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When you use Google to translate an entire webpage, you miss an amazing opportunity to learn new vocabulary and challenge your brain. Next time, try a browser extension instead, and take a virtual field trip you’ll never forget!


People learn best when they meet new language in context. That’s because we use prior knowledge and expectations about a situation to make good guesses about new vocabulary. So every few weeks, arrange to meet your italki tutor somewhere other than the same old video-chat classroom. Use a browser extension to surf anywhere on the web and start your lesson surrounded by the language you are learning.


How to get the most out of your trip


1. Go someplace that interests you


If you are studying academic English, maybe you’ll want to explore the website for the University of Oxford’s Bodleian Library or perhaps you are looking to brush up on your business conversation and fancy a trip to the Shanghai stock exchange. Wherever you go, make sure it is someplace meaningful to you. If you prefer to be directed, tell your italki tutor what you are passionate about so they can suggest some locations with target language websites. Ask for the links in advance of your lesson so you can have a quick look around before your teacher joins you.


2. Take full advantage of the experience


Explore and investigate the location—let the content lead the way. Look at the images, listen to audio, read and pay attention to how the place might be different from similar institutions in your country. Having your tutor there at your side is a great way to get comfortable diving into an Internet full of language. It will give you the confidence and skills you need to surf anywhere, anytime and prepare yourself for the real thing.


3. Make a return trip when your class is over


The best part is that you can always go back when your session is over and take another trip, because it’s all FREE. Start building up a list of favorite sites in the language you are learning and try to go back on a regular basis to keep your language learning FUN and REAL.


Use a browser extension to visit a car dealership, a museum or even a pet-store.


A few places you may want to visit, on your own or with your online tutor:


What are browser extensions and how do they work?


Tools like’s extension for Google Chrome live inside your browser, allowing you to surf anywhere on the web where you are likely to encounter target language text. Then, they can provide the dictionary, flashcard and learning tools you need to make sense of the content once you have arrived.


Whenever you see a word you don’t know, you can double-click for an in-page definition and audio recording. You’ll automatically make a flashcard with images and example sentences that you can review and practice later when your lesson is over. Meanwhile, your tutor can use the opportunity to explain all of the cultural nuances you will encounter.


It’s important to remember that italki learners should never feel confined by the digital medium. The Internet is full of exciting sites to explore and opportunities to discover language are yours for the taking!


Meredith is a polyglot, applied linguist and digital learning enthusiast who has spent the last seven years working across the language learning industry in various roles from teaching to curriculum development and teacher-training. Previously, she managed the special projects team at Education First. She holds an M.Sc in Applied Linguistics and Second Language Acquisition from the University of Oxford, a B.A. in French language and literature from Georgetown University and speaks 5 languages fluently.