italki vs LingoCulture: A full review of both online language platforms

Celine Segueg

If your goal is to learn French quickly but can’t focus your life on total immersion, taking regular one-on-one lessons is probably the best way to get conversational fast. And while in-person instruction may be great, online French classes are often the ideal option thanks to their flexibility and convenience. But where can you find the perfect French teacher online?

Several platforms offer online French classes, but how do you choose the right one for your needs and lifestyle? You may have heard about italki, so today we’ll give an overview of how it works, including its pros and cons for different types of French learners. In particular, we’ll compare all the fundamentals with our platform, offering a fair comparison of italki vs LingoCulture.

In case you’re not familiar with LingoCulture yet, this post will provide ample details on the same fundamentals. And don’t worry! Even though this is our site, we’ll do our best to present our italki review objectively too! We’re totally candid on where we think italki’s offering should be considered over ours.

This post was researched thoroughly by signing up on italki and taking a couple of language classes over videochat, as well as reading through all their user agreement pages, all their FAQs, and tons of reviews. You can do the same thing if you want, but we’re confident you’ll come to the same conclusions we share here. Basically, we’ve done this research into these online language learning platforms for you.

So read on to find out all the essentials about learning French online with italki vs LingoCulture! We’ll start out with a basic overview of each online language learning platform, and then move on to specifics.

This article is brought to you by LingoCulture, Where you can get unlimited private French classes via Zoom with native teachers for a flat monthly rate. It’s the closest thing to immersion you can get without living in a French-speaking country. Click here to learn more.

Italki vs LingoCulture: The basics

Here we give a quick rundown on how each language school works. We’ve highlighted various aspects that we explore in more detail in subsequent sections.

How does iTalki work?

iTalki is a marketplace connecting language teachers with students, with dozens of available languages. As a student, you search for a teacher, and you book classes with a specific teacher. Anyone who speaks the language can offer their services as an italki instructor, so the platform has an extra accreditation icon for teachers with some professional training.

Each teacher sets their own rate, which students pay through the iTalki platform. Teachers earn money for each class they teach, minus the italki commission.

For popular languages like French, iTalki teachers are available essentially around the clock, and it’s often possible to book a lesson on short notice. Students pay for each class individually. Booked classes can be canceled up to 24 hours beforehand for a full credit.

Classes happen over videochat, and are normally one-on-one. Each teacher provides their own learning materials. For continuity, students tend to find a teacher they like and continue learning regularly with that same person.

How does LingoCulture work?

LingoCulture is an online French language school with a roster of French teachers on staff. It’s subscription-based, giving students unlimited access to one-on-one French lessons for a flat rate. Classes are always one-on-one over videochat through the LingoCulture platform.

All LingoCulture instructors are trained language teachers. The comprehensive LingoCulture curriculum, developed in-house, is used by all of the teachers. Students can always choose specific teachers, whereas the streamlined curriculum also allows continuity between instructors.

Classes are available seven days a week from 6am to midnight, France time. Lessons can be booked in advance or last-minute, and can be cancelled without penalty. LingoCulture teachers earn money by keeping set hours of availability.

Italki vs LingoCulture: The details

Now that we have an idea of how each one works, let’s dig deeper into the details as we compare italki and LingoCulture. Feel free to scroll down to the section you’re interested in: we cover everything here!

Signing up, first lessons


While visitors to the italki site can search through teachers, creating an italki account is required to actually book a lesson. Signup is fairly straightforward, where you basically declare which languages you speak, which one you’re looking to learn, and what your main goal is with the language. You don’t need to enter your bank info until you book a lesson.

When you first sign up for italki, you’re entitled to three 30-minute lessons at a discounted rate to try things out. The intent of this “discovery rate,” which is only offered by certain instructors, is to find a teacher whose style you like and then stick with that person at their regular rate.


LingoCulture offers a full week of unlimited language lessons for an introductory rate of $1. In this time, new students are encouraged to take a bunch of classes to try out the platform and meet a number of different teachers. You can only search for teachers once you’ve signed up; you have full access as soon as you’ve created your profile.

LingoCulture Signup is also pretty straightforward. You enter some basic info about yourself, your French level, and your aspirations with the language. You enter your bank info to pay for the first $1, and you agree to monthly autopayments if you choose to keep your subscription after the introductory week.


