Baselang is a Spanish tutoring program that makes some pretty big promises. The program is based around the well-known idea that the best way to learn a language is through immersion and real conversations.
This isn’t just another online tutoring program though, this is a more comprehensive plan that offers a different approach to language learning as a whole. Instead of just full immersion or tons of grammar and vocabulary practice, Baselang strives to combine all the elements of language learning to create a truly memorable learning experience.
So how do they do that? Well, I’m here to tell you all about it. This is a multifaceted program and there is going to be a lot of information to go over, so make yourself comfortable and get ready for an in-depth look at Baselang and how this program can get you from a Spanish Newbie to being "un expert de español!"
Let’s begin our journey by taking a quick look at some of my main likes and dislikes and then we’ll dive into the details so that you can know exactly what to expect when you sign up for this intensive language program.
My Likes and Dislikes
Real World Program
$149 / Per Month
$199 / Per Week
$599 / Per Month
Note: Both programs have a money-back guarantee. They also offer a 7-day trial for $1 for all new customers.
Initial Thoughts of Baselang
My first thought when I heard about Baselang was that it was just another tutoring website. Not that tutoring is bad, far from it. Quality tutoring is the best way to learn the conversational skills that you need to speak with confidence.
The only reason I wasn’t too enthusiastic about Baselang is that I thought I had experienced just about everything you can experience through a tutoring program. What could they possibly have that was different? Well, I have to say they surprised me.
First of all, their website explains just about every detail concerning their programs without you having to sign up or pay for anything. They also give you free access to some handy learning materials that are curated specifically to go with their curriculum.
You read that correctly, I did say curriculum. They have a legitimate curriculum that you can combine with your tutoring sessions. This curriculum offers lessons from beginner to expert and everything in between. You can follow the method to the letter or skip it altogether, the choice is yours.
If you do decide to skip the curriculum, you can still expect consistency in your learning experience. Although most online tutoring programs are fairly freeform, with each teacher coming up with their own teaching methods, Baselang has a program-specific method that the teachers tend to follow.
Of course, each teacher is different, but they are all following the same principle methods, which adds a level of consistency that is missing from many other tutoring programs.
The next thing that stood out to me was that they offer unlimited classes for a single price. And they really mean unlimited. They schedule classes from 6 am to 12 am EST and you can schedule as many classes as you want within that time. We’ll talk a bit more about that in the scheduling section.
Lastly, I was impressed with the layout of their website. Although the creator of the program, Conner Grooms, comes off as a bit dramatic in his introduction and explanation of the program, I found most of what he said about language learning and the struggles that go with it to be pretty relatable. This made me think that maybe this program would be more than just another tutoring service.
Signing Up For Baselang
Signing up is a fairly simple process. You have to provide your name and email address and then tell them if you would like to take classes online or in person. Their only in-person location is in Medellin, Colombia, so online was my obvious choice.
Next, they’ll ask you how you learned about the program and ask you which of their programs you would like to enroll in Real World or Grammarless. If you choose the Real World program, you will get your first week of classes for $1, then you will be charged the subscription fee of $149 per month.
If you choose the Grammarless program, you will be given two payment options, you can pay $900 upfront or you can pay in installments of $250 per month for four months, so you save $100 by paying upfront.
For the purposes of this review, I chose the Real World program, but I will give you a full rundown of the Grammarless program as well.
Once you’ve chosen your program and finished the sign-up process, you will receive an email telling you everything you need to know about getting started. Thankfully, this is pretty simple as well.
You’ll have to download Zoom, a communication program that most of us are pretty familiar with these days. If you don’t already have one, you’ll also have to start a Zoom account, a process that only takes a few seconds.
Your welcome email will also contain a link to Baselang’s Memrise group, one of the cool free features that I mentioned earlier. Their group coincides with their curriculum, giving you a handy way to practice what you’re learning when you’re not in class.
As they tell you when you begin the sign-up process, you can schedule classes within 5 minutes of signing up. This is perfect for enthusiastic learners who want to start right away. As soon as you log in for the first time, you can schedule a class. Since there are so many open classes each day there is a good chance you could be speaking with your first tutor within 30 minutes.
