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HelloTalk Review: To Date, or To Learn?

Apps like HelloTalk have completely changed the language learning community by giving us the ability to connect with native speakers of our target language at any time and for free.

But let’s be honest here, is HelloTalk a fricken dating app, or is it really used to learn and exchange languages with others?

The truth is, it’s both! Like it or not, HelloTalk provides a perfect platform to accomplish either one of these goals, the question is what are your goals - and that will change how you use it.

If you don’t have the money to spend on Italki tutors, which of course would save you a lot of time, HelloTalk is probably your best option. I have used it for many years, and don’t plan on stopping.

In this HelloTalk review we'll talk about how it works, where to find reliable language partners, the dating aspect of HelloTalk and how it can be avoided, and lastly - the pros and cons of using such an app.

cartoon chat graphic that says "HelloTalk Review"

Table Of Contents

What Is HelloTalk & How Does it Work?

HelloTalk is a language learning app used to connect people with native speakers of their target language. The point is to help language learners to find friends that they can practice their language skills with while making human connections in the process.

HelloTalk has tons of features and ways they go about reaching their goals for us, in this section we’ll go over those features in a little bit more detail. You can also check out this website which is a wonderful resource for everything HelloTalk-related.

HelloTalk Section: Chat With Your Language Partners

The first icon on the bottom left-hand corner of the app says “HelloTalk.” this is the section you go to to find the current conversations that you’re having.

In these chats you can translate messages up to 10 times a day (for the free version), you can send audio messages, photos, and videos, make calls, set a practice schedule, and even send “gifts” which include tokens, VIP memberships, & cards.

Another great thing Hellotalk did was add the current time it is in your language partner’s time zone in the top left corner - depending on where your language partner lives, this might really come in handy.

What Countries Use HelloTalk The Most?

According to Semrush the countries that use HelloTalk the most are Japan, the USA, and Mexico in that order. Luckily, there are a ton of people using this app internationally, I even had quite a wide selection of potential partners from the country of Georgia!

So chances are you will have no issues with finding language partners.

Moments: Read Posts From The Community

Moments is where you go to read posts from potential language partners. You will find that the Moments section is broken into 8 parts - some of which are only accessible as a VIP member:

screenshots showing off how HelloTalk "Moments" section looks in app

  • Recent (Free) - Where you’ll find the most recent posts from people who speak your target language

  • Best (Free) - Where you’ll find many helpful posts, usually with pictures, links to resources, and people practicing your native language

  • Learn (Free) - Where you’ll go to see posts that are only in your target language and usually people explain grammar and vocabulary, as well as idiomatic expressions

  • Nearby (VIP) - As a paying VIP member you’ll be able to find people near you that speak your target language. So if you’re looking for a real-life friend to practice with, you can find one!

  • Following (Free) - This is just a feed full of the posts from people that you follow

  • Help (Free) - A section full of people that you can help with English, and in return - possibly make a good friend/language partner

  • Classmates (Free) - Section full of English speakers who are learning the same language as you

  • Voice (Free) - The section where all posts have audio clips attached to them

Connect: Find Language Partners

The connect section is where you go to find lists of profiles, this makes the process of finding a language partner easier because we can easily find a profile and see a bit about them.

Screenshots showing how "Connect" section looks in hellotalk app

This section is also broken into subcategories which are:

  • All (Free) - Where you will see a long list of people who speak your target language

  • Paid Practice (Not Free) - Where you can find experienced language partners to pay for their consistency and drive to help you achieve your language goals

  • Serious Learners (Free) - Find people who are highly active and have shown the HelloTalk algorithm that they’re truly there to learn a language

  • Nearby (VIP) - A section where you can see all of the language partners that live near you

  • City (VIP) - If you were planning to go to a country that speaks your target language, you could find partners from that city to talk to

  • Gender (VIP) - In this section for VIP members, you can choose what gender you would prefer to interact with and it will only show you members that meet the criteria

Live Section: Have Live Conversations In Groups

At any given moment in the live section, you’ll find countless groups of people interacting and learning with each other. This section is split into two parts: Live, and Voice.

Screenshots showing how "Live" section looks in hellotalk app

In the live section, you’ll find live streams of native speakers, it’s just like an Instagram live, whereas, in the Voice section you’ll find it to be more active for everyone.

Just before writing this article I joined a voice chat and everybody was basically just asking random questions and goofing around with each other - so it’s a good vibe for those who are most extroverted.

Me: Change Profile, Learn Vocabulary, Find Courses

In the “me” section you can change your profile picture, and interests, write the countries you would like to visit, and other facts that might lead a good language partner to reach out to you.

In this same section, you’ll find a bunch of other features - most popularly the “HelloWords” section where you can get little vocabulary lessons within the app.

