Student FAQs

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  • Swikee Worksheets & Materials
    • What and where is this?
    • Yes, this is coming soon. We're sorry for the delay but it takes time to make worksheets of the quality that Swikee wants to be associated with. And we'd love your ideas. What kind of materials are you looking for. Grammar worksheets? Conversations examples? Stories? Let us know and we'll be sure to add it to the collection we are building. Send us your ideas to team@swikee.com

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    • Can Swikee recommend materials for me?
    • Sure. We have tons of experience teaching and listening to students. Here's our short list of quality textbooks:

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  • Learning & Motivation Tips
    • Can you give me some techniques for learning a language?
    • Wow. Big question. But we have some answers that we've found to work.

      1) Set realistic goals. You will not be fluent by your birthday. That's not going to happen. But, "I want to finish this textbook in 3 months" that's possible. Or "I want to be able to have a brief, but real, conversation with a foreigner." Be specific and realistic.

      2) Find a great teacher and tell them these goals. Stress to them how important it is to you and that you are relying on them to "help" you. The key here is that they will "help" you. This is a job that is mostly up to you, remember that. Take responsibility for your learning. The teacher is an aid, your goal is an aid, TV/radio can be an aid, the text is an aid. You, your internal fire, will decide if you are successful.

      3) Variety. Learning a language isn't all fun, it takes work to memorize, to pronounce "r" and "l", to learn the back-and-forth of other languages. But you need to find the fun in it. Watch a Jim Carrey movie, have a few beers at the local bar and chat someone up, sing a song in another language. Or just take a week or 2 break and forget all about it. You'll return with a fresh perspective and your "language brain" will be well rested.

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    • How can I stay motivated?
    • See point 3 in the question above. But also, finding others who share your goal can be essential. There's nothing like commiserating with someone you trust about your struggle. Or laughing about how you sounded when you first began.

      There are plenty of groups out there with the specify goal of helping each other learn a language. Use them. Don't wait for them to come to you. Get up and get out there!

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    • How can I find foreign friends to talk with?
    • This is easier than you think. Resources like www.meetup.org and metropolis magazine offer great opportunities. Groups, clubs, organizations abound. Great people have organized themselves and are in fact waiting for others to join them.

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  • Request a Class
    • What is Request a Class?
    • When you don't have the time to find a teacher yourself or you would prefer we do the preliminary search and compare for you, this is the service for you. We have extensive experience working with teachers and finding out what you, the student, needs. We can usually find the perfect fit in 1-2 weeks. We'll contact you and arrange the first meeting time and place depending on what works for you.

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    • How much is this service?
    • To find, compare, interview and work out all the details we charge 15,000 yen.

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    • What if after the first meeting I decide this teacher is not right for me?
    • We do our best to find the perfect match. But we know there are times when it simply is not right. If this happens we can contact the teacher ourselves, or you can do this if you like. We will then find you another teacher at no extra charge to you.

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  • Contacting a Teacher
    • How do I contact a teacher from Swikee?
    • After you've paid, or after you've added some teachers to your favorite list and paid, you can click the "Contact Now" button to begin the process. Here we give you some help (we know how hard it can be sometimes to know just what to say). We have several pre-made messages that you can select. Just be sure to add some of your own questions or goals as well.

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    • Does the teacher I contact through Swikee receive my email?
    • Yes. The teacher will receive the message you send them and the email address you have with your Swikee profile. You will also receive their contact information if you'd like to email or call them with more questions later on.

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    • Can you give some suggestions on comparing a few teachers.
    • Sure. Use our nifty comparison tool! When you find some teachers you like, add them to your Favorites box by clicking "Add to Favorites". Then use the Compare button in the Favorites box to view a page that allows you to easily compare the teacher's features, skills, locations, etc.

      But after you've contacted one or more teachers, be sure to ask them specific questions. And don't be afraid to ask tough questions. Remember, this is a relationship that will hopefully last for months if not years and your learning depends on finding the right teacher for you. So if you might need to cancel due to your busy work schedule, ask the teacher how they handle that. If you prefer a more structured lesson rather than just chit-chat, ask the teacher for a detailed lesson plan example.

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  • Swikee Gift Cards
    • What's the Swikee Gif Card?
    • It's simple. Someone you know needs to, or loves to learn a language, right? Well, this is the easiest way to get them started. Just use the Gift Card page and send them a 5,000 yen Gift Card. They receive a Gift Card Code and just enter it during the Search or Payment process. They'll be able to contact 5 teachers, all thanks to you and your incredible kindness!

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    • How long will they have to use the card?
    • From the time they activate the card they'll have 1 year to contact 5 teachers. Plenty of time to search, find, compare and choose the perfect one to meet their goals and dreams.

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    • I'm having trouble with my Gift Card Code, what should I do?
    • Recheck the number you were sent in your email. If it still doesn't work contact us and we'll get it sorted out as fast as we can. We pride ourselves on our technology but sometimes things can go wrong. We apologize if this is the case and will do everything we can to fix it and serve you better next time.
      Email us at: team@swikee.com

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  • Profile
    • How do I join Swikee?
    • 2 minutes. Really. Click the Sign Up button at the top of every page. From here just enter a few details and that's all we need. You'll be sent an email to verify that you are a real person and asking you to verify that you want to join Swikee. Click this link and you're in. Use the Login feature now or when you want to actually contact a teacher.