Real World Program
The Real World Program is what Baselang is famous for. This program allows you to schedule as many classes as you want every day for that monthly fee we talked about earlier. Although it isn’t just about the tutoring, that is the main purpose of the program, so let’s go over that aspect first.
If you have tried other tutoring programs before, you may be a little nervous about the scheduling process since this can be one of the more troublesome elements of other programs. Do not be nervous, this is one of the easiest scheduling systems I’ve seen yet.
Initially, you'll just be scheduling classes by timeslot. Later on, once you’ve found a few teachers that you like, you can schedule classes with specific teachers according to their schedule, but in general, you’ll mostly be scheduling classing with random teachers according to your schedule.
This is an extremely easy process. You can schedule classes from 6am to midnight and you can schedule as little as five minutes in advance. If for some reason you realize that you can’t attend a class that you’ve scheduled, you can simply cancel it.
The scheduling calendar will show you five days, the current day and the following four days. You'll be able to see all of the available timeslots for those days. It shows the classes in increments of 30 minutes, but if you want the class to be longer, you just select multiple slots in a row.
Once you’ve chosen a timeslot, you will be shown a list of teachers who are available for that time. You’ll see their names, a few of their interests, and their teaching strengths. You can even watch a little intro video if you want to know a bit more about them before scheduling a class.
After you’ve finished a class, you’ll have the opportunity to rate the teacher for your own private records. Not that you won’t remember their names after a few lessons, but when you’re just getting started, remembering which teachers you liked best could get a bit confusing.
The rating system allows you to keep track of which ones stood out to you and which ones didn’t match your style. Since there are so many teachers available, you’re bound to meet a few who stand out.
If you do find a teacher or two who was more helpful or more enjoyable, you can list them as your favorites and schedule classes with them two days in advance of other students who are just using the timeslot method of scheduling classes.
The vast number of teachers and the flexible scheduling system are two of the main features that make the subscription worth the investment. You can plan all your classes days in advance or you can simply wake up and feel like taking a Spanish class at 6am, whichever works best for you.
The schedule is rarely fully booked, so generally, you can find an opening within 30 minutes, no matter what time you get online. That’s pretty impressive considering how many active users they have.
Your Tutors At Baselang
One of the great things about the Real World Program and its super flexible scheduling is the ability to experience so many different teachers. This may be a bit intimidating for some students, but don’t worry, they’re very nice and even more knowledgeable.
Baselang teachers are from all over the World. Including but not limited to Latin American, Peru, Argentina, Mexico, Colombia, Venezuela, and more. They have to go through a fairly rigorous hiring process to ensure that they are competent as well as friendly and helpful.
Each tutor has to have a degree in teaching English and Spanish, which sounds a bit extreme for a program that focuses so much on conversational speaking, but it makes sense when you look at the entire program.
These teachers aren’t just there to provide speaking and listening practice, these are professional teachers capable of providing an in-depth knowledge of the language.
This makes the program more accessible to all kinds of students. Every teacher is capable of helping casual learners who just want general knowledge and conversation skills, but they are all equally capable of helping those of us who want to be truly fluent.
Knowing this, you can confidently schedule a class with any of the teachers because you know they will be able to help you in your language journey, no matter how far along you are.
If you’re interested in looking through the teachers’ profiles, you can do that on the website. You can even search for teachers based on their interests. This is nice if you’re trying to learn more words in a specific subject or you just want to make sure that you and your teacher have something to talk about.
Honestly, I recommend just taking some classes and getting to know a few of the teachers. It’s always nice knowing that you have something in common with the person that you’re talking to, but every teacher has something to offer so your best bet is to just jump in and get started.
Speaking of getting started, let’s talk about classes. As I mentioned earlier, Baselang does have a curriculum, but like the scheduling system, it’s very flexible. Each teacher is different, so no two classes will ever be alike.
Your first full classes will probably involve some introductions, especially if you use a variety of teachers. This will help you get to know the teachers and it will help them to establish your fluency level and what you should be focusing on.
The nice thing is that if you have a specific subject or issue that you want to work on, the teachers will work with you. If you are a complete newbie or you’re just not sure what you should learn next, the teachers can help with that too.
If you’re nervous about your first class you can schedule just 30 minutes, but I would recommend doing an hour. I say this because the teacher will spend a bit of time establishing your basic information and although this is important, you may find that it will use up a good part of your 30 minutes.
