Full Baselang Review for 2024: Unlimited Classes but Popular Teachers Often Booked Up
Baselang is a Colombia-based Spanish school and online language learning program started by Connor Grooms and Adrian Castañeda in 2015.
Baselang is unique in that it offers online one-on-one Zoom class sessions with Spanish teachers all around Latin America for a fixed monthly price, so you can spend as much time as you want learning Spanish.
I tried Baselang for two weeks and I found some great teachers and some great custom learning materials, but I was frustrated that my favorite teachers were often booked up.
Read on to see if Baselang is worth it and what its main pros and cons are. I’ll also discuss what exactly to expect with Baselang, how it works and what programs may be better for more casual language learners.
Description: Colombia-based Spanish program that boasts unlimited one-on-one Zoom classes.
Offer price: $149 a month for unlimited tutoring
Baselang is great for learners who will really take advantage of the unlimited one-on-one Zoom classes, but if you’re a more casual learner or don’t like being on video calls, there are better options. Additionally, the best teachers are often booked up.
- User friendliness - 6/106/10
- Delivers on promises - 8/108/10
- Authenticity - 9/109/10
- Value - 6/106/10
- Unlimited one-on-one Zoom teacher meetings
- Customizable classes
- Effective study resources
- Good teachers
- Popular teachers are often booked up
- User experience can be amateurish
- Some unenthusiastic teachers
- No Castilian Spanish teachers
- Key Baselang Features
- The Pros of Baselang
- The Cons of Baselang
- Baselang Versus Other Programs
- Is Baselang Worth It?
- And One More Thing...
Key Baselang Features
One-on-one Zoom Classes
The heart of this program is the one-on-one tutoring sessions held on Zoom video calls. You can really make these class sessions into anything you’d like them to be, or you can let your teacher make a plan for you.
You can schedule your first meeting with a Spanish teacher within minutes of signing up and there are abundant sessions and times available, especially if you live in the American time zones. Even if you don’t live in the Americas, there’s usually convenient session times for students around the world.
There are hundreds of teachers from almost every country in Latin America. You can search for teachers by their rating, gender, accent, country, interests or teaching specialties.
For example, if you’d like a female Venezuelan teacher who likes the arts and cooking, you can find them.
Each teacher has a bio and a video introduction, as well as an availability calendar, so you can see if they’re available when you want to do a class.
Custom Resources and Study Materials
Baselang has quite a lot of resources that you can use on your own, or use with your teacher during class sessions. These come mainly in the form of PDFs and are fairly traditional in nature. I personally found their materials super helpful, if not the most innovative or interactive out there.
The resources reminded me of the kinds of PDFs and other resources that I was given for a community college Spanish class that I loved and still credit with my (rusty) fluency in Spanish to this day. I don’t consider this a bad thing, but if you’re into the latest interactive technology, these resources aren’t that.
There are also additional resources such as quizzes and homework assignments about various topics such as Spanish pronunciation.
The Pros of Baselang
I’ve really enjoyed using Baselang in the past two weeks, but much of that enjoyment came from the fact that I’ve really pushed myself to do as many tutoring sessions as possible. Here are my top pros for Baselang:
Unlimited One-on-one Classes
Unlimited is rare these days, and if you use this tutoring a lot, you’re definitely going to save money over paying by the hour. I have managed to use this unlimited tutoring for about 6-8 hours a week, which, even though it doesn’t sound like that much, really is about all I can handle with my current schedule. It’s also about the maximum time I can spend with Spanish before the dreaded brain fatigue sets in. And during these two weeks, I feel like I’ve really advanced, which is a great feeling.
Comparing doing eight hours of Spanish sessions with another program like Preply or italki, and you’d likely be spending around $100 per week, so $400 per month. Since Baselang charges only $149, that’s a huge savings.
Add to this that this program focuses on Spanish only and has a large bank of resources, practice quizzes and other materials, and it’s hard not to like Baselang. Sites like Preply and italki don’t provide these resources on their sites (some teachers may) and they cover many languages, not just Spanish.
You can often book a session with a teacher just 5-10 minutes before and you can book up to seven days in advance. You can also choose to book 30 minute sessions or hours-long sessions if that’s your jam. For me, I felt that classes that lasted an hour worked well. We could cover a lot of material, but after about an hour, I started feeling a little brain fatigue. I personally used the service every other day for an hour, with most weekends off.
This schedule worked well for my progression. I also loved the ability to schedule and cancel classes at the last minute without any kind of penalty. If you just don’t feel like having a class session, you can cancel even one minute beforehand.
