If you’re at all interested in learning Spanish whatsoever, you may have heard of BaseLang. If you haven’t, this BaseLang review is for you. For learners of all languages, there are a variety of online services – like Italki and Verbling – that will connect you to native speakers so you can get in your speaking practice without having to travel. BaseLang is like these services in all ways but one: unlimited Spanish classes for one monthly price.
Which sounds like a great deal, right? For those who utilize BaseLang’s services, it’s a great deal. However, is it a great deal for you? I have spent a few months with the service, on-and-off, over the span of a couple years. In this BaseLang review, I will discuss a few of the pros and cons I believe come with this membership so that you may be able to decide whether or not BaseLang is right for you.
Pro: Unlimited Classes
Okay, let’s be real with this BaseLang review – anything unlimited is great. We live in a world of unlimited, so this is by far BaseLang’s strongest card. This means that how much you practice depends entirely on you (and your schedule, of course). BaseLang has classes available for all but 5 hours of the day every day, so it’s unlikely that you’ll run into any scheduling conflicts unless you happen to only be available during those hours. For those of us living in America, this isn’t a problem.
This is also great for those with more spontaneous schedules. Because BaseLang offers unlimited classes, they pride themselves on always having a teacher available; even if the teacher you requested has to cancel for whatever reason, they always offer another, so you don’t waste your time.
Or, if you have to cancel, no worries! You don’t lose any money with an unlimited service, and you won’t have any teachers poking at you about why you’ve canceled (which is great for those of you who cancel out of pure nerves). The sooner you cancel the better, as this gives other students a potential last-minute class.
Con: you can’t always get the teacher you want
Like any other language learning service that requires the attention of a native, you might not always get the teacher you want. BaseLang schedules out classes 5 days in advance, so if you’ve found a good teacher, it’s likely that they won’t be available unless you get yourself on their schedule ASAP, 5 days in advance. You may choose to keep your eye out in case they get canceled on (which seems to happen more often than not), but I would suggest you keep an open mind unless you are able to be at a computer the moment the schedule updates, which happens at midnight UK time.
This also means that those with spontaneous urges to get in another session might not necessarily get classes with a teacher they have a natural connection with. Like anything else, some people you click with, some you don’t; if you’re planning to schedule a class an hour ahead of time, beggars can’t be choosers! If you just don’t have any natural chemistry with the teacher that’s available to you, that’s something you’re just going to have to deal with. However, even a slightly awkward Spanish conversation is better than no Spanish conversation at all!
Pro: $1 week trial
I tell ya, BaseLang really offers a sweet deal. New members can opt for unlimited classes with professional Spanish teachers for $1 for the first week. That’s insane! In fact, they’re so confident in their product that they’ll pay you for your time if you decide you don’t like it. Literally a negative risk guarantee. I can’t think of any other company or service that offers that kind of deal, so it’s a great thing to take advantage of.
BaseLang’s trial provides you with a great opportunity to really explore the platform, and take the time to feel confident that you’d be happy paying for this service. You can commit the time to find a couple of BaseLang teachers that you really click with and feel comfortable speaking with, or even just pushing yourself past the initial fear of speaking in a foreign language for maybe the first time!
This means that even if you try BaseLang for a week and don’t really have the time to commit, can’t find a BaseLang teacher that you really jive with (which is highly unlikely), or don’t like the platform for any other reason, worst case scenario is that you lose $1. I wish other businesses were that safe!
Con: otherwise, it’s expensive
BaseLang offers two memberships: Real World and DELE Preparation. Real World is cheaper, at $125 per month, which is still very expensive, and that’s just for basic conversations. If you opt for Real World, which includes more structured lessons meant to prepare you for the DELE exam, you’ll pay $199 a month.
If you’re only interested in sitting in front of a native speaker for half an hour at a time, Real World provides you with just that; you can elect to have free-flowing conversations, ask your BaseLang teacher to start a lesson (during which they will go into the loosely-structured lesson plan available to you on the platform), or you can come to class with some material in mind.
However, if you have more serious goals, BaseLang DELE Preparation is a serious, tightly structured course that will have you practicing your speaking, reading, writing and listening. This course material is also available to you on the platform. You will not get as much speaking practice in a DELE Preparation atmosphere; you will spend your hour-long sessions in more of an academic setting, and believe me when I say they will make you think! Be prepared for your brain to hurt!
In my own personal opinion, I do believe it’s worth the price, but it definitely requires some serious consideration. Depending on your budget, that might push BaseLang outside of the realm of possibilities for you. This platform is for the more serious Spanish language learners who maybe already commit a few hundred dollars of their budget to teachers on other services.
