When I was visiting Shanghai-based italki.com‘s offices this past November (see post) it was mentioned that some exciting news was in the pipes for the massive language learning site.Today, after completely forgetting that such newsbait had ever chummed this blogger’s waters, I was given the lowdown: italki has just launched a Language Marketplace.The new feature connects teachers and students for paid teaching of foreign languages. Teachers create a profile and set their own rates. Once approved, teachers are put in a listing that prospective students can browse for a suitable match.
Lessons are taught via an IM/VoIP service agreed upon by the teacher and student. Once completed, the lesson is paid for in italki credits (10 ITC = US$1). Credits can be cashed out at any time (min. 300 ITC or US$30) to a PayPal or Ali Pay account.
Just like many online marketplaces, buyers (students) are encouraged to give feedback about their experience, allowing the talented teachers to shine and the bunk ones to wither.
Though italki.com is based in China, its 400,000+ language learner community is spread out across the globe. And although many users are English and Chinese speakers, as you can see from the following list (a semi-random sample), a good number of languages have numerous teachers available:
Language–No. of Teachers
Sadly, no teachers of Esperanto yet, but considering the service just launched and it already has three teachers for Mongolian, I doubt it will be long.
Even if you’re not interested in shelling out the bucks for a live tutor (dead ones are, truly, unavailable), italki’s continued main focus is on its completely free online language exchange community and open-source language resources.
As I’m just getting back into studying Chinese after a year-long hiatus, I’m off to see if I can’t find myself an inexpensive tutor that will put up with my horrible tones.