You can sign up for either platform pretty quickly. Signup gets you a week of full access to LingoCulture for just $1. On italki it gives full access to any teachers at their normal rates, with the possibility of three discounted lessons.

Who are the teachers?


Italki’s marketplace boasts over 1000 French teachers. Instructors with certain credentials can obtain “professional teacher” accreditation on italki, whereas anyone with a decent level in a language can offer their services as an italki “community tutor.” Everyone giving lessons on italki is responsible for developing their own curricula and learning materials.

Italki teachers are all independent contractors, marketing their services individually through the platform. Italki teachers set their own rates and hours, so their earnings through italki are a direct correlation of what’s paid by each of their students.


LingoCulture has over 200 teachers on staff. They’re all professional teachers, trained both in the intricacies of the language as well on teaching methods. All LingoCulture teachers work with the same curriculum and learning materials, while still having the flexibility to personalize their approach.

Teachers work directly for LingoCulture. They keep regular on-call hours to provide lessons to students. Their earnings are correlated to how many hours they’re available, providing a reliable income source regardless of how many classes are booked.


Italki is a language teaching marketplace with over 20,000 registered tutors offering instruction in over 150 languages. It’s clearly a great place to find a teacher for minor languages. For a major language like French, with over 1000 individual teachers to choose from, it may be difficult to find the one you’ll want to learn with long-term.

The standardized curriculum is clearly a strength on LingoCulture, since every teacher on italki is obliged to create their own.

Choosing a teacher


Choosing an online French tutor through italki basically involves applying some filters, reading a bunch of reviews, and trying a first lesson. Students are encouraged to give a review of every teacher after each lesson.

Since there’s no standardization between instructors on the platform, results can vary wildly between individuals. Many are excellent teachers with years of experience, with per-class rates to match.

Ideally, when you find a teacher you like, that individual will be able to take you on as your regular language tutor for the long haul. Maintaining continuity between italki instructors isn’t really possible otherwise.


LingoCulture also offers filters to choose between teachers, as well as a way to save preferred teachers. Students can also give reviews of their teachers, which are just as relevant to us internally as a mechanism to facilitate improvement among our teaching staff.

All LingoCulture instructors are professional teachers working within the platform. Each lesson concludes with the teacher noting the student’s progress in the system. Since LingoCulture teachers all use the same curriculum, students can switch instructors without starting fresh each time.


There’s more predictability in the quality of teaching staff on LingoCulture than italki, though italki definitely has a much broader selection of individuals. For longer-term learning, you can either try to retain the services of one teacher on italki, or work with the whole team of staff teachers on LingoCulture who all share a curriculum and notes on their students.



Italki instructors each choose how they offer their classes, with standard lessons of 30, 60, or 90 minutes. In general, lessons are one-on-one, though some teachers offer small group classes on fixed schedules.

Everything happens online over videochat. Italki has its in-house platform that you can just use within your internet browser, though some teachers prefer connecting via other apps like Zoom, Skype, Messenger, or Google chat. Likewise, learning materials may be similarly dispersed.


A single time slot for a lesson on LingoCulture is 30 minutes, though most students usually book two back-to-back slots for a 60-minute lesson. All lessons are one-on-one between student and teacher.

Classes take place on videochat on LingoCulture’s in-house platform, directly within your web browser. The platform includes a chat pane where teachers can share notes, which are all saved to your profile for easy reference. Learning materials remain available between classes so you can review the lessons and track your progress.


Both LingoCulture and italki offer one-on-one online French classes in 30-minute increments over videochat. It’s the teachers who choose how long they offer their lessons on italki, whereas on LingoCulture it’s the students who decide how may time slots to take at once.

LingoCulture always uses its videochat platform, whereas some italki teachers may require students to download additional videoconferencing apps.

Additional learning resources


Italki has several additional resources available to students to help improve their language skills outside of the one-on-one lessons. You must have an account and be logged in to access any of them.

Since it’s a massive platform with so many langages on offer, many of the resources are focused on broader topics related to language in general. Let’s look at what they have related specifically to learning French online:

  • Discussion boards, organized by topic, where users share questions and responses about the language.
  • Writing prompts to get you to write about something specific in the language, where users see each others’ responses.
  • Articles on specific facets of the language, in the form of a blog.
  • Short podcasts about specific facets of the language.
  • Assessment tests to determine your level in the language.
  • Quizzes to practice specific facets of the language.