In your first meeting with a teacher, they will ask you how you like to learn and what you’d like to focus on during your tutoring time. If you build a relationship with one teacher, this discussion will only have to occur a couple times, or once again if you’d like to change something up.
But if you choose different teachers for your sessions, you might have to have this conversation many times, which can be a little time consuming, when you really want to be focusing on learning Spanish, not explaining your learning style over and over again.
That said, these classes are truly customizable. I asked my first teacher to focus on Spanish direct and indirect objects, since that’s always been a confusing subject for me. In just a minute, she had brought up a lesson plan that focused on this grammatical subject, and we went right in with examples and some explicit explanations, in both English and Spanish.
I joked that if I wanted to learn Spanish vocabulary regarding dogs, could we do that? She laughed and started right in with telling me the Venezuelan Spanish word for the sound dogs make is guau-guau.
Some Great Teachers
My first two teachers were everything you want a Spanish teacher to be: kind, reassuring, funny, organized and a little sassy!
They immediately made me feel comfortable enough to take risks with speaking Spanish, and I was rusty, let me tell you!
We discussed my previous experience with Spanish and magically (it seemed), they both knew the level and vocabulary base that I needed to have a somewhat fluent conversation in Spanish. Yes, I may have sounded like a child, but it was fun and I was immediately learning.
After my first two hour-long sessions, I felt inspired to learn more. I felt excited to travel to a Spanish-speaking country and I even had a dream in Spanish, which they say is a good sign.
You can search teachers by country, by gender or even by interests like “Arts” and “Food and Cooking.”
The Cons of Baselang
Though, overall, I’ve enjoyed using Baselang, there are a few negatives that I would be remiss if I didn’t point out. Here are my main cons after using Baselang for a few weeks:
Some Not So Great Teachers
My first two teachers were great, but my third one was, well, not as great. He seemed distracted (maybe he was), he didn’t give me the same confidence as the previous two teachers. And even though I know that was a native Spanish speaker from Peru and that he knew the grammar of Spanish inside and out, he just didn’t explain it very well.
I had asked to work on the past tense, since I was rusty on everything but the present tense at this point, and he seemed like he was in a rush. Maybe it was just me, or maybe I got him on a bad day, but it reminded me that just because you yourself understand something well doesn’t mean you can explain it well.
There are ratings you can refer to, but the teacher I didn’t like had five stars, so that was confusing to me.
Difficult to Schedule Favorite Teachers
When you find a great teacher, as I did for my first session (beginner’s luck, I suppose), I soon realized that everyone else on Baselang also thought she was a good teacher, so she was pretty much fully booked for the next week.
So I tried my second choice teacher, and the same was pretty much true for her, too. So unlimited started to feel a bit limited after all.
I wrote to Baselang to ask about this, and they told me that, yes, popular teachers can sometimes be difficult to book. They recommended booking as early as possible, and trying new teachers to experience new teaching styles and different accents. I found this response a little frustrating, because the program says “unlimited,” but I guess that doesn’t mean with one or two favorite teachers.
A teacher that I like very much has virtually no availability in the next week.
No Castilian (European) Spanish Teachers
This is not a biggie for most Spanish learners, but I love Spain and I travel there as much as I possibly can. Because of this, I originally wanted a Castilian Spanish teacher, so I could work on my European Spanish accent.
Baselang, based in Colombia, only has teachers in Latin America. The great thing about Latin American Spanish, and the Colombian and Venezuelan accents especially, is that they’re easy for Spanish speakers from all around the world to understand. They even put Spanish language call centers in these countries because of their so-called neutral accent.
But I wanted Castilian and this isn’t the program for that.
User Experience Is a Little Amateurish at Times
Baselang’s tech seems fine, but that’s it. It doesn’t provide the smooth user experience of apps like Duolingo or other tutoring services like italki.
One of the first things Baselang asks you to do when you sign up is to go to your Settings and fill in some information about your time zone, your Spanish experience and your goals. But every time I go to Settings, my Chrome browser crashes. I mentioned this to a teacher and she confirmed that it’s happened to other users, too.
Lastly, the resources are often just PDF slideshows and the Google quizzes, which seems either charmingly old fashioned or just not tech savvy, depending on your personal perspective. For me, I liked the slightly low tech vibe of Baselang, although I did spot a few typos on some of the study materials.
I also found some of the questions on the homework frustratingly confusing. For example: Select the correct option to complete the following syllable: __i.
Then the multiple choices are o, e and b.
