Are online one-on-one lessons worth it? NEW five section video deck on Skritter!

italki video lesson

In November 2020 I sat down with my iTalki Chinese teacher to talk about all things related to online learning platforms and online tutoring. We ended up recording, transcribing, and subtitling the entire 50-minute lesson and turning it into a five-part study deck!

Check it out if you’re interested in listening in on our chat about online tutoring, regional accents, habit formation, and lots more. We recorded the whole lesson in Chinese this deck contains tons of high-frequency and critical vocabulary for understanding the conversation.

You can find the deck in the Featured tab of the Skritter: Write Chinese mobile apps, or you can just click on this dynamic link and it’ll open the app or website depending on how you’re reading this post.

Happy studying, everyone! Hope y’all enjoy this deck and be sure to let us know if you’re taking online lessons, or if this video helped you decide to take the plunge!


P.S. If you are thinking about signing up on iTalki but haven’t yet. Consider using Skritter’s referral link. We earn a small commission on referrals and we put the funds back into making more awesome content like this!


Excellent intro to Italki, and Notion, thanks. Both worth considering at some point, especially for non-immersed students of the language.

Hi Jake,

Although you’re speaking ability is really good, I also hope people will notice that what you are learning is Chinese with Taiwanese accent not standard Chinese (普通话). And when I hear you say pronunciation is very important I agree with you but maybe you goal is speaking with Taiwanese accent. That’s not clear to me.

I think students (especially when you are beginner) who want to learn standard Chinese better spend some money to take lesson at a qualified training institute which give more guarantee of a thorough language training.

I think if you check out italki you’ll find that you have your choice of teachers from Taiwan, Singapore, mainland China and elsewhere. It’s a personal preference which teacher you choose, I believe.

In my experience the accent used in Taipei is closer to standard than most you will experience on the mainland, though if you learn mandarin in cities south of Taipei you will encounter more of an actual Taiwanese accent.

In any case, if you go the immersion route, which a very serious student of the language is probably going to have to do at some point, it is inevitable - and natural - that you are going to pick up the local accent, wherever you choose to immerse yourself.

Becoming attuned to the many, many different accents across Greater China is a great advantage. Having a teacher who can distinguish these accents for you is important.


Thanks! In our video we talk a lot about accents actually. I think in a perfect world a student would get lots of exposure to various forms of spoken Mandarin and the accents.

I lived in Taiwan for three years so my accent it’s a byproduct of my own life experiences.

I can speak in a more “standard accent” when in “teaching mode,” and often switch my accent a bit depend on whom I’m speaking with, but it isn’t my default.

With that said, I’ve traveled China for over six months in total and never had a problem being understood. People know I lived in Taiwan for a spell but it never hindered communication.

I’d say the most important thing is just focusing on what makes the most sense for you and your studies. Find a teacher and program that works well for you, and don’t be afraid to mix things up a bit along the way!


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