Are you thinking about doing the Lingoda Language Sprint to learn a language? Well, this is a complete and honest review by someone who has actually done it.
What is Lingoda and the Language Sprint?
This begins my review of Lingoda, a German online language school that I had never heard of prior to December 2018. Based in Berlin, the company has become notorious for their massive language promotion, the Lingoda Language Sprint, which offers up to 50% cash back on a two-month challenge with a choice of 15 or 30 classes per month.
For years, this promotion was referred to as the “Lingoda Language Marathon.” However, the name and structure have since been changed to the “Lingoda Language Sprint,” with alterations in duration and cashback reward.
This review focuses on the Lingoda Language Sprint, a two-month intensive language course with the opportunity to earn up to 50% cash back on tuition.
In this article, I will share my experience with the Lingoda Sprint and discuss whether I recommend it. I completed the promotion with Lingoda in 2019, just before they underwent a name change and switched their challenge format from three months to the current two-month setup. I’m going to talk about their interface, their teachers, the material used, tips for completing the Sprint, what I think they could do better, and if I think it was worth it. This is a definitive Lingoda Sprint review, likely the most extensive non-sponsored Lingoda review available online.
For those of you who are unfamiliar with Lingoda, they’re an online language learning company that pairs you up with native speakers in 1-on-1 and small group classes. Lingoda offers classes in Spanish, German, French, English, and Business English. And they offer them in all levels from absolute beginner to advanced.
Lingoda has become famous for their incredible promotion called the Lingoda Language Sprint. This promotion involves a two-month commitment to intensive language learning. All classes are one-hour long. The Sprint requires you to complete 15 classes a month, and the Super Sprint requires 30 classes per month. If you are able to complete either of these, Lingoda offers a 50% cash back on your tuition. That’s a pretty bold claim. So, I put them to the test.
I did the Lingoda Sprint in Spanish, which was my target language. Spanish and Go, of course, focuses on teaching Spanish, as well as the culture, language, and traditions of various Spanish-speaking regions (as we do with our groups on our Spanish Immersion Retreats), so I’m always looking to improve. Ever since I started learning Spanish I thought it would be incredible to achieve a near native fluency. And I’m getting closer. I’ve got some work to do for sure. But I went into the Sprint knowing that I was about a C1 Spanish speaker. And talking to the Lingoda teachers I was able to determine that I was in the right place when I started doing the Sprint.
2023 Update: As of August 3rd, Lingoda no longer offers a 100% cash back offer for the Super Sprint.
So, if you’re unfamiliar with what C1 means, that is based off of the “CEFR” Common European Framework of Reference for Languages. This signifies the upper echelon of language learning, essentially the more advanced stuff. A1 would be beginner and C2 would be advanced. It goes A1, A2, B1, B2, C1, C2. I eventually want to get to C2, but I did the Sprint mainly in C1 and I completed it. I got my certificate.
Update February 8th, 2022: The C1 & C2 levels are no longer available for the promotion.
How Lingoda Works: The Interface
In this Sprint review, I’ll assume that you have no prior experience with Lingoda, and begin by discussing their interface.
Lingoda’s interface makes it really easy to book your classes, to see what your syllabus is, what classes you have coming up, which ones you’ve completed, who you’re going to have classes with, and at what time. It’s really simple and straightforward. There are basically three main tabs: my classes, book classes, and my course.
The “my classes” tab prominently displays your upcoming class. And below that you can see your upcoming classes after your next one, and the past classes. So, it’s really easy to see if you have a class booked for every day, which you’re going to need to do to complete the Sprint.
Additionally, there’s a “book classes” tab where you can schedule your next sessions. And it’s convenient because you can select the time frame range of when you’re available to take a class and then it’ll only filter out classes during those times. And it also gives you the option to only show the classes that are next in your syllabus by showing the next one, next five, and next 10 classes. Essentially, it aims to ensure you are progressing through your syllabus in an orderly manner. The syllabus is different for each level. In my case, for the C1 level, there were eleven chapters. So I could go through and see where I was at any point during the Sprint in the syllabus.
