(N.b. I’ve been ill, so am reposting the article I wrote this time last year, perhaps as an example of hubris… The three conversation lessons I boasted of taking each week did become four not long after I’d pubished it, adding French to my weekly chats in Swedish, Turkish and Spanish. And not long after that, my job went online, which meant it was easier to fit it all in. But fast forward to the summer of 2021 and one of my teachers had health issues, another got a proper job and quit online teaching, while the third (whose regular slot was a Friday afternoon) came a poor second place to the lure of long weekends at the coast! And then, just when I should have been getting things back on track, I ended up in hospital myself, which messed things up even further! So for now, it’s Swedish only. But I’ll sort myself out with online teachers as soon as I’m well, I swear!)
Occasionally people write to me to plead that my regular articles are TOO LONG, and why on earth can’t I write LESS?
Others tell me that they enjoy the articles and insist that I keep them coming, just as they are!
Beh, I guess that shows that you can’t please all of the people all of the time, right?
However, this week we’re all rather busy here at club HQ. I’m on customer service, so checking incoming orders from our online shop, dealing with issues that come up as best I can, and forwarding online lesson orders to our teaching manager, Lucia.
She, in her turn, is busy, too – contacting new students to find out when they want to take their lessons, in which time zone, and what their priorities are. Which is what she needs to know so she can match them up with a suitable teacher.
Plus, of course, Lucia confirms top-up lesson credit purchases to our many current students. We have hundreds, spread out all over the world, from Europe to North America, down as far as Australia and New Zealand, across to South America, and back via Africa (apologies if I’ve missed anyone.)
So va bene, I’ll TRY and write less this week, OK? Really.
Today’s theme (marketing, as we have the Autumn Sale on) is this: why do so many club members choose to take online lessons with a club teacher, rather than some random Italian found by chance on the Internet?
I’d suppose it’s because they prefer to deal with people, rather than the automated booking systems which are so common now. I’ve tried these systems and, while the tech seems to work OK, they bear little resemblance to how actual language schools do things.
Or perhaps it’s due to the fact that they prefer to be taught by people who have been screened and selected by an experienced Director of Studies, someone who knows from decades of practice how to pick out hard-working professional language teachers from the crowd of native-speaker, need-the-cash-because-the-economy-is-so-bad, teacher wannabes.
Whatever the explanation, the results are pleasing, as evidenced by the many genuine, unedited reviews we’ve accumulated over the years. Many of the reviewers have given their teachers, and Lucia of course, five stars!
I’d add that, besides marketing online lessons and so keeping our team busy, I also study languages myself. Each week I chat online with a Mexican Spanish teacher (chosen for me by Lucia), an Italy-based Turkish teacher who I found myself, and a Swedish OnlineItalianClub.com member who volunteered to listen to me murdering his language for thirty minutes each Thursday morning. And when things are a little less busy, I’ll also be restarting with French conversation practice – my new teacher was harvesting grapes for a while, but I’m determined to get back to it!
Do I actually ‘study’ all of those languages? Well of course not. In fact I never study at all these days (I did study Swedish for a while a few years back.) But the regular weekly chat with a native-speaker helps me keep my communication skills fresh in the languages I know reasonably well (Turkish and Swedish), and build experience expressing myself, listening, and interacting in the others (French and Spanish.)
Three or four lessons a week are a commitment, a big chunk out of my working week, in fact. But, besides the fact that it helps when I have to write articles like this one, I continue because: 1.) it’s fun to chat with ‘friends’ in their own language, and 2.) the results are ‘impressionante’, as Italians would say.
Four years ago, I spoke English and Italian, e basta. Which wasn’t much to boast about because I live in Italy and teach English. I had some French from school, and dormant Turkish from thirty years back when I started my career with three one-year contracts in Ankara, the Turkish capital.
So I was nervous about becoming a student again, reluctant to ‘give up control’, and sceptical that teachers would waste my time, that I wouldn’t derive any value from the lessons.
But I was wrong, I admit it. As well as now having learnt Swedish from zero (my level is maybe B1, B2 for reading and listening), and reactivated my Turkish, I’ve become confident enough to try the same approach with Spanish (which SHOULD be easy if you know Italian) and French (just starting, but and because ditto.)
Così. If you can find the time, you should give this a try. It works for me, and it apparently works for the many people who have left positive reviews. Speaking and listening practice are the way to go (I also like to read the languages I’m learning). Grammar books are, in my opinion, entirely optional, though I’m sure our teachers would disagree.
As mentioned above, the Autumn Sale started on Monday, which means that all this week you can save a fifth on the cost of online Italian lessons and ebooks for learning Italian. Many of our regular online students have already bought additional lesson credits!
The next sale won’t be until the end of December, which is approximately twelve weeks from now. So if you’d like to work on your speaking skills (or whatever else – lesson content is up to you) with one of our friendly, experienced online Italian teachers, seize this chance to save 20% on the advertised price.
Remember to copy and paste the coupon code ( 2021-Autumn-Sale-20%-Off ) into your shopping cart, where it says ‘Coupon code’.
Browse Italian lesson options in our shop.
And while you’re there, why not stock up on ebooks for learning Italian?
2021 Autumn Sale!
- Use coupon code 2021-Autumn-Sale-20%-Off to save 20% on everything!
- This promotion ends at midnight on Sunday 10th of October 2021
- There’s no minimum or maximum spend
- Use the above coupon as often as you wish while the offer lasts
- The coupon code is valid for items which are already discounted, such as ebook multipacks or packs of online Italian lesson credits
- Payment options include Credit card/Stripe, Amazon, Paypal, and bank transfer (only advisable if you have a UK bank account)
- If you experience problems at the payment stage, email email@example.com for help and reassurance! And don’t worry – mistakes can be rectified.
N.b. To get the 20% discount, don’t forget to carefully copy and paste coupon code – 2021-Autumn-Sale-20%-Off – when you’ve done that, press the dark blue ‘Apply Coupon’ button, then finally scroll down to check that the discount has been applied to the cart total (do all this BEFORE you proceed to the payment stage!)
There are always a few people who forget that part.