Do you get me?? No, until about three weeks ago that would have made no sense to me either, so I’ll explain.
iTalki is online site that enables language learners to find internet-based language teachers, subscribe to one-on-one or group lessons, and also link up with other language learners to arrange learning exchanges where you spend, say, an hour talking together via Skype or equivalent, splitting the time between your two languages. It was something I found out about via the Fluent Forever quick start guide, which James passed onto me so I could get started again. I’m too impatient to go through the entire course book from beginning to end – I just want to know what to do and the quick start guide did this perfectly.
All this is because since going Facebook-free (which is going well, by the way) my resolve to get back into the French language has strengthened and I’m trying to use my time as well as I can: populating my Anki flashcards, revising said flashcards, listening to podcasts and, of course, using the language as often as I can (I know, I’m in France, but actually so many people speak or at least understand English that it’s necessary to politely decline their offer that you speak English otherwise I might spend years here and not see any improvement in my French.) And that’s all good but something was niggling me. I was toying with the idea of going to the conversation class, organised by the local MJC, once a week, but still I’m struggling with committing to regular time away from childcare and with no school or creche on Wednesdays I often have my hands full and like to have the option to do join in nice things and meet up with friends with children the same age so committing to it would be difficult right now. I really want someone to talk to just about that language, to help me with my learning and answer the questions I have. I considered putting a notice up at the local ludothèque to find someone else out there with a small child who would like to improve their English in exchange for helping me with my French, then our two small children could potter around while the children play. I also considered approaching a friend who I know doesn’t work in case she would be up for meeting me once a week in exchange for a small donation, but we don’t really have the money to commit to that right now, so it’s a no-no. And then I found iTalki.
So guess what I did? I found someone there who wants to set up a language exchange – 1/2 hour in French, 1/2 hour in English – so we can both improve. And my first meeting with her is tomorrow. I’m nervous as hell! I should also be preparing for it rather than writing this post, so in just a few words I’ll wrap up and go get on with it.
I’m nervous because, from what I’ve read, her level of English is way better than my level of French. I’m really still a novice. Also, she teaches French (via iTalki) so may start talking and decide that I really need lessons, that I’m not really good enough for any sort of conversation. Those are my two main concerns, I guess.
With that in mind I’m off to get ready. We’ve agreed (since this is all a bit “blind date”) to spend our first session introducing ourselves. I’m okay with that. Hopefully she will be kind with the questions. Likewise I will try to be.
I’ll report back afterwards. Wish me luck!