Con: BaseLang teachers turnover quickly
BaseLang hires some incredible teachers. They’re all trained and qualified to teach you Spanish, and almost all of them are fluent in English, as well. As aforementioned, it’s really up to who’s personality you match up with – who you can easily flow into a conversation with, and who
However, if you’re with the company for a significant period of time, you will notice a very high turnover rate, and your favorite BaseLang teachers will generally leave without being able to mention anything. I had a month-long membership sometime in 2017 and would have lessons with the same teacher every day. When it was her last day, she told me. However, fast forward to 2018, when I tried to get the same couple BaseLang teachers, but sometimes couldn’t, and one day, they just weren’t there anymore! This made things difficult for me because I had put time and effort into creating relationships with people who just were not there anymore.
This created more stress for me than I wanted to deal with. Depending on the kind of person you are, you may or may not struggle with creating relationships with BaseLang teachers until you’re comfortable enough to really focus on practicing your Spanish. I, as an introvert, had really worked hard to start a friendship, so it was bothersome to see them seem to just disappear out of nowhere. Honestly, this was the factor that officially turned me off from the service, so it’s something important to keep in mind with this BaseLang review.
This also makes it difficult for those of you who want to do some research on the available BaseLang teachers before you schedule a lesson. While BaseLang does provide teacher bios for most of their teachers, the turnover rate is so high that it’s impossible to find any kind of reviews for the current BaseLang teachers. All one can go off of is the provided video bios, which can be difficult, as there’s a big difference between a short 5-minute video of someone talking about themselves and a student reviewing how the actual session went. In our world of review sites, this makes the process of deciding on a BaseLang teacher just a bit more stressful!
Con: unstable internet connection
BaseLang’s teachers are all based in Venezuela, which means the internet connection may or may not be usable. This could depend on a variety of factors: the BaseLang teacher’s location, the weather, the teacher’s internet service, the country’s internet as a whole, etc. Sometimes the internet is just bad. If the teacher you scheduled that day is having connectivity issues, BaseLang will offer to set you up with another teacher, but that is still less than desirable if you were looking forward to a lesson with a particular teacher.
An unstable connection can also ruin a lesson completely, and even make it more difficult for you to maintain motivation. I’ve spent an entire lesson just struggling to understand my BaseLang teacher through a shoddy internet connection that either kept lagging or kept cutting out completely. It’s an incredibly frustrating experience and is very likely to turn someone off from making the attempt again. I know it was frustrating for me to finally find the motivation to try another lesson again, only for it to be interrupted by the internet!
While you may try to avoid this by avoiding certain BaseLang teachers, let me tell you from experience that this doesn’t always work. I tried to take a lesson with my favorite teacher, Emily, and while some days her connection was crystal clear and we had a great time together, some days she had to cancel completely because she couldn’t connect at all. It’s difficult to find a teacher that has a great connection 100% of the time, so you will have to be flexible. You can always find a class if you want to, but you’ll need to be open to whoever is available at that time.
Speaking of motivation, this is a great motivating strategy for those who work well with it. BaseLang is the same concept as an expensive gym membership: you might pay a high price tag so that you use the service and don’t waste your money. This strategy doesn’t necessarily work for everyone; for example, when I got busy and was unable to commit the time to practice speaking, it didn’t feel like I was making the most of that expensive price point.
If you have a considerable amount of time to dedicate to practice speaking Spanish, BaseLang could be a great resource for you. There’s an easy way to decide how much you will really be paying: decide how many hours you can absolutely dedicate to BaseLang. For example, if you can dedicate 3 hours a week, that adds up to 12 hours a month. If you choose the $125 option, divide the two, and you’ll be paying around $10.50 per class. If this is a number you’d be willing to pay per class, or is cheaper than what you’re currently paying for speaking practice, BaseLang may work for you!
BaseLang review: is it right for you?
Whether or not BaseLang is right for you is not something I can tell you, nor can any other BaseLang review. In my own personal experience, BaseLang is a wonderful resource for those truly committed to fluency; the only way to get it is to practice as much as you can, and with unlimited classes, you don’t really have an excuse not to get there. The only thing holding you back is your own schedule and lifestyle; if you’re just not able to commit significant amounts of time to practice Spanish, BaseLang may not make sense for you.
However, Baselang does come at a steep price (after the stupid cheap trial price, that is), so for those of us with budgets, it does require some significant forethought. Do you have the time to commit, the space in your budget, and the motivation to keep pushing onward even when things don’t go as planned? If so, BaseLang is an excellent resource for Spanish language learners!
I hope this BaseLang review helps you with your decision. Let me know in the comments about your own BaseLang review – do you love it or hate it?