And then there is the “my courses” tab which shows you the classes you’ve completed, the ones that you have scheduled but not yet completed, and if you have a pending class report from your teacher. Another cool part of this section is not only do you get to see your whole syllabus, but you also get to see how far along you are towards earning your CEFR certificate, which to me kind of gamifies the whole experience and I got really excited just seeing the percentage change every day getting closer and closer to that CEFR certificate.
Now let’s talk about the teachers. One thing I thought was really cool about the Sprint is I got to talk to so many teachers from so many different places. I had teachers from eight different Spanish speaking countries:
- Costa Rica
To me, this was one of the coolest aspects of the Sprint because I just love hearing different accents from different speakers around the world. It truly opens up your ability to understand a variety of people when speaking Spanish. To get an even deeper appreciation for this diversity, you might want to check out our article on Different Spanish Accents Around the World.
Pretty much all the teachers I had were super high quality. We’d be having a conversation or going through the lesson and they would be taking notes on what I was saying as I was saying it and then we would revisit that to correct my errors. That’s something I just don’t get when I’m out and about talking to Spanish speakers on the street. Because for the most part no one is going to correct you like that. So, in my opinion, they’re doing a great job just by doing that.
All the teachers I encountered were experienced and knowledgeable. They all knew their grammar. If I had a question they were on top of it. The only situations I experienced where they didn’t know something was when something in the lesson material was from Spain which, it usually is, and we’ll get to that, and they didn’t know what that phrase meant. Spanish is a very diverse language and I wouldn’t expect them to know every single phrase from every country or even just from Spain when they’re from Ecuador for example, or Mexico.
At the end of each class you also have the opportunity to rate your teacher. And for the most part, I thought everyone was excellent. There was only one situation out of dozens of classes where I thought the teacher could have been better. Let’s just say this particular teacher was a little too impatient for my liking. I wrote some feedback and I ended up getting that teacher again. I believe that the feedback system is anonymous, but that teacher was much better, curiously, in the next class. So, the feedback system obviously works, or I just got lucky.
The Class Materials
Now, let’s delve into the class material. Every class you have has an accompanying PDF, and for the most part, you go through the PDF with your teacher and the rest of the group sharing different sections to speak out loud and ask questions. It’s worth repeating the fact that I took the Sprint at a C1 level, because I heard that Lingoda was in the process of updating a lot of their learning materials. But they haven’t yet redone the C1 and C2 levels in Spanish. Also, I’ve heard that the majority of students undertake the Sprint at the lower levels, which have recently been revamped. I haven’t had a chance to check it out any of the A and B level class materials yet.
Update: Lingoda has revamped their Spanish class materials since the original publication of this review.
What I can share is my personal experience with the class material. In my opinion, it was rather good. The curriculum seemed to be mostly based on conversation and writing on a variety of subjects. The lessons included topics like classic literature, film, and day-to-day activities you’d eventually need to navigate in a Spanish-speaking country, such as opening a bank account. There were some classes that particularly stood out, like those covering life stages and even the economy. Discussing the economy in Spanish was especially challenging for me since I’d never tackled that topic before. I learned a great deal from that class. Another class I recall fondly involved a lively discussion about different types of diets.
Over the course of the Sprint, we covered a vast range of vocabulary across many subjects. This was superb for improving my speaking skills and also provided a chance to practice listening in a wide array of contexts. Hearing others’ speech and examining their choice of words was instructive. Seeing the words written out was beneficial too, as it helped me learn new vocabulary.
Tips for Completing the Sprint Challenge
This is where things get really interesting. I’m going to give you some tips for success if you want to give the Lingoda Sprint a shot, and then I’m going to talk about some things that I think could be better. Then we’ll follow that up with my reflections.
Tip #1: Test Your Internet Connection and Have a Backup
May and I were living in Puerto Rico while I did the Sprint where occasionally the electricity goes out. What do you do then? I’ve had two Lingoda classes where the electricity went out sometime before the class started and I had to race to figure out a backup. Here’s how I did it. I had backup internet with my cell phone. So, I used my cell phone as a hotspot and I was able to log into the Zoom platform. That’s the conferencing software Lingoda uses for hosting their classes. You can see everybody and talk to everybody that way.
Note: You don’t have to have your camera on during class, and sometimes turning it off can help when the internet connection seems slow.