By scheduling an hour, you allow plenty of time for introductions and will still have time to learn a bit afterward.
You’re probably wondering why they would only need all the introduction stuff for the first few lessons, especially if you’re going to be learning from lots of different teachers. Well, this is another cool thing about this program. You will have a profile, basically a progress report, that all the teachers can access and add notes to.
Your first few tutors will ask you about your learning goals and ask you a few questions to establish your fluency level. All of this noted in your profile. Teachers can also report what they’ve taught you, what you’re working on, and the type of progress you’ve been making.
This allows all of your future teachers to pick up where the previous ones left off, giving your lessons some consistency and saving you from having to review the same stuff over and over again unless you want to, of course.
I found every class to be entertaining and informative. I’m not going to say that I loved every teacher, but I will say that each one had something interesting to offer. They were all very open to discussing whatever I wanted to work on and gave me a lot of good feedback.
I have heard of people having trouble during some classes because of connectivity issues. I did not experience this personally, but we all know how unpredictable online communication programs can be. Just be aware that choppy connections do happen sometimes.
The Baselang Curriculum
Okay, it is finally time to talk about this curriculum that I keep mentioning. This is another element that sets Baselang apart from other tutoring programs.
Many of the language programs that I’ve looked at excel at one or two areas of language learning, but require supplemental materials to cover whatever is missing.
If you follow through with this material from start to finish, you won’t need any supplements. The depth of this curriculum truly shows that this program is focused on providing students with the material they need to become truly fluent.
Levels Of Learning With Baselang
There are ten levels to the curriculum, Levels 0 through 9. You can probably guess that Level 0 is the absolute basics and Level 9 is for more advanced students. You do not have to complete every level or any of the levels if you don’t want to, but if you’re serious about speaking Spanish, do the curriculum.
Level 0 starts with the Sounds of Spanish. This is a free tool that you can access without a subscription. It goes over all the important sounds that you should know in order to achieve good Spanish pronunciation.
One of the worst problems that English speakers encounter when speaking Spanish is pronunciation. There are many Spanish vocabulary words that are quite similar to their English equivalent, making it way too easy to pronounce them as they would sound in English instead of Spanish.
The Sounds of Spanish will help you to break that habit before it starts. Even if you’ve been trying to learn Spanish for a while, I would recommend going through this material. Firstly, it never hurts to go back over the basics. Secondly, understanding and recognizing these sounds will greatly improve your Spanish listening skills.
Level 0 will also teach you a few basic words and phrases to help get you started.
Levels 1-3 are all about getting you to the point where you can have your first conversation in Spanish. This will involve learning vocabulary words, further perfecting your pronunciation, and providing you with the basic building blocks that you’ll need to progress to intermediate speaking.
Levels 4-6 are for intermediate learners who are ready to learn even more vocabulary and cement that vocabulary through in-depth conversations.
Levels 7-9 are all about filling in the gaps. Adding more vocabulary and teaching you more of the nuances of Spanish grammar.
Each level has a different number of lessons, ranging from 6 to 30. These lessons are designed to coincide with your tutoring, so if you do choose to complete the curriculum, your teachers will help you to go through each lesson.
You don’t have to start with Level 0 and you don’t have to do the lessons completely in order, but this is a pretty well laid out lesson plan that would be worth doing from start to finish. Even if you think you know the basics, there may be things you don’t know that could help you later.
If you choose to go through the whole thing, you can do an hour-long verbal test for each level to show that you’ve completed it. This will be marked on your official profile to show future teachers where you are on your Baselang journey.
Once you get to Levels 4-6, you will start taking what they call Electives. These are subject specific courses that you can choose from. These include subjects like:
There are tons of electives to choose from. They do not have a specific set that you have to take, they just recommend that you take a few so that you can continue to expand your vocabulary. This is a fun way of doing that because it allows you to focus on the subjects you enjoy the most.
Some of the elective classes are very specific, such as their section concerning medical Spanish. There is an extra charge to unlock some of these electives, but none of the charges are particularly high when you consider the level of content.