Italki itself doesn’t provide learning aids that correlate directly with your online French lessons; it’s up to each teacher to come up with their own materials.


At LingoCulture, students have access to learning materials for each unit of the curriculum. You see where you are in the overall course when you’re logged in to your user area, so you can review the lessons whenever you’d like. These include slides that outline the various grammar lessons and vocab lists.

In addition, all course notes between students and teachers are saved, allowing students to go back and refer to anything that was raised specifically for them.

Outside of the platform, LingoCulture has an extensive library of blog posts that offer detailed lessons on specific facets of the French language. These articles are available to anyone on the internet, and look at a wide variety of topics on French grammar, vocabulary, and culture.


Both platforms offer a diverse variety of language lessons through their blogs, while italki also has a podcast.

LingoCulture’s blog posts are open to all, while all of the italki resources we mention here can only be accessed when logged in to their platform. They’re nonetheless still free! Other italki resources include a user discussion board, writing prompts, short quizzes, and assessment tests.

Italki does not have any specific resources that align with a student’s learning journey. LingoCulture, on the other hand, has a full curriculum whose resources are available to students.

Scheduling lessons


Since there are over 1000 French teachers offering their services through italki, you can probably find someone who’s willing to teach you French at any time of day or night. If you want to take lessons with a specific teacher, however, you’ll need to conform to the schedule that they offer.

For most teachers, you first need to request a time slot in order to schedule a lesson. They’ll then have 24 hours to accept your request and offer you a lesson at that time. You then need to confirm their offer in order to accept and confirm it. If either of you doesn’t respond in time, the class is not scheduled. In general, this scheduling protocol means that even italki considers that planning your lessons less than 72 hours ahead of time is last-minute.

Some teachers also offer instant booking, meaning that they’re online and ready to teach on short notice. This back-and-forth process of accepting still happens, but much more quickly. Once you get into a habit of learning with a specific teacher on italki, scheduling can be worked out more easily between the two of you.

You’re charged for the lesson once it’s confirmed.


Since LingoCulture teachers are on staff, they keep fixed hours. Lessons are offered every day from 6am to midnight, France time. You can book your online French lessons up to a week in advance, or you can just schedule them at the last minute.

You see what time slots are available when you’re logged in. If you want to schedule a 60 minute lesson, you can even filter for back-to-back slots that are available with the same teacher. Once you choose your time and hit “confirm,” your lesson is confirmed!


Scheduling is definitely more straightforward with LingoCulture vs italki, since it’s just the student who needs to confirm the time slot.

LingoCulture teachers are available for 18 hours a day. Individual italki instructors choose their own availability, so certain teachers are inevitably available for those remaining 6 hours. On the other hand, students have much less flexibility if they want to keep learning with a specific teacher on italki.



We already touched on italki’s scheduling protocols, where classes should be booked a minimum of 72 hours in advance. But what about changes or cancellations? Their policy states that a lesson on italki can be cancelled up to 24 hours in advance. If you cancel in time, you get a credit in your italki account that you can use for another lesson later. If you don’t cancel in time, your instructor still gets paid for having committed to the lesson.

In the off chance that your teacher fails to show up to a lesson, you can request a refund that gets credited to your italki account.

If you want to change the time of a language lesson in italki, you need to cancel and reschedule.


Scheduling and modifying classes in LingoCulture all happens with a few clicks in your user profile. If you need to cancel, please just do so before the lesson so the teacher’s time slot opens up. There’s no penalty; it’s just about respect.

In the rare event that a teacher needs to cancel, another teacher will take their place with no effect on the student.


Basically, italki facilitates agreements between students and teachers to show up for their language lessons. The confirmation process is a bit cumbersome, so it’s best to stick with the schedule once it’s locked in. There’s still some room for changes, but within limits.

LingoCulture’s scheduling process is way more streamlined, with full flexibility to cancel or modify booked classes based on mutual respect.

Continuity in learning


Italki is a marketplace connecting learners to teachers. Ideally, a student will find a teacher and learn with them regularly to progress in the language. In this way, continuity is maintained through that individual relationship between teacher and student.

Taking a lesson with a new teacher every time can still offer language practice, but not the same sort of continuity.


Since LingoCulture is a language school with a uniform curriculum, students can maintain continuity regardless of the individual instructor they work with on a given day. Still, most students tend to have a handful of favorite teachers they work with regularly to get the same benefits.


