¡Saludos! We wanted to practice our language skills so we sat down with CIC Boston resident organization, BASE!
Give us your elevator pitch.
BASE is a teacher-owned and teacher-run language school aiming to bridge cultural and linguistic gaps in the Boston area and beyond. We have 10+ years of experience in Boston helping people with their language skills, including translation and interpreting services.
Our strength is our focus on building and maintaining conversation skills in the target language via small-group and private courses. We weave our niche community tightly in Boston through the cultural opportunities we offer, in addition to our language courses and through the relationships we’ve cultivated with like-minded organizations in Boston.
Self-assessments are available on our website (bostonspanish.com) to decide what course you need to take.
How did the company start?
We (Lorena Calderón and Bill Spirito) moved to Boston with the initial goal of paying off Bill’s college loans, as earning Colombian pesos while paying off loans in American dollars wasn’t cutting the cake. At first Bill wanted to take a break from language teaching, having taught English and Spanish as well as training teachers in Bogotá for five years, but we almost immediately identified a void in quality Spanish-language learning opportunities in Boston, and the idea took off.
BASE teamed up with JVS Boston where BASE operated from for ten years until the surge of gentrification of Winter Street led us to the enlightened world of coworking space. We discovered CIC with the help of CIC employees who were enrolled at the time that we received our 30-days from Winter Street.
We love CIC!
Do you have a favorite translation or phrase to teach?
“Que estés bien.” Be well.
I use only Spanish from the get-go in my courses, even in the introductory ones, so I lean on synonyms and cognates heavily. When teaching students how to say “good-bye” I write “Adiós = ” on the board (I have yet to have an intro student who had never learned “Adiós” somewhere along the line), and I encourage them to go beyond using that and “Hasta la vista, baby.” By far my favorite authentic good-bye to teach students is “Que estés bien,” which is not just for Buddhists!
What was your latest company milestone?
We began offering Portuguese courses again this year, and surprisingly, in our first attempt to offer courses out of CIC Cambridge at One Broadway, we were successful! From our experience, programs need multiple course periods to take hold.
What brought you to CIC?
Adrienne Mueller, love her! She was one of the above-mentioned CIC staff who had been enrolled in a BASE course at the time we were looking for space to continue our operations. We were then introduced to the wonderful Julia Hansen who toured us around and proclaimed that CIC loves experiments, so we experimented, and so far, so good!