki?

As an italki teacher, your earnings depend on factors such as your teaching experience, qualifications, and pricing. Most italki’s qualified teachers find it a rewarding opportunity to earn income by sharing their language expertise.

Do you need a webcam for italki?

Yes, a webcam is typically required for participating in video lessons on italki. This allows for face-to-face interaction between teachers and students during sessions.

Is being an italki professional teacher worth it?

Many qualified teachers find being an italki professional teacher rewarding, as it offers the opportunity to connect with students globally, share language knowledge, and earn income through online language classes.

What languages does italki have?

italki offers a wide range of languages for video call tutoring, from commonly spoken ones like English, Spanish, and Mandarin, to less common languages.

Students can find qualified language teachers for their desired language, facilitating effective language learning.

Summing Up: italki Review for Spanish Learners

In conclusion, italki stands out as a versatile and accessible platform for Spanish learners seeking personalized language instruction.

With its diverse array of teachers, flexible pricing, and tailored learning options, the italki platform offers a conducive environment for improving your language skills.

Whether you’re a beginner embarking on your language learning journey or an advanced learner seeking to refine your skills, italki provides the resources and support necessary to achieve your goals.

Embrace the opportunity to connect with qualified teachers, engage in meaningful language exchange, and embark on a transformative linguistic adventure with this innovative tutoring platform.

Start your Spanish learning journey today and unlock a world of possibilities with italki.

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Enrolled: 5000000 students
Duration: Unlimited
Level: Beginner