Fortunately, an LTE connection kept me connected. We had T-Mobile plans with unlimited LTE data, which definitely gave me some extra peace of mind. I relied on this primarily in emergencies making sure that both my phone and my computer were always charged. So, ensure you have a backup plan, and possibly even a spare power bank.
Tip #2: Book Your Classes at Least a Week in Advance
Book your classes early. Especially with the lower levels from what I hear, you’re going to need to book your classes as far in advance as possible. For me, the most useful way to go about this was basically just to stick to an hour or two every day that I knew I had reserved for my classes. This formed a habit for me where I knew that every day at 8 pm or 9 pm I had a class. So, I would only look for classes during those times and book then in advance.
There was one time where I failed to book my classes far enough in advance, leaving me with no available options. Naturally, I panicked and reached out to Lingoda’s customer service for assistance. However, their response wasn’t immediate, which left me uncertain if I would be able to secure a class in time.
Now, this is on me because I should have given it more than a week, which is why I’m telling you. Although I didn’t hear back from Lingoda immediately, and despite no new classes having been released, I was fortunate to see more classes appear on the schedule a day before my supposed class. I finally heard from Lingoda thereafter.
In the end, everything worked out fine. I was able to book my classes, but that was a close call. To Lingoda’s credit, they got back to me and apologized. They told me to make sure that I have at least a week in advance, and they assured me that they’re working on amping up their customer support during the Sprints to be able to get back to students even faster. Interestingly, I had a direct conversation with the head of operations at Lingoda, and she confirmed that they’re working on this aspect.
She also revealed a useful workaround – if no classes are available at a given level, you have the option to skip levels. In my situation, I could have explored classes at the C2 or B2 levels, which likely would have resolved my issue. Unfortunately, I was unaware of this option at the time.
Tip #3: Sync Your Classes to the Cloud
Ensure that you sync all your classes to the cloud. That way you always can see on your calendar on your phone or on your computer when you have a class. I made it a point to sync everything so I could monitor my class schedule, irrespective of where I was. Make sure you set reminders on your phone that are giving you notifications 10 or 15 minutes before your class so that you can prepare. Remember to check your internet connection to ensure you’re ready to start your class. Here’s a site I like to use to test your internet speed.
Tip #4: Use the Filter Function
Use the filter function under the ‘book classes’ tab to help you progress somewhat in order of the syllabus. I learned about this function way too late in the Sprint and although it worked out, it’s probably a little bit better if you kind of stick to the syllabus and go from one chapter to the next rather than bouncing around all over the place.
Tip #5: Download Zoom for Mobile and Desktop
Download the Zoom app for your phone so that you can get to your class from wherever you are. This saved me in a situation where May and I were at a Spayathon with our two dogs, and I had a class right when the dogs were undergoing surgery. I was compelled to use the app, which turned out to be a lifesaver.
Tip #6: Carry headphones With You
Get into the habit of always carrying headphones suitable for a Zoom call with you. The one time I didn’t have headphones with me and I had a class while away from home, the setting was less than ideal. It was really difficult to read the materials and listen to my teacher in a noisy environment. I imagine it wasn’t ideal for my classmates either. ¡Lo siento! (I’m sorry!)
What I Didn’t Like
OK, with all that said what could be better?
Lacking a Batch Class Sync Function
Although when you book a class Lingoda sends you a reminder email with a file that you can download to basically automatically add your class to your calendar either Google Calendar or Apple Calendar. I think it would be more useful if you could just book a bunch of classes and download all those files at once. It would save a little bit of time because usually when I was booking classes I would book two weeks in advance and it is just kind of tedious to go through and add every single class one by one.
Lesson Material Focuses on Spanish from Spain
I believe it would be beneficial if Lingoda were to introduce a course focusing on Spanish from Latin America. Currently, the curriculum is predominantly centered on Spanish from Spain. While this isn’t a deal breaker for me, it includes many phrases I’ll probably never use in practice.
Nevertheless, it’s useful to familiarize yourself with these phrases, especially if you travel extensively.
Another thing I think that could be better is there’s no real testing so you can get your CEFR certificate because you put in the time and went through all the classes, but there’s no grading. In essence, you are expected to attend your classes and indeed you will improve, but there is no tangible metric to measure your progress.
