Reviews: Italki – Find Portuguese Teachers Online & Practice Over Skype

By James Cave / Published: September 2020.
Posted in: Learning Portuguese

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Italki is an online language learning platform that allows you to connect with language teachers and book classes over Skype, Zoom, or iTalki’s own video chat platform. The teachers are all independent: iTalki is simply the platform that connects students and teachers.

And, good news: there are several teachers from Portugal on iTalki. Not many, unfortunately, but a few. There are also plenty more from Brazil as well as one or two from other Portuguese-speaking countries like Mozambique and Angola. 

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(Note: select from: Portugal to show teachers from Portugal otherwise you’ll see a lot of results from Brazil). 

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Most teachers offer several different types of classes including conversational practice, test preparation, business Portuguese, and normal one-on-one lessons in Portuguese. Some also offer Portuguese for kids. 

There are two different types of teachers on iTalki: professional teachers and community tutors. Professional teachers have a qualification or teaching experience in a school whereas community tutors are simply native or advanced level speakers who teach. Many of them are just as good as any of the professional teachers. 

So, you can do all of your lessons through iTalki or you can use iTalki to complement a course you’re studying. It’s particularly helpful for conversational practice, which is something many people don’t get to do a lot. 

Strengths & Weaknesses

Like every language tool, iTalki has its pros and its cons. 

Conversational Practice

A lot of people who use iTalki will be studying Portuguese themselves or in a group class and just need some conversational practice. Italki, in theory, is perfect for this. 

I say in theory because finding a good conversational teacher is hard to find. Many want to do lessons rather than chat aimlessly, and others are too polite and don’t correct all your mistakes. It’s certainly a unique skill and not every teacher has it, but it’s definitely worth practicing with a few teachers until you find it. 

Another benefit of iTalki is that you get to speak to people from all over Portugal, both male and female, which lets you get used to a few of the different accents. It’s also a good opportunity to practice speaking with people from Brazil. 

One-on-One Classes

Italki is also useful for one-on-one classes. You can take all your classes with an iTalki teacher, and they’ll set you homework and correct it, or you could take a self-study Portuguese course and use your iTalki lessons to get extra help on areas that you’re struggling with.

It’s also an opportunity to get your pronunciation or accent corrected and for a teacher to point out areas that you need to improve. 

Pricing

Italki (and its competitors) can be very affordable. It’s possible to find a Portuguese teacher for less than €10 per hour, and many of the teachers from Brazil charge even less. 

Considering this is as much, if not less, as you’d pay for a group class, this makes iTalki fantastic value for money. 

And, if you’ve never used iTalki before, you can get $10 off your first lesson.

Advanced Portuguese

While there’s plenty of material that covers A1-B2 Portuguese, things get a little trickier once you get to the C1 or C2-level. And, it can be hard to find teachers that cover this level: most just cover the beginner and intermediate levels. 

That’s where iTalki can help – in theory at least. Italki has lots of professional teachers, so it should be possible to find someone there who has experience teaching C1 or C2 Portuguese. 

Unfortunately, not. In fact, it was one of Italki’s competitors, Preply, that was the best for this as many teachers listed whether they taught beginner, intermediate, or advanced students. 

Alternatives

Although Italki is probably the most popular app for booking teachers, it’s definitely not the only one. There’s also Preply and Verbling and many other language learning apps, like Tandem, often allow you to book time with professional tutors through their apps as well. 

All are very similar, being honest, and even look similar. They all have some teachers from Portugal, and have teachers at a variety of different prices — although you’ll spot some similar names across each of the different platforms. 

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