Looking for a Lingoda review? Here’s all you need to know about using the platform, my experience and pros and cons from a real user. Enjoy!
At the start of the year, I decided it was time. Time to stop half-learning languages through free apps, spending hours browsing blogs and Youtube videos, and the endless hopeless feeling that comes with realizing you’re far from the ‘path to fluency’ as they say.
Today I want to give you an honest review of Lingoda, with the good, the bad — and everything I’ve learned so far from my five months on the platform.
But before I breakdown this full Lingoda review, let’s take it back to the beginning…
My Journey with Language Learning
In all honesty, I always thought language learning just wasn’t for me. Starting with a rocky start in French, swiftly moving onto Spanish, before taking a random jump to Mandarin all within the span of a few short years.
But at the end of it — I was fluent in none. And resigned to thinking maybe this whole language learning thing wasn’t for me. Then I turned 19, and took a trip to Paris that changed my life.
I went with my boyfriend at the time who along with me, only spoke English. We spent the trip pursuing cafes, sitting underneath a starry Eiffel Tower, and eating all the macaroons we could get our hands on.
But, what didn’t we do? Speak French. And by the end of the trip, I felt horrible. So many interactions lost over lack of a common language — sure I remembered a few bits and pieces from school, but overall, I was helpless.
When I got home, I promised myself the next time I went from London to Paris I would be speaking French. I started hitting the books again, and by books, I mean free apps, Youtube, and blogs with freebie opt-ins promising to help me learn a language FAST (yes, in caps, bold, and italics).
But, like a broken record, I found myself overwhelmed again, unable to keep up with what I was learning, and if you can guess the pattern — I gave up again.
A New Start in China
Two years later, I moved to Shanghai. And when I started learning Mandarin, it finally hit me. I felt committed, motivated, and immersed in the language completely, and before I knew it I was ordering dumplings in Chinese with ease and even having small talk with my Chinese neighbors , it was…amazing.
Looking back, I’ve tried to pinpoint what the difference was between now and then, I mean, I still used free apps from time to time and went down Youtube rabbit holes, then I realized…
It was because of live practice…all the time.
Surrounded by Mandarin speakers 24/7 I was forced to adapt. But when I moved back to London, this realization left me a bit depressed to be honest.
“Does this mean I have to live in the country of every language I learn?”
Obviously, that’s not realistic. In addition, with my work schedule, keeping up my blog and Instagram, and overall trying to remain a sane human — I didn’t have time to waste anymore. If I was going to learn a new language, I needed a roadmap, I needed flexibility with my classes, and I needed to learn from native speakers — not robots.
What is Lingoda?
Lingoda is a certified online language school following the European Framework of Reference for Languages (CEFR) to take students from A1 (elementary vocab) to C1 (fluent) mastery level, backed by 20 years of research from Oxford and Cambridge University.
Once you pass each level, you’ll get an official certification that you can use for your work, school, or even a visa application!
Their language learning approach is a bit radical for the online language learning world — as they strongly disbelieve in apps (which let’s face it, is half of the language learning industry nowadays). Rather, their mission is to motivate students to build daily habits and set realistic goals to achieve fluency through live and interactive language learning.
How Lingoda Works
Tech-wise, you’ll just need a laptop and Zoom to get started with the platform. When you go on Lingoda you’ll see the option to take a placement test — take it! This will tell you where you should begin (from A1-C1) in French, German, Spanish, English, or Business English. At the time of writing these are the only languages they offer.
Then it’s time to choose your plan, this can be a monthly subscription or a Marathon course. The monthly subscription comes with a set amount of classes, paid for every 30 days. The Marathon courses are a one-time payment for 3,6 and 12-months.
With the Marathon courses, you have the option to get up to 20% cashback when you attend all your classes in that timeframe. You’ll also get the option to earn up to 100% cashback when you join their Lingoda Sprint (I’ll get to that a bit later).
Anyways, once you’re all signed up you’ll be able to choose if you want private or group classes and can start booking immediately!
Lingoda Review: What Makes Lingoda Different?
Each class is led by a native-speaking teacher using Lingoda’s curriculum.
I never realized how important this was until I remembered that barely any of my middle or high school teachers were from the country of the language they were teaching.
