Back in August I was lucky enough to have access to a Baselang trial and I wanted to share my thoughts with you.
This review is based solely on my experience of using the service and is not affiliated or influenced by Baselang. Just a language learner sharing his thoughts to help others progress with their own learning.
Let’s get to it!
Provider – Baselang
Access – 2 week trial
Price – $129 per month for Real World ($199 for DELE)
Format – Tutoring through Skype/Zoom
Platform – Website (booking) & Skype/Zoom (tutoring)
Would I recommend? – Yes!
What is Baselang?
For a monthly subscription you can take unlimited skype tutoring in Spanish with Baselang. The service is split into two main paths; Real World and DELE. Real World covers everything you need to be able to communicate for travel or fun, while DELE is focused on helping you to pass the Spanish qualification exam used for academic purposes.
How does it work?
Using their website you can quickly sign up to your chosen path and start booking lessons with their array of Spanish tutors. Each lesson slot is 30 minutes and can be organised as you like. I would often book 2 hour blocks with my tutor which ran continuously.
To ease the teaching process, Baselang has created a universal curriculum that is used by all tutors so you get a uniform approach and can pick up where you have left off in your previous lessons. In the Real World path there are 9 levels in total and once you reach the end you should be a conversationally fluent.
The whole registration process was really easy and seamless. After entering a few details you are taken to a tutorial video which explains how to use the website and why it was created in the first place. You even choose your current level so the video is tailored to what you need to know for your level. How thoughtful!
After the short tutorial you will then update your profile with key information about yourself so the tutors have a little background before getting started. I used this to explain that I wanted lessons to be 100% in Spanish, unless really necessary, as I was worried about spending all my time speaking in English. This did the trick and helped avoid any potential awkward discussions in lesson.
As this was my first time having a tutor to teach me a language, as a prolific independent learner, so I wasn’t sure what sort of person I would want to work with. Luckily, this was all taken care of. Each tutor has a bio with a short video where they talk about themselves and their interests. This helps me choose people I thought I would get on with. With only 2 weeks available on my trial I wanted to limit the time taken finding the correct tutor and more time learning.
I spent the first few hours with different tutors to test the water and I quickly found one that I really liked. We got on really well and soon became friends, which made the lessons a lot more fun. Laughing, joking and even talking about how much we loved about Game of Thrones. Couldn’t be further from a stuffy classroom if we tried! He also mentioned on his video that he was learning Italian which came in very handy. As Italian and Spanish are very similar I picked up the new words quite quickly but did tend to slip back into italiano at times. As he knew what I was saying he could correct me and get me back on track with Spanish. A nice little bonus!
The lessons were very structured and focused on working through PDF presentations that we shared on screen through Skype. New information was presented, tested my recall and lots of practice using them in sentences. It isn’t often that I would spent this amount of time repeating new information in my own studies and I found it very helpful for memorisation. I soon noticed how quickly I was able to remember and use everything I was learning in a productive way.
Along with the lessons, each level was accompanied by a free Memrise deck to practice outside of class. This was really helpful as I could review everything I had learnt, and even sometimes learn new information, before next time. This made me feel a lot more confident when opening my mouth to speak.
Tip – If you don’t know, Memrise is a website that uses spaced repetition flashcards to memorise new information. You can create your own decks or choose from the huge library they have online.
The main benefit I found, when compared to having a chat with my conversation partners, was the ease of booking the lessons. I simply decided when I would be free and a few clicks later it was booked into my calendar. Sometimes I am guilty of putting off language exchanges because I am nervous and having the lessons pre-booked helped me not slip into bad habits. That is clearly the case as I had 20 hours of lessons in two weeks… more speaking practice than I have had for any other language, ever!
Now let’s talk about the price. The Real World path is $129 per month (approx £95) which isn’t exactly pocket change. The way to decide if it is value for money for you is simply. Look at your schedule for next month and decide roughly how many hours you could spare and divide the total cost by this number. I personally fit 20 hours in two weeks which would be the equivalent of $4 (£3) an hour if I kept that up for a full month. I personally think this is great value when you consider a standard online tutor can be anywhere from $15 to $20 (£11-15). It’s like a gym membership, you will only get your money’s worth if you have the time to put into it.
Would I recommend Baselang?
Yes. No need to beat around the bush. After two weeks I am a confident Spanish speaker and would estimate I have reached a lower intermediate level in speaking and listening. An amazing result (if I do say so myself).
Due to the cost I can’t afford to keep this up every month so I have currently downgraded to the basic package ($9/£7 a month) which gives me one free hour of lessons and then the rest is pay as you go at $15/£11 an hour. Then, when money and time allow, I will upgrade back to the full packaging and fill every spare minute of the day with lessons to try and reach Spanish fluency.
My main advice is to remember that you only get out what you put in. If you use the Memrise decks to practice what you have learnt and apply yourself in lesson you will see the results. Trust me, I know from experience! If they offered other languages I would definitely jump at the chance to get unlimited speaking practice.
Not sure whether you want to part with that cash? No problem. They offer a 1 week trial for $1 which is amazing value. They are so confident you will like it that they will even give you a full refund and $20 compensation if you decide the cancel because you aren’t happy. What have you got to lose?
Give it a try and let me know what you think in the comments!
Ciao for now!