Some elective subjects include upwards of 50 to 70 lessons and they are seriously in-depth. I do not doubt that if you worked through any one of these courses, you would feel completely comfortable discussing the subject matter in Spanish with native speakers.
They are continually adding to this section so there are plenty of options to choose from, even if you don’t want to pay for a particular course. If there is a subject that you choose to pay for, any new material added to that subject will be accessible to you without any additional charges for as long as you are a Baselang student.
I know that this curriculum may sound a bit overwhelming, but don’t be intimidated. As I said, you can do as much or as little as you want. If you just want to be able to have pleasant conversations in the park, then you can skip the bulk of the material and just focus on talking with your teachers.
If you want to be a fluent Spanish speaker, this curriculum offers a well-structured and accessible way to accomplish that without having to invest a massive amount of money in college courses, which frankly, probably won’t be as in-depth anyway.
They have an entire page on the Baselang website dedicated to helping students compare the Real World and Grammarless programs. This is supposed to help you decide which program would work better for you. Honestly, the programs are so different, it should be very obvious which one is the right choice for you and your situation.
According to the Grammarless introduction page, Grammarless is basically the “Ferrari of Spanish programs”. It’s highly efficient and extremely fast.
Where Real World is designed to help students learn at their own pace, Grammarless is a crash course. It is an 80-hour program that is guaranteed to get you from beginner to conversational (as long as you put the work in, of course).
There are two class options. Option one allows you to do the entire class in one month, doing four hours of class each day, five days a week. Option two allows you to stretch the class out into two months by doing two hours a day, five days a week.
Whichever way you slice it, this is an intensive program. This approach to language learning is based more on the immersion method. Instead of going over tons of grammar and vocabulary lists, you’ll just be taught to speak with little to no explanations or grammar, thus the name “Grammarless”.
This program is a bit expensive, $900 upfront or $1000 in installments, but if it can get you from a newbie to having quality conversational skills that quickly, it could be worth it. I have not tried this program, but there are many glowing reviews about it.
Nearly every review that I read or listened to contained the words, “I can’t believe how much Spanish I know now!”. This only makes sense if you consider how involved the program is.
From the very first lesson, you will be expected to speak at least a little Spanish. You’ll be taught a concept and then led through some speaking exercises to solidify what you’ve learned.
The lessons are pretty structured, following a particular curriculum, but they still leave some room for flexibility so that your teacher can tailor the lessons to fit your learning style and skills. The last few lessons are even more flexible because their content will depend on how much you've learned up to that point.
There will also be some assignments to do along the way so that you can practice outside of class. You will have access to everything in the Real World program as well, so you can schedule extra classes for more conversational practice. You can even go through some of the lessons or electives if you’re particularly ambitious.
Unlike with Real World, you will be assigned a dedicated teacher for your entire Grammarless experience. With such a fast-paced course, you wouldn’t want to be switching back and forth between teachers anyway. Having the same teacher throughout the program will help to maintain consistency and avoid the chance of you having to repeat a lesson.
You will also have a set time for class, so be sure to choose a block of time that will work for you every day. You will be able to choose the days that will work best for your schedule, but it has to be five consecutive days such as Monday through Friday or Thursday through Monday for example.
This course is a great option for those who like to get fast results. Learning a language is never easy, but a course like this will allow you to start seeing results fast which many people find motivating.
Grammarless would also be a good choice for anyone who is planning a trip to a Spanish-speaking country. You certainly won’t be fluent at the end, but you will be able to speak confidently and understand the majority of what you would need to carry on a simple conversation.
In the description of this program it specifically says that this is for beginners, so if you’re already an intermediate speaker, you should probably stick with the Real World program and look into the electives to help expand your knowledge.
Drawbacks To Baselang
You’ve probably noticed that the bulk of this review has been very positive, so you may be surprised that I would even have a drawbacks section. Unfortunately, every program has its downsides and it seems only right to touch on them here. The good news is, there aren’t many to go over.
Firstly, we have to talk about the price. As I mentioned, I don’t think that the price is unreasonable, but I do realize that $149 a month is a lot of money for many people. That alone really limits accessibility for a lot of language learners, which is unfortunate because it’s such a good program.
The price also makes this program a poor choice for casual learners. If you’re going to pay for a subscription, you have to be committed to taking classes at least a few times a week to even come close to justifying the cost.