No Actual Testing
The most feedback you get is basically from your teacher at the end of each class where they give you tips on what you can improve. And at the end of the Sprint, make sure that you are canceling any upcoming classes or subscriptions with Lingoda if you don’t plan to continue forward. I’ve come across some complaints from people who were not aware of this. And if you’re done with courses with them then you just have to cancel when you’re done.
It’s Almost Impossible to Follow the Syllabus
While the class filter function is a great idea, it’s not really practical unless you can find classes that follow your syllabus. Even when I’ve tried to book classes nearly two weeks in advance, finding any classes that that were within the next five or ten subjects on my syllabus was nearly impossible. With some luck, there would be the occasional class that fit, but nine times out of ten I’d be left taking whatever classes were available. At my level, this might not be such a big deal, but I’m not so sure at the lower levels. I can see how this could be more troublesome for an A1 student.
Lingoda is Sometimes Difficult to Contact
My faith in a company generally goes up proportionate to their customer service response time. During the Sprint, I reached out to Lingoda once, but the wait for a response felt like an eternity, particularly as I was stressing out about booking another class in time. While Lingoda did their part to assure me they were working on this, I can’t help but wonder if they actually did.
Larger Classes Are Much Less Fun and Rewarding
While Lingoda’s virtual classes tend to be much smaller than in-person group classes, having more than two or three other students in a class at a time can be frustrating. Lingoda advertises that their group classes average three students per class, but there can be as many as five students in a class. In my experience, I was usually the only student at the C1 level, but most teachers told me that the lower A and B levels are much busier. I found that each new student in a class meant much less time you get to practice speaking and interacting with the teacher.
You’re Automatically Enrolled Into a Subscription Plan
I get it. Lingoda is only able to offer such an enticing promotion because they hope to turn you into a paying customer. Lingoda has a plan for that: they enroll you automatically into a subscription plan after the promotion is over. This is clearly stated in their rules, so you can’t really say this is shady… but it’s not otherwise well-advertised on their site.
Just know that you can avoid this automatic enrollment by notifying Lingoda that you wish to end your subscription shortly before the promotion concludes.
Is the Lingoda Sprint Worth It?
So here are some of my reflections on the Sprint.
Did it Help Me?
Let’s start with the big one: Did it help me? The simple answer is yes. At first I didn’t really notice that I was progressing, but that’s the case with small changes over time with anything. As with any skill you’re trying to develop, you might not notice significant changes day by day. But over time you look back and think, “wow, yeah, I’ve really come a long way.” And my Mexican wife May (the other half of Spanish and Go) can vouch for this. She’s said that I am more fluent in Spanish. And if she says it, well I’m not going to argue with that.
Was It Worth It?
For me it absolutely was worth it. My goal is to become as fluent as I possibly can in Spanish and the Sprint helped me push myself to get better and better. Would I do it again? Yes. Under one condition. I need a break. It’s a lot of work. Remember, my Sprint was three months, not the current two month challenge. But you do have to be absolutely dedicated to showing up regularly over two months, which can start to feel like a lot. Things come up, and sometimes it’s just really hard to get to class.
If you are determined and pick a consistent time every day when you’re typically free, you can absolutely conquer the Lingoda Sprint.
More On Class Sizes
I really enjoyed the small class sizes. All of the classes for the Sprint were small groups. Lingoda states on their website that their classes average three students per class. In my experience, most of the group classes consisted of three people or fewer. Indeed, many of my classes were just between me and the teacher. I discussed this with some of my teachers, and they mentioned that there aren’t as many students taking the higher-level courses for Spanish.
I imagine this applies to other languages too. Most Sprint participants are beginners or intermediates, so lower-level classes may have more attendees, but it’s not a certainty.
I only experienced one class that was at maximum capacity. It was a peculiar situation where availability was low, and I ended up taking a class at 1:00 am. The class was full of Russians because it was morning there, while in Puerto Rico, it was one o’clock in the morning. This was an exception, not the norm. However, when classes are full, it can be a bit overwhelming, as you have to patiently wait your turn to participate in any activity or ask questions.
Who is the Lingoda Sprint For?
Overall, I recommend this promotion to anyone who needs that extra push to stay motivated to learning a new language. If you are good at setting goals and need that financial incentive to stick to them, this is for you.