Whenever I asked about more casual ways to say something, or for colloquial phrases (you know, the kind you can only know if you’re from there) they’d go blank. But in class, I’m constantly picking up little nuances that only native speakers would know.
Another issue with language learning classes for me was the time schedule. Getting around London can be a pain and so I wasn’t that keen on taking the tube to Central twice a week just for an hour lesson. Of course, the events of 2020 have changed this for most, but Lingoda’s always had this system — 24/7.
Being able to pick my classes at any time of the day has been a lifesaver for squeezing in language learning to my busy days of working and blogging (and the occasional ‘Instagramming’ as they call it).
Another thing you’ll notice about your classes is there’s never more than 3-5 people.
This was intentional as intimate settings are always better for language learning. Think about it — when you’re in a class of 20 people, how much talking time do you get? My guess is…not much.
But with Lingoda, you’ll find yourself stumbling in a new language more often than you’re comfortable with in the beginning (although it’s a good thing) as speaking is mandatory and rotates throughout the class — practice makes perfect!
Lingoda Review: My Experience: Pros and Cons
I started using Lingoda in January of 2021 for A1 French, to date (April 2021), I’m on A2 French and can comfortably read basic text, hold small talk conversations, and even answer questions in French on my Instagram stories now! But I don’t think it’d be a proper Lingoda review if I didn’t include the pros and cons of using the platform, so here we go:
To avoid sounding repetitive — native speakers for teachers, 24/7 access to lessons and small group classes are the biggest pros for me. In addition…
Seeing my Progress
For every class you go to you receive a little green check that shows your progress. Once you complete a level, you’ll be sent an official CEFR certification to show that you are in fact, a language learning boss. Having these progress marks definitely motivates me to keep at it!
Human (and International) Connection
If the events of 2020 have shown me anything, it’s that human connection is uber important.
I joined Lingoda at the height of the UK lockdown, and, I can’t explain it, but there was something really comforting about meeting with people from around the world in this crazy situation we’re in, all coming together to learn a new language.
From a Saudi Arabian university student freshly moved to France to an Italian trying to speak her husband’s language, I’ve met people from around the world on this platform, and they’ve met me — an eager American woman with a burning desire to return to Paris and avoid relying on Google Translate or succumbing to all the places with English menus…lol.
Unfortunately, if you cancel a class last minute, you lose a class credit. Granted, you can book classes up a minute before they start, but for someone with an unpredictable schedule, I’ve lost a class or two now.
Fully Booked Classes
Occasionally you’ll find classes for the time slot you want fully booked up. This has only happened once for me, but it happened. If you’re tight on time and only available for one 60-minute slot, keep this in mind and book in advance.
Not all Teachers are Equal
Like real school, you’ll end up liking some teachers more than others. I’ve had a few lessons where, although I liked the lesson, I wasn’t particularly keen on the person teaching it.
But, after each class you can rate the lesson out of five stars and simply choose the teachers you prefer for each lesson, I don’t have this problem anymore, but it does take some sifting in the beginning!
I would love to use Lingoda to brush up on my Mandarin, but to date, classes are only available in French, German, Spanish, English, and Business English. They’ve hinted this is something they might do in the future though — so we’ll see!
The Lingoda Sprint
To make sure everyone that uses the platform ends up actually speaking the language, Lingoda created the Lingoda Sprint.
Designed to get you comfortable in any language within 3 months the Lingoda Sprint offers a 100% (yes 100%) refund to students that complete 30 classes a month for three months or a 50% refund if you take 15 classes a month for three months.
This is because science (and life) proves consistency is the best way to do anything, and Lingoda knows it too. Talking and learning new phrases all the time will inevitably create the speaking environment you need to take you to the next level.
The Sprint doesn’t happen too often, so always keep an eye up on their website for the latest openings. But you can join their Marathons anytime.
Lingoda Review: So…Should I Really Join Lingoda?
If you’re serious about learning a language — yes, as it’s incomparable to language learning apps or free content. But of course, I’m biased. 92% of Lingoda students love Lingoda classes, and I’m one of them.
Regardless, I highly suggest testing it for free to see what you think. You get to take 3 classes of choice at any time and if you like it after that, you can use my super-duper special code, ‘CANDACE2’ to get 20 euros off your first month.
This post is sponsored by Lingoda. However, for added transparency, I purchased and used Lingoda months prior to this collaboration. All opinions are my own.