Some other features included (as seen in the picture below) are: LiveClass, Pro Partner, Hello Language, Library, Audio Courses, Video Courses, & More Courses.

Screenshots showing how "Me" section looks in hellotalk app

How To Find Good Language Partners

On an app with over 25 million people who want to learn a language, finding a partner should be a pretty simple task, right? Unfortunately not…

Many factors make it kind of difficult to find a consistent language partner on this app.

Some of these factors are:

  • What their interests are

  • What their schedule is like

  • Difference in their timezone

  • Their level of motivation

  • Whether they are serious or just bored

  • Whether they want a language partner or a girlfriend/boyfriend

With all of these factors, the challenge of finding a good language partner grows. However, here are some tips that have helped me to find good language partners quickly.

Find Them Through Their Posts

Go to the post section and you'll see the people who are active on HelloTalk, you’ll be able to gauge with how they talk and what they talk about if they’ll be a good language partner for you.

If they seem funny, polite, inquisitive, etc., these are all good traits that make them a better potential language partner for you.

Join Live Events & Look For A Partner

Joining live events can help you communicate with a large group of people at once, and if at the end you say “That Paul guy seems motivated and polite” you can send him a direct message and ask him if he’d be willing to practice with you.

Live events from my experience, are where you’ll find some of the most active people on the app, usually, these people will be willing to give you their time - if they don’t already have too many language partners.

man doing a zoom call

Respect Your Time Enough To End Conversations

You can create your own system for this, but from my experience when somebody stands you up one time - they’ll do it again. So what I have done in the past when looking for language partners is ask them to schedule a time to talk, if they don’t show up - I won’t respond again when they do.

Unfortunately, some people just don’t get that your time is valuable, and waiting on them is the last thing you want to be doing, especially if you don’t even know them.

So proceed as you will, but don’t let them take away your motivation to find a reliable language partner - because they’re out there looking for you too!

picture of a woman waiting for someone

How To Create Your HelloTalk Profile

When creating our HelloTalk profiles, it’s important to make clear your objectives. As we will talk about in the next section, many people are looking for a boy/girlfriend on this app.

Write your bio/description politely and respectfully, and let people know a couple things about you and what you hope to accomplish with your time on HelloTalk, for example;

“My name is Benjamin Dowry, I am from Austin, Texas. I am looking to find a native Spanish speaker to practice our languages together for 30 minutes a day. I enjoy playing guitar, hiking, and traveling. Shoot me a message if you’d like to have a conversation!”

Is HelloTalk A Dating App?

A common question that I have seen online be it on Reddit or within the HelloTalk app itself is “Is HelloTalk a dating app?” This is the right question to be asking.

People ask each other this question often because sometimes it feels more like an international dating app than anything else. So, is it? Let’s talk about it.

Is HelloTalk A Dating App? No, but yeah

While many people use HelloTalk with the sole intention of learning their target language, many utilize it just to make friends, sometimes “more than friends.”

I have caught the bug too and maybe it will make sense to hear it from someone with experience. I have never tried to seek a girlfriend on HelloTalk, however, I did want to find somebody that I could get along with enough to practice Spanish daily.

I tried reaching out to other men, but there were two common outcomes that I got with this approach. The first, I would get along with another guy, I thought I had made a buddy, but then he proved himself unreliable and not serious about learning.

In the second situation, they straight up wouldn’t talk to me normally because they were there to find “a girlfriend” and didn’t understand why I wasn’t doing the same.

So I began reaching out to the opposite gender, and this led me to meet a girl from Panama whom I then dated for over a year, I saw her in person many times, met her family, and even lived in her country for a total of 4 months.

it says "hellotalk dating - Is it what HelloTalk is for? No. Is it something that happens constantly? Yes."

My Experience Dating On HelloTalk

You don’t need to look for it, if you find somebody that you truly connect with, well, you won’t be the first couple to be produced by this app. However, you don’t need to have this outcome, you can avoid it if you try hard enough.

However, I have had two relationships through HelloTalk, furthermore, many other girls have flirted with me. I hate to say it, but it seems very normal on HelloTalk and it's not just men who are searching for a relationship.

Believe it or not, I never started the flirting, I only treated girls with the most respect that I could, and many of them started to flirt with me because of that.

So shoot, it's a dangerous place for guys who don't want a relationship as well. I mean you may say that you don't want a relationship, but when someone who seems so special and pure appears in your life, what will you do?

How To Avoid Harassment On HelloTalk

I have felt so bad for many women on HelloTalk after seeing their comment section, or especially just talking with them about their experiences on the app.

Unfortunately, many men think they have the right to make women uncomfortable on the app. They might comment something cringy like “Ey baby you luk so butiful” or they might take it a step further and message them something worse.