The two platforms have very different realities for keeping continuity in your language learning.

With italki you’ll need to commit to the same italki instructor, which inevitably means conforming to their schedule of availability.

With LingoCulture you remove the scheduling limitation entirely since different teachers all share the same curriculum, while still maintaining the opportunity to stick with the same handful of teachers.



Prices on italki can vary wildly, based on a number of factors. Base prices are set by teachers on a per-lesson basis, so it’s hard to even compare them when lessons can vary between 30 and 90 minutes. When you sign up you’ll also see the “discovery rate” for some teachers, which can only be used three times before you only have access to the regular base rates.

Teachers decide their own prices, so expect to pay more for a “certified teacher” than for a “community tutor.” New teachers may also charge lower rates to attract new students, while teachers with a few bad reviews may lower their rates. Teachers with a reliable pool of students can also choose to raise their rates.

Payment fees will always be added to the base price at checkout, so the total cost for a lesson is always higher than the tutor’s posted rate. Some of the payment methods trigger much higher surcharges than others, but none of them are free.

Additional taxes are also added based on the jurisdiction where you declare your residence, with some higher than others. There are also often exchange rates to contend with.

A survey of 2024 italki prices shows a range from about $5 to $35 for a 1-hour lesson with a French “community tutor,” and $8 to $40 with a “certified teacher.” If you’re not aiming just at the lowest offerings, the median hourly rate appears to be in the range of $10 to $25.


LingoCulture functions on a flat-rate subscription, at US$197 per month. It’s just $1 to sign up for the first week. If you choose to stick with it, the monthly tuition is charged on the 8th day and then each month on that same day. Cancel anytime before the next billing date.

There are never any additional fees.

Joining LingoCulture offers unlimited online French lessons, so the per-hour or per-lesson price depends on how many classes you take. Some students spend one or two hours nearly every day, while others only take a lesson every couple of days. Even at three one-hour classes per week, this comes to less than $10 per hour. The price is the same even if you use it more often.


If you’ll only be taking a couple of language lessons per month, italki is clearly more economical because you only pay by the lesson. Some italki teachers also offer very low rates, though there’s undoubtedly a strong correlation between their pricing and their motivation and experience. Keep in mind that the posted rates on italki always go up at checkout due to their additional fees.

If you’re committed to studying regularly enough to really learn French online, LingoCulture’s unlimited model is more economical as long as you use it enough. After the $1 trial week, the price is fixed at $197 per month for unlimited access to live one-on-one videochat French classes.

Conclusion: italki vs LingoCulture

If your goal is to learn the language, you can take one-on-one French lessons on videochat through both italki and LingoCulture. Aside from that fundamental offering, however, there are few similarities between the two platforms.

The essential difference is that LingoCulture is a company, so its platform is a self-contained French language school, whereas italki is a marketplace, designed to simply allow independent language teachers and students to find each other. Learning French with LingoCulture is a full package, while on italki it all comes down to the individual teacher you opt for.

Italki is great for individual lessons here and there, especially if you just want a bit of speaking practice without the need for continuity. It’s also a an excellent option if you want to learn another language where dedicated schools are harder to find. LingoCulture’s sole focus is French and works on a subscription model, so it’s the best option for serious students whose goal is to learn French fast. The standardized curriculum facilitates easy switching between teachers for continuity.

Italki offers an assortment of additional learning materials once you’re signed up, including blog posts and user-generated discussion boards. For any materials that correspond specifically to your learning program, it all depends on your individual teacher. LingoCulture also offers free French lessons on its blog, with a vast library of detailed posts on grammar, vocab, and culture. From their profile, all LingoCulture students have access to every lesson of their learning program to study at their leisure, corresponding to the comprehensive curriculum.

Booking lessons through italki usually takes some planning, while modifying a booking comes with stipulations. Prices are per lesson plus fees, mostly ranging between $10 and $25 per hour. LingoCulture classes can be booked easily and at the last minute, with easy modifications if needed. Classes are truly unlimited for a monthly price of US$197, with no additional fees.

To sum up, both italki and LingoCulture have their merits, depending on what you’re looking for. If you just want to take a few lessons, then find yourself a teacher on italki’s marketplace. But if you’re serious about learning French and you want to make progress with teachers on a regular basis, then signing up for LingoCulture is an excellent option.