by Ben Lo | 4:05 am

Hi readers, have you ever felt that you have memorized so many words but your Chinese does not seem to go anywhere? Or have you ever experienced that you have studied so much but still could not understand what native speakers are talking about or not able to answer their questions?

If your answers are yes, allow me to introduce a platform for you to find Chinese native speakers to practice your conversational Chinese. The platform that I recommend is italki.

Some Features that I Personally Love

  • Q & A Board (Answers as shown above) – You can post questions about the language that you are learning on the board and people will give out their answers. Often, you will get two to five or even more answers. And you choose one as the best answer. This way, if other learners have the same questions, they can refer to this post and do not have to ask again.
  • Language Exchange Partners – if you do not want to pay for a teacher, you can also try to reach out for native speakers who happen to be learning your mother tongue. In this way, you can teach your partner your mother tongue and your partner can teach you the language that you are learning.
  • Professional Teachers V.S. Community Tutors on italki, you can find both professional teachers and community tutors. Professional teachers refer to those who have professional teaching credential certification documents, while community tutors are native speakers who would like to help language learners improve their language proficiency. In my opinion, professional teachers tend to have more teaching techniques, in other words more professional, while community tutors are more creative and relaxing.
  • Notebook (Composition) – If you are practicing writing short passages, a diary or a composition in the language that you are learning, you can post them here and ask native speakers to correct them. It is a very great way to internalize the words, grammar and sentences structures that you have been learning. Highly recommended.

Some Positive Feedback from My Students

Most of the feedback I received from my students are fun, helpful, supportive and progressive.

Instead of learning from textbooks or in the classroom, there is another way of learning by talking to native speakers directly. This is the time that you really get the essence of languages – communication. Though there will be lots of mistakes, mumbling, mispronunciation or even having a hard time expressing yourself clearly, you are actually using that language to communicate with real people. This way, you will be growing along the way and the best of it is you are having fun.

A professional teacher or community tutor can quickly identify your blind spots, mistakes and provide you with suggestions to improve. This is real-time learning and is effective in your language learning journey.

Sometimes you are good enough. You are just not confidence enough. Once you feel more comfortable speaking in the language that you are learning with native speakers and become more fluent, you will be gaining more confidence when you are using that foreign language.

As time goes by, you can definitely see your progress along the way.

Talk To Me on Italki

If you have been reading my articles for a while and are interested in practicing your conversational Chinese with me, I am also offering lessons on italki. You can simply click here to book a trial lesson with me online (Search Ben). I am very looking forward to seeing you all online.

I also made a video about myself and posted it on YouTube.

Wish you all the best on your Chinese language and Chinese culture learning journey.

 


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Comments

Jerry M

Hi Ben, thanks for your post, it really shows that you loves italky, I went to China last year I could used a good translate software, I will keep your recommendation in mind. In today world having the possibility of communicating without the barrier of the language would be my marketing dream, I wish you luck and God bless you.

Jan 22.2019 | 02:56 am

    Ben Lo

    I really do love the platform because I personally learn Korean and Thai on italki and have lots of fun practicing the language with native speakers. True, as the technology gets more developed, we might not really need to learn a foreign language to communicate with others. But we all know that when we have a good command of a foreign language, it offers not just the language itself but the way we see the world and the way we think. Thank you. Good luck to you too. 

    Jan 22.2019 | 04:36 am

Seun Afotanju

Thanks for helping out Chinese is one Language I know I can”t learn on my own I have tried writing down few words I know and end up speaking it the wrong way, but with your help I think I will he able to speak and understand Chinese frequently thanks for the tutorial offered looking forward to learning from you.

Jan 22.2019 | 02:57 am

    Ben Lo

    Exactly, it is always a good idea to learn from conversation when it comes to Chinese language learning. Otherwise, the complicated Chinese characters might scare you away in the very first place. No problem. Feel free to find me on italki. Look forward to meeting you too. 

    Jan 22.2019 | 04:31 am

stefan

Hi Ben, nice to meet you. I live in Thailand and the Chinese language is quite often a part of school here. 

My daughter is not yet learning Chinese but it will be on the time table soon. I’m glad to now have a connection where she can get additional help if needed.

I’ll bookmark your site for future use, thanks 🙂

Jan 22.2019 | 02:57 am

    Ben Lo

    Yes, I used to live in Bangkok for a year too. There are really lots of Chinese there so the language is getting more and more popular there. Sure. Feel free to use the resources on italki to sharpen the foreign languages that you are learning now or in the near future. Good luck and have fun. 

    Jan 22.2019 | 04:30 am

Sondra M

Thank you for introducing me to italki.   It sounds like a program that I would benefit very much.   

I like that it allows you to improve both written and conversational Chinese.    I find that conversational Chinese is much harder when you get out of the classroom environment.   Outside of a classroom, people speak much faster.  I was learning to understand my professor’s voice and speech patterns.   Yet, once I started spending some time with native speakers, I could only understand pieces of the conversation.     

Is a “student’ able to use a language exchange partner and a tutor or a professional teacher?  Or, are you required to choice one or the other?   Thank you in advance?  

Jan 22.2019 | 02:59 am

    Ben Lo

    I think that applies to every foreign languages that we learn. I have the same experience with English. In the class, I can basically understand 80-90% of what professors teach. But that is not the case when I go out and have daily conversation with native speakers. 

    You can choose one of them or all of them. Say, If I am learning Korean, I can have language exchange partners, tutors and professional teachers. There is not limits. You can decide what you would like to have. Hope it helps. 

    Jan 22.2019 | 04:28 am

Micah

What a great resource!  I think I value the opportunity to spend time with a native speaker over time with studying books.  It reminds me of when I was in high school learning spanish.  I think I learned more spending a vacation with a good friend and his family who spoke Spanish, than I did in a semester of class!

Do you run into time difference issues between those in the States and those overseas?

Jan 22.2019 | 03:02 am

    admin

    Yes, it is a good one. Highly recommended. I have the most unforgettable experience of talking to native speakers as well. As for the time differences, the platform will show you the time based on the location that you fill out, so you don’t really have to worry about the time differences at all. 

    Jan 22.2019 | 04:22 am

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