Podcasts are one of the biggest revolutions of today’s language learning. Thanks to the Internet, we can access podcasts from all the radios in the world. We can easily find podcasts from Spain or any other Spanish speaking country. This is definitely a great way to learn Spanish online.
A podcast is a sort of radio program or radio broadcast (Ted Talks, PodCinema, Hoy empieza todo…). For example, BBC has different channels; every channel has many broadcasts or “chapters”. Of course, you can listen to them directly by turning your radio on. But let’s say that you listen to BBC News every morning, but today you missed it. No problem! Just go to the program’s website and you will find a complete list with the latest chapters. Look for the one you missed and that’s it. That’s a podcast, and the great thing about it is that you can listen to any podcast of any radio on the world, at any moment, and for free!
Moreover, many people, companies, bloggers, etc. have created their own audios that they share on the Internet as podcasts. Many of them have excellent quality, so it's not something limited to just public radios.
In other words, there are podcasts on the Internet; and within every podcast, you can find different “chapters”.
There are many options, so let’s take a look at them:
We can listen to them directly on streaming. To do so, we just need to look for the podcast site (for example, let’s say TED Talks), and save them one by one to our favorites on Mozilla, Chrome or any other. Then we would just need to go to the website and hear the audio online. It is possible to download them one by one and play them on our computer or iPad, of course!
There are different apps that we can install for free on our smartphone, iPhone, tablet or iPad. In my opinion, the best one is Podcast Addict. It’s easy to download and install, and it lets you search for podcasts in any language by setting a language filter. It lets you subscribe to any podcast and it gets automatically updated to show you the latest emissions of your favorite podcasts. Also, you can download these podcasts really easily and fast at any moment.
If you are using your computer, it is also possible to subscribe to any podcast by using a free application that you can download from the Internet at any moment.
There are two platforms that you can use for this purpose: Juice (a good free software platform, although its interface it’s not very attractive), and of course, iTunes (free to download and use, with a nice interface and the advantage that is can also be used as a music player and store). You can download Juice from here; to download iTunes, click here.
Alternatively, if you are tired of having so many accounts and platforms, you can take a look at Netvibes. Netvibes is an online platform (with a free version and a premium version), that works as an “aggregator”. This means you can subscribe to any blog on the Internet by using the blog’s feed URL. It is similar to Google Reader but much better. No need to download anything; just sign up and get a password. You can also use it for blogs, newspapers, and video platforms, as well as for podcasts!
Now that you already know what podcasts are and where to find them, you will be wondering which ones are good to learn Spanish online. Here's a selection of some of my favorite ones:
Podcasts for Beginner and Elementary levels (A1 & A2):
o Mi vida loca: a website from the BBC, with exercises and audios, ideal for beginners.
o Notes in Spanish for beginners: an audio blog with lots of easy-to-listen podcasts and listening exercises for beginners.
Podcasts for Intermediate & Advanced levels (B1 & B2):
o IVOOX, a website that includes a huge amount of podcasts and audiobooks, about all kinds of topics and interests. It also includes audiobooks and movies for visually impaired people. Some of my favorite podcasts are: Documentales sonoros, Retronautas, La rosa de los vientos, SER historia, Afectos, Oh TV y PodCinema.
o Notes in Spanish, excellent blog with podcasts in Spanish, ordered by levels.
o Revista Trabalenguas: audio blog and online magazine. Several Spanish teachers collaborate on this project creating short audios and a wide range of articles about the Spanish language culture.
o Podcasts from Radio Nacional de España (RNE), especially recommended No es un día cualquiera, Esto me suena, De película, De cine, Cuentanoches, Futuro abierto, La Lanzadera.
I hope these podcasts help you improve your listening skills! If you also want to practice conversation in Spanish and become fluent, our conversation lessons will help you a lot. If you are not sure about how to learn Spanish online, you can request a trial class and see how it works. I can bet you'll love our Skype Spanish lessons!
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