Are they saying that specific letter combinations never occur in Spanish? There was nothing about this in the materials in this section.
Zoom Phobics Won’t Like It
If you feel uncomfortable doing Zoom and other video calls like I do, this might not be the best option for you. I find myself staring at myself thinking I need to get more sleep when I’m on a video call!
Additionally, though Zoom is generally stable, internet issues do come up. One of my first five sessions kept freezing, so we had to cut it short. I’m not sure if the connectivity issues were on my side or theirs.
I feel way more comfortable studying Spanish when I know that someone isn’t across the globe peering into my bedroom, but that’s a personal preference. If you love spending time on video calls, Baselang may be a great option for you.
Baselang Versus Other Programs
Baselang vs. italki
italki is an obvious alternative here, although there is no unlimited program for a monthly fee like there is on Baselang. italki can also be very affordable, with some lessons going for as little as $4.
But if you’re going to really commit and use the program to learn Spanish quickly, I still recommend going with Baselang here in this match-up. I just felt that the Baselang teachers were more focused on me and my personal progress, whereas the italki tutors I’ve had are a little more general, if you know what I mean.
Read our full review of italki here.
Baselang vs. Tandem
If you want to go for a free alternative, Tandem might be a good option for you. Tandem doesn’t work like Baselang or italki, where you pay for tutoring with a specialized language tutor.
Rather, it connects language partners, two people who want to learn one another’s language. So there are no actual teachers involved (unless you luck out and find a language teacher as a partner). This has benefits (it’s free, conversation can be more natural) and disadvantages (since your partner isn’t a teacher, they’ve never been trained to teach).
Overall, I’ve had positive experiences on Tandem, but for fast, effective learning, I’d still recommend Baselang here. After all, knowing a language doesn’t mean you know how to teach it.
Here’s our full review of Tandem.
Baselang vs. FluentU
Since one of the features I most missed while using Baselang was recorded video, I wanted to start this comparison section with FluentU, which has video at the heart of its program. Even though FluentU doesn’t offer online tutoring, I still find that it’s a very similar experience because of the video.
I know many people who’ve told me that they learned English through watching movies and TV. In fact, I’ve heard it so many times, I definitely believe it. So I like to use this method, too.
FluentU works really well for me because I’m a person who really likes to watch TV, movies, music videos, news and vlogs on YouTube. So it feels like a really sustainable and fun way to learn and review a language and it’s worked really well for me.
I find myself spending hours on FluentU, all while feeling engaged, while a 30 minute session on Baselang sometimes feels like a slog.
Overall, I think FluentU and Baselang would complement each other nicely, and the cost would still be pretty affordable.
FluentU takes authentic videos—like music videos, movie trailers, news and inspiring talks—and turns them into personalized language learning lessons.
Baselang vs. preply
preply is another language learning program that matches up language learners and language teachers around the world. preply doesn’t have an unlimited option like Baselang does, although there are some tutors that charge less than $10 per hour long session.
As with italki, I would recommend preply to someone who just wants to do a couple hours a week of language lessons, but if you’re serious about learning Spanish in particular, I would recommend the commitment and unlimited nature of Baselang.
There’s something about knowing that you’re paying $149 a month, whether you use it or not, that really motivated me, and I think you may feel the same.
Baselang vs. verbling
verbling offers online video tutoring for over 50 languages. Meanwhile, Baselang offers only Spanish, which makes it more suitable for people who specifically want to learn Spanish, and if you want to learn Latin American Spanish, it’s is even more suited for you.
verbling has another disadvantage in that there are basically no study materials or resources unless your tutor happens to give you some of their own. They’re not provided by verbling, so verbing ends up feeling more like a tutor/student connection service rather than a full language school, which is what Baselang is.
Overall, I’d recommend Baselang if you’re super serious about learning Spanish. But verbling is fine for occasional users, or if you find a teacher that you love.
Is Baselang Worth It?
Baselang costs $149 per month for unlimited one-on-one classes. They offer a one week trial for $1.
If you’re super serious about learning Spanish and you really think you’re going to take advantage of the unlimited Zoom classes each month, I’d say Baselang is totally worth it.
They have quality resources, study materials and other stuff to keep you on track like homework and quizzes. And being able to have all that one-on-one time with a teacher is amazing, especially if you find a teacher you love.
But if you’re shy or don’t like Zoom calls, this program might not be for you.
Additionally, if you think you just want to dip your toe in the water of learning Spanish and you want to start a bit slower, then Baselang may end up costing you more than it’s worth.
And One More Thing...
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