On the other hand, if you are not good at sticking to strict rules, or failing the Sprint would put you in a difficult spot financially, then the Lingoda Sprint isn’t for you.
Sign up here for the Sprint to really help take your language learning to the next level. I can promise you if you stick to it you will definitely majorly improve your Spanish (or whichever language you choose).
Note: The Lingoda Sprint is only available at select times throughout the year. If you don’t see it advertised at this link, then be sure to sign up for our newsletter to know when new opportunities become available.
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Is Lingoda a Scam?
Several individuals have expressed concerns about Lingoda on various review sites and our own YouTube video reviewing the Sprint. These concerns and complaints generally have to do with cases where Lingoda did not grant a refund to the customer. But as far as I can tell, many of the complaint show a blatant misunderstanding of Lingoda’s Terms and Conditions for the promotion.
For example, one account on X claims that they didn’t get their refund because Lingoda canceled a class (which occasionally happens). They seem to think that this meant automatic disqualification. A canceled class on Lingoda’s part will never disqualify you. Just keep in mind that you cannot buy extra credits during the promotion. Just wait it out and the credit from the canceled class will be returned to you at the end of the promotion.
It’s challenging to identify the individuals making these claims, and even more difficult to verify whether they’ve actually attempted the Sprint Promotion. But it all comes down to one thing: Read and understand the rules before signing up for the Lingoda Sprint, or any sort of promotion.
Do I think Lingoda is a scam? No. Because I followed the rules exactly as they were stated, and successfully completed the Lingoda Sprint. And so can you. If you’re up for the challenge, sign up here.
Lingoda Discount Codes
Lingoda has established itself as one of the most effective language learning platforms available. With a diverse selection of language courses and a superb team of professional instructors, it’s not surprising that thousands of individuals have entrusted their language learning journey to Lingoda. Now, in partnership with Lingoda, we’re offering our readers an exclusive deal to make your language learning journey even more affordable!
Monthly Subscription Discount
Get ready to level up your language skills with Lingoda’s Monthly Subscription plan. And the best part? We’re giving you an exclusive opportunity to get started on your linguistic journey at a discounted rate!
Use our unique coupon code “spanishgom2m” to enjoy a generous 20% off on your first month of the Monthly Subscription plan. Please note that this discount applies to all plans except for the ones with the smallest number of classes per month.
To use this code, simply enter it at checkout when you choose your preferred Monthly Subscription plan. This is a fantastic opportunity to start your language learning journey, or perhaps even pick up a new language, while enjoying significant savings.
Sprint and Super Sprint Discount
But that’s not all! We also have a special offer for those ambitious learners who want to kick things up a notch with Lingoda’s Sprint and Super Sprint programs.
When signing up for either the Sprint or Super Sprint program, use the discount code “spanishgosp” to get a €20 discount on your sign-up deposit. This is a great chance to commit to an intensive language learning experience and save money while doing it!
To apply this offer, simply enter the code during the registration process. Start sprinting towards your language goals with this exciting deal!
Remember, learning a new language is an investment in yourself, and with these exclusive Lingoda discounts, you’re getting more value than ever. Happy learning!
A Truly Honest Review
It’s no secret that we have promoted Lingoda before on our channel in sponsored videos, but this post nor the accompanying review video were paid for in any way. We will always clearly state when a video or blog post is a paid promotion.
My goal with this review is to give you, the language student, a fair overview of the Lingoda Language Sprint. My opinions of Lingoda are my own, and Lingoda did not approve of or have a say in what was included in this review whatsoever.
To my knowledge, I am the only Youtuber or “influencer” who has successfully completed this promotion. Not because it’s impossible, but because many social media personalities do not take the time to thoroughly review the platforms they promote. You can see here that I have logged 151 one-hour classes with Lingoda to date.
While Spanish and Go is indeed our full-time job, your trust is far more important to us than a paycheck. With that being said, we do receive a modest commission if you decide to sign up for Lingoda using one of our links.
I fully understand that some may see this as biased, but earning a commission as affiliates from various companies that we use, endorse, and promote helps us continue to maintain the website, podcast, and Youtube channel. This also keeps it so you can continue to access 99% of our work for free. Without your trust, we wouldn’t have reached where we are today.
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