I have even heard horror stories of women getting **** pics out of nowhere. However, many of these predatory males can be avoided by some simple steps:

  1. Don’t post any pictures of your body unless you want these men to message you

  2. Don’t have anything inappropriate showing in your profile picture

  3. Make it clear what you are on the app to do in your bio/description

  4. Report any predatory males ASAP (that goes for us too, guys - report them if you see them)

a blue background with words that say "how to avoid hellotalk Harrasement: Write “Not Looking For A Relationship” In Your Bio/Description Don’t Post Pictures Of Your Body Report Anyone Who Is Harassing You Or Another Person"

How To Not Make It A Dating App

If you want to make HelloTalk NOT a dating app, there are a few things that you can do. Write in your profile description that you are “not looking for a relationship” and this will fix 70% of the problems.

Another way you can go about this, as sad as it sounds, try not to talk to anyone to whom you could find yourself being attracted.

For example, I used to practice my Spanish with a 60-year-old man from the countryside of Mexico, in this way, I was able to get those “chances” down to 0%.

Which Is Best: HelloTalk or Tandem?

Tandem is HelloTalk's biggest competitor, so - which one is better? My answer is neither is better than the other for everyone, but one of them is better for you. In this section let’s discuss the main differences between HelloTalk and Tandem so that you can get an idea as to which is best for you.

The Main Differences Between HelloTalk & Tandem

HelloTalk is a lot like if Instagram and Twitter were combined and only utilized by language learners. What I mean by this is with HelloTalk there exists a community that interacts with each other.

You will find people posting memes in their native language, cracking jokes, and enjoying the input of one another in the comment sections. However, with Tandem it’s a bit more like the Tinder of language learning in that it's much more intimate.

With Tandem you don’t interact with each other's posts - you simply look at profiles, read people's bio/descriptions, and send out messages.

So if you are more extroverted, and you want to feel like part of a community, HelloTalk is for you. If you are introverted and just want to message individuals, Tandem is probably the best option.

Is Tandem Like A Dating App Too?

Yes. Just as HelloTalk was not designed to be a dating app, neither was Tandem. However, for the same reasons that HelloTalk creates a good environment for people to find a partner, and so does Tandem.

Is HelloTalk Worth It?

HelloTalk is more than just worth it. HelloTalk gives you the ability to make good friends who speak your target language and share the same interests.

Although most people don’t sign up thinking this, it has also led to many happy marriages believe it or not. As for language learning, you need to have somebody to talk to to become fluent, and HelloTalk provides a wonderful platform to do just that.

man giving a thumbs up

Pros & Cons of HelloTalk

While I love HelloTalk and I thank it for having helped me make so many connections in the Spanish, Georgian, and French languages, there are some disadvantages of using it over say Italki, where you can just get a cheap tutor to speak with.

Here are the biggest disadvantages both from my point of view, as well as some others on Reddit.

Pros Of Using HelloTalk

  • You'll find wonderful people to talk with

  • Practicing your target language is simple with HelloTalk

  • You can join lives and speak with groups of people that speak you're target language

  • It's like having an Instagram that's made specifically for language learners

Cons Of Using HelloTalk:

  • Limited capabilities with the free version

  • Some men harass and objectify women

  • You’ll come across many learners who pretend to be committed (and are not)

Reddit Opinions:

It's been useless for me since they changed some stuff to Pro version only - 2021
I'm a 21 yo/f and after signing up I got a horde of guys in my DMs. They were always slightly flirty and I felt like I was on Tinder. Except we all live in different countries so I really don't know what their purpose is. - 2023
Language exchange in language apps is hindered by one main thing: Most people in them are not actually there to exchange languages. - 2022

HelloTalk Review: Why It's Worth Using

To conclude this article, I want to focus on the reasons why HelloTalk is worth using because, despite its many problems, it’s an absolutely brilliant language-learning app.

Let’s look over some of the advantages, and reasons why so many people stay.

  • Exchange languages have never been easier than it became with HelloTalk

  • There are many wonderful people you will meet with very different perspectives and experiences

  • You can find friends to practice your target language with daily, making you much more likely to reach fluency in your home & home country

  • For most, this won't apply, but many people have met their partners using this app, like it or not, how can you hate the idea of meeting the ideal person if you haven’t already?

  • You have a person you can ask questions to, and they can teach you about colloquialisms in your target language

  • You’ll have a social media feed full of language learners & lovers discussing related topics

For me and many others, these advantages have outweighed the cons 10-1, and for us, we will continue to benefit from the potential that this app has to change our lives.

If you have anything that you think should be added to this article to help learners understand the pros and cons of HelloTalk, drop a comment or email me and I’ll update the article with your tips/info

If you're interested in learning about the best language-learning app that I have ever found, check out this article about Busuu - the app that can get you real language certifications!

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