Today we’d like to share the story of one of our learners who’s been studying Chinese for around 3 years and has found a way to get in touch with some new Chinese friends using HelloTalk (click to learn more), a language learning and exchange app.
You can see from his story that HelloTalk can be a useful tool for you to practice your spoken Chinese, correct mistakes, translate sentences, and interact with native speakers as well as other learners. When you enter the app, you start searching for native speakers of a language you are learning and who are interested in learning your native language. This sets up a mutually beneficial relationship, and you’re both getting the help you need!
This is his story:
“Language learning has always been one of my core interests. Originally my family had quite a rich linguistic background, as we’ve been moving between different countries since my childhood – during the early years of my life, we lived in the mountainous Caucasian valleys of Georgia, experienced frosty winters in Russia and Ukraine, as well as the desert heat of Israel. I’ve seen diverse cultures and heard different languages even at home, as my family members could speak Russian, Georgian, Hebrew, English and some other local languages in the different level of fluency, including Armenian and Turkish.
This lifestyle influenced my worldview, and further fueled my interest in different languages and cultures. Since my school years, I’ve been studying a number of languages, including Hebrew, Arabic, and got interested in some ancient Semitic languages. Later, upon graduation, I started learning Chinese, as Chinese history and culture have been a subject of my interest for quite a long time.
After studying the language for some time, I started searching for ways to find some friends from China who could help me improve my speaking skills, and just to learn more about Chinese culture. That’s how I stumbled upon HelloTalk.
As soon as I started digging around in the app, I found some extremely useful features that I now use every day.
- Translation and transliteration: this helped me a lot while I was still learning to read Chinese characters.
- Sentence correction: help your language partners correct their errors by sending them the corrected version of their messages. This is my personal favorite!
- Moments – a social element in the app – you can ask other users questions, share stories, or see parts of people’s everyday life around the world
When I started using the app, I easily found some people who were very friendly, and immediately starting helping me learn. In fact, I met some of my current best friends on HelloTalk. Now, I actually get the chance to use Chinese in my everyday life, because I found a job and have been living in China for the last 10 months. During this time I met with some of my HelloTalk friends that I started chatting with as long as 2 years ago! Amazingly, we kept contact and are still chatting and learning together on HelloTalk.
Not too long ago, I traveled to Qingdao to meet with one of them and got to experience some places with breathtaking views and magnificent atmosphere. My favorite so far has been mount Laoshan, but I also explored ancient Taoist and Buddhist temples, and have traveled to Hong Kong. There, I met with another good HelloTalk friend who I’ve been chatting to for years, since 2015. Thinking back, HelloTalk helped me a lot in building my friendship with the people who have become regular language partners. While using the app, I’ve also helped different people practice the languages I speak, including English, Hebrew, and Russian.
Along with Chineasy, which helps you expand your knowledge of Chinese characters and vocabulary, HelloTalk is a great way of practicing your new words and phrases and engaging with real native speakers who will be glad to help you. You can also always get in touch with me, and I’d be glad to help you anytime!
In case you’re wondering what this all looks like in real life, here are some examples of my chats with my friends. You can see that the learning functions in the app become just a real part of our conversation, and even when we’re just talking about our lives, we can still support our learning goals. And as you can see, I chat with lots of people in lots of different languages!’
This post is in collaboration with Hello Talk, an app for you to learn a language by chatting with native speakers around the world. For free!