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    • What is my username for?
    • We respect your privacy and understand you may not want to reveal you real name. But we need some kind of identifier for you in our system and for when you contact a teacher. Use anything you want: "Cheesecake_Cinderella", "Moon_Pie_1985", "Radwimp_11". Hey, who are we to crush your creativity!

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    • How can I delete my profile?
    • Once you're logged in select the Edit Student Profile option from Logged In on the main menu. This is your Edit Profile page and at the bottom there is a link to deactivate your account.

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    • How can I edit my profile?
    • Once you're logged in select the Edit Student Profile option from Logged In on the main menu. This is your Edit Profile page. Click "change" to update your account details. If you'd like to add or update your Personal Details click "show" to view the information that can be added or edited to make your profile more interesting and to unlock more options for using Swikee.

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  • Selecting a Teacher
    • Where do the teachers come from?
    • All of the teachers live in Japan and most are from western countries such as Canada, The U.S., England and Australia. However Swikee represents more than 30 nationalities so if there's a specific language you need to learn, or nationality you'd prefer, give it a try in the search engine.

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    • Are they credentialed? Do they all have degrees or certificates in teaching English or other foreign languages?
    • It's not always necessary to have degrees/certifications to be a great teacher, so Swikee does not require certification to join. However, we have strict policies and we constantly are examining profiles for any indication of fraud or misrepresentation. We also value student feedback and take action on all legitimate complaints.

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    • Are there teachers who can help me with TOEIC or TOEFL tests?
    • Yes. Definitely. You should be able to find teachers who specialize in this field based on their profiles or simply by doing a search from the main Search Page.

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    • Can I have a lesson with a friend or family member?
    • Most teachers have group fees, which can also save you some money. Just check their profiles and ask them after you've contacted them. This can be a great way to stay motivated and have a more enjoyable time in the lessons.

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  • The Trial Lesson
    • Is the first, trial, lesson free?
    • Usually, but make sure you check the teacher's profile where they have to clarify this. After you email them you may want to make sure once again.

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    • What are some good questions to ask to find out their teaching style, character, etc.?
    • Great question, and a very important part of the Trial Lesson. Ask them to tell you about their teaching experiences. Also ask them if they can use a lot of variety in the lessons, a variety of materials and a range of activities. A good teacher will always be challenging you with new things. Tell them your weak areas and ask them what specific activities they might use to help you in these areas.

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    • How can I end the trial lesson politely.
    • Tell the teacher you appreciate their time and that you will send them an email in a few days. This allows you to consider your decision carefully and to meet other teachers if you want to. Never feel pressured or rushed to decide if a teacher is right. If a teacher pressures you probably he or she is not the right teacher for you.

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    • How should I follow up with the teacher?
    • If you're sure that this is the right teacher for you just send them an email and verify lesson time, place, price and any other details concerning the lesson. If you think this is not the right teacher for you it's still polite to send tham a

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  • Costs/Fees
    • What is an average teacher fee?
    • The average hourly fee is 3,000 yen to 4,000 yen. Depending on experience and other factors teachers may charge more or less than this amount.

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    • Do I also have to buy a textbook?
    • This depends. A textbook, while not required, is often a great tool to build from. And a good teacher will be able to recognize your level and goals and be able to recommend several quality textbooks. However, some teachers provide their own materials that they prefer to use.

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    • Who pays for transportation and food/drink at a cafe (if lesson is outside)?
    • This is decided upon when you email the teacher and enquire more about their lessons (style, structure, fees, location, etc.). We recommend both teacher and student buying their own as this keeps things simple and easier to manage.

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    • What if I don't receive a return email from any of the 5 teachers I contact?
    • If no teacher returns your email we will refund you the 5,000 yen or provide you with 5 more teacher contact detail requests at no extra cost. You can also contact us directly and we will use our extensive network to try to find the right teacher for you ourselves. This is usually 15,000 yen, but if you've already paid the 5,000 yen, it is 10,000 yen.

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    • What is the cost of Swikee?
    • To purchase the contact details for 5 teachers the cost is 5,000 yen. You have 1 year to contact the 5 teachers. Use them all at once or try a teacher for a few weeks and if it doesn't work out come back and try another. Swikee believes in flexibility and adjustment,; you're not stuck with the same teacher; if you decide things aren't working out feel free to express this and find another teacher.

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    • How can I pay?
    • Swikee allows you to pay by Bank Transfer, Postal Transfer, Credit Card (via Paypal) or by using a Gift Card if someone has been so nice to send you one. (Go to the Gift Card Page from the footer menu to show your own kindness!)

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  • Costs/Fees
    • How long do I have to wait after I do a Bank or Postal transfer?
    • Once we receive the Bank or Postal transfer we update your Swikee account to reflect payment. This is usually within 24 hours.

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