If you’re more of a casual learner, skip down to the Alternatives section for a few suggestions concerning programs that would be better for you.
The next issue will probably only bother a few people, but it is worth mentioning. Since all the teachers are from Venezuela or Colombia, those are the versions of Spanish that you will be learning.
Most people are aware of the fact that there are several different versions of Spanish, particularly Latin American Spanish and the Spanish used in Spain. There is a common misconception that if you speak one version you will not be understood by those who speak the other version.
This simply isn’t true. Don’t get me wrong, there are definitely differences to be found in each version of Spanish. Over 450 million people in the world speak Spanish, so it’s no surprise that there would be different versions. Thankfully, the differences are not nearly as hindering as many people think.
Just like when an English person speaks to an American or an American speaks to an Irish person, they can still be understood. There will be different words and different accents, but the foundation is the same. The same can be said for Latin American Spanish and Spanish Spanish.
You can easily learn the foundations of Spanish from your Venezuelan Baselang teacher and then use that Spanish during your trip to Mexico. You can pick up on the differences when you get there and adjust accordingly. There are some things, like slang, that you just can't get until you've spent some time with native speakers, but you'll pick up on it eventually. Don't worry about that stuff until you have the basics down.
I know I already touched on this briefly, but I thought it should get a mention here as well. Sometimes the internet connection can be poor, causing some choppy lessons.
Baselang actually tests the quality of each teacher’s internet service before hiring them, in an attempt to avoid this, but, as we all know, the internet isn’t always incredibly reliable or predictable.
If you experience any connectivity issues, don’t blame your teacher or even the service. These things just happen sometimes. Thankfully, with their super flexible scheduling, you can just schedule another lesson without having to worry about getting a refund or anything like that.
If you've read everything up to this point, this shouldn’t come as a surprise, but here it is anyway. There aren’t any true alternatives to Baselang. There’s just too much going on here for any other single program to compare. Not to worry though, if you combine a few other programs, you may be able to come up with something close.
For tutoring, the obvious alternative is italki. italki offers one-on-one language tutoring for very reasonable prices (usually about $8-$12 per hour for Spanish tutoring). Their scheduling system is not as good or as flexible, but with a little forethought, you can easily work around that.
italki is a good choice for more casual learners because you only pay for the lessons you take. This means that if you only have time for one lesson a week, you won’t be wasting money paying for unlimited lessons that you can’t use.
Verbling is another tutoring service that you could look into, but they are a bit more expensive and don’t have as many teachers as italki.
For a solid curriculum, you could check out Rocket Spanish. Rocket Spanish is a pretty comprehensive program that offers plenty of reading, writing, and listening practice as well as in-depth grammar explanations.
If you’re a beginner and want to learn the foundational elements of Spanish before paying for a bigger program, I strongly suggest checking out Baselang's Sounds of Spanish. Combine that with a quality Spaced Repetition System such as Memrise or Duolingo and you’ll have the basics down in no time.
Baselang Review: Final Thoughts
Overall, I would highly recommend Baselang for anyone who is serious about learning Spanish.
This is by far the most comprehensive program that I have tried. It was designed by a native English speaker, so it specifically targets all the challenges that English speakers face when trying to learn this beautiful, but complicated language.
Even though it does have a few small faults, the benefits of this program far outweigh the drawbacks. It is a bit expensive, but it is substantially less expensive than a traditional Spanish college course and quite a bit more effective. If you have the time and a true desire to master Spanish, the content fully justifies the cost.
The scheduling flexibility allows you to schedule classes whenever you feel like learning. The high caliber teaching staff allows you to schedule classes with confidence, knowing that no matter which teacher you choose, you’ll be speaking with someone who is ready and able to help you learn.
Whether you want to go at your own pace with the Real World program or go full throttle with Grammarless, you will come out of the experience having a much better understanding of Spanish, no matter what your fluency level is when you start.
Lastly, I just want to say, don’t let the in-depth nature of this program intimidate you in any way. Baselang is designed for learners of every level, so even if the only Spanish word you know is ‘hola’, you don’t have any reason to be embarrassed. The whole point of the program is to teach Spanish, so all you have to bring to the picture is determination and a willingness to learn. Baselang will do the rest.