9 of the Best Podcasts for Learning Spanish

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Imagine what you would do if you could easily understand spoken Spanish.

You could finally travel to the Spanish-speaking countries you’ve dreamed of, watch foreign films and addictive telenovelas, or understand a paella recommendation from the _menu del día_on a Thursday in Valencia.

Best of all, you’d be prepared for real conversations with native Spanish-speakers. The only question is: how do you find the time to practice your Spanish listening skills?

Podcasts are a great way to add a little Spanish listening practice into your day-to-day life. They are free, and can accompany any part of your day: driving a car, washing your dishes, doing laundry, working out, reading, and more.

The Fluent Show

In addition to the Spanish podcasts you’ll find in this article, check out the Fluent Show. That’s my own show, co-hosted by Lindsay Williams, where we discuss languages, learning methods, and how to live a multilingual life.Click here to listen and subscribe.

Quick Primer: How Do Podcasts Work?

If you're curious about podcasts, but not quite sure how they work, here's what you need to know:

  1. You can subscribe for free to podcasts on your phone, tablet, or computer.
  2. If you use an iPhone or iPad, go to the Podcasts app. If you're on a Mac, use theiTunes directory.
  3. On a PC or Android device, try theStitcher app for a quick and easy start.
  4. Subscribing means you'll always have the latest episode ready and waiting for you as soon as it's published.

The 9 Best Spanish Podcasts for Learners

In this article, you’ll find:

  1. Spanish Podcasts for Beginners
  2. Spanish Podcasts for Intermediate and Advanced Learners
  3. Spanish Video Resources
  4. Story-Based Shows
  5. A Special Tip for Advanced Learners

To help you target your Spanish learning goals, this list also specifies whether a podcast uses Castilian Spanish, Latin American Spanish, or offers options for both.

Spanish Podcasts for Beginners

Castilian Spanish

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Notes in Spanish

Notes in Spanish is a podcast run by Marina, a native speaker from Spain, and Ben, an Englishman. Each episode is actually a conversation between the two. There are episodes dedicated to beginners as well as intermediate and advanced learners. For beginners, the hosts also go over key vocabulary, phrases, and basic grammar points both before and after their conversations.

Since Ben is also a Spanish learner, he offers a lot of useful tips for listeners while Marina often provides corrections and points out common mistakes. They speak clearly, making it easy for beginners to follow along.

Castilian and Latin American Spanish

SpanishPod101

SpanishPod101 from InnovativeLanguage covers the basic through advanced levels of Spanish. The episodes are exciting and immersive. Plus, you can find episodes for both Castilian and Latin American Spanish along with the differences between them. There are even episodes that explain some of the regional vocabulary from places like Costa Rica, Peru, Mexico, and Spain.

The dialogues are presented by engaging hosts in a clear, concise way covering many grammatical features and cultural topics. On the website you can sign up for premium content to access spaced repetition flashcards, PDF lesson notes, and a community forum.

Spanish Podcasts for Intermediate and Advanced Learners

Castilian Spanish

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Unlimited Spanish

Unlimited Spanish with Òscar Pellus uses a unique storytelling technique based on Òscar’s method of learning Spanish through exposure and repetition. Every episode includes a quick story followed by a question and answer session that encourages listeners to practice their speaking skills as well. It’s also a great option for anyone who doesn’t care for lengthy grammar explanations.

Podcast topics include various aspects of Spanish culture, including places and food, as well as social topics and situations. When necessary Òscar touches on some relevant vocabulary and grammar, but it isn’t overwhelming. The podcast is entirely in Spanish, but if you have any trouble understanding, you can download transcripts of every episode in PDF format.

Español Automático

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Done entirely in Spanish, this podcast is meant to provide an immersive experience for intermediate to advanced learners. The host, Karo Martínez, is lively, engaging, and speaks both clearly and naturally.

There are over 100 episodes to choose from, some of which explore grammar concepts, offer tips to improve your pronunciation, or explain colloquial expressions. Other episodes talk about different parts of Spain or even how to learn Spanish with popular shows like Game of Thrones.

The Español Automático site offers episode transcripts along with additional guides and resources.

Latin American Spanish

15 Minute Spanish for Your Job

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Though this podcast is directed towards those learning Spanish for work, its main goal is to help listeners get used to and understand native, spoken Spanish.

The host, Miguel Lira, is a native Spanish speaker from Mexico and a Spanish learning coach. Each episode goes over a particular conversation exchange in Spanish, such as conversations between workers or while simply ordering coffee. Miguel, as the sole host, uses a different tone of voice for each speaker, which is both entertaining and helpful as you follow along. There are also a few episodes on cultural subjects, like The Day of the Dead in Mexico.

In addition, the website offers notes, transcripts, and other resources to help you review the conversations.

Castilian and Latin American Spanish

News in Slow Spanish

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News in Slow Spanish is an intermediate level podcast. This podcast covers world news, grammar, and expressions and slows down all the dialogue to make it easier to process what you hear. Every episode breaks down a point on grammar and vocabulary. It also lets you choose between Castilian and Latin American Spanish.

The audio is very clear and easy to follow. On the website, there are transcripts for each episode available with grammar, expressions, pronunciation, and quizzes.

Spanish Video Resources

Yabla Spanish

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Yabla is a video-based learning platform with bilingual subtitles and integrated dictionaries. The subtitles are interactive, which is a really cool concept! Check out how Yabla works in detail by reading myfull review.

Yabla is great for all levels from basic to advanced. You can check out their podcast and choose between videos from Spain and Latin America for hours of entertainment.

Story-Based Shows

Castilian Spanish

Coffee Break Spanish

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Coffee Break Spanish, a podcast from Radio Lingua Network, combines Spanish language lessons with a lot of useful information about Spanish food, culture, Spanish speaking countries, and so on.

My favourite part of the podcast is the chemistry between relaxed and charismatic host Mark from Scotland (who is fluent in Spanish) and Spanish learner Kara from Scotland. Mark guides both Kara and listeners through Spanish grammar, conversation, culture, and society.

The dialogues are presented in a clear, concise way, covering many grammatical features and cultural topics. On the website you can sign up for the premium content to access spaced repetition flashcards, PDF lesson notes, and a community forum for a subscription fee.

Latin American Spanish

Duolingo Spanish Podcast

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The Duolingo Spanish Podcast tells real-life stories from all across Latin America. Some of the stories are uplifting and inspiring while others are suspenseful and heartrending. Either way, they really make you want to hear more!

The stories are done partially in Spanish and partially in English, which makes it a great option for more advanced beginners who want to get used to spoken Spanish while still understanding what’s going on.

Advanced Learner Tip: Native Spanish Podcasts

If you’re interested in a more immersive experience, there are plenty of podcasts intended for native Spanish speakers available.

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One great option is the Radio Ambulante podcast. Radio Ambulante is a longform journalism podcast that shares real-life Latin American stories. There are stories about language, sports, education, events, and more. Plus, there are both English and Spanish transcripts available for every episode.

podcasts in spanish itunes directory

If you want an easy way to access even more Spanish podcasts, go to iTunes and switch your country setting to Spain, Mexico, or any other Spanish speaking country. There’s no restriction on your switch and you’ll be able to access all podcasts in the same way that listeners from those countries can.

This article was written by Cassie Wright and me. She’s a freelance writer who loves languages. Thanks Cassie!

Looking for more Spanish resources?

Click here to get my top tips for Spanish learners.

Which podcasts do you listen to for practicing your Spanish? Leave a comment below and share your tips.

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¡Oye! Spanish learner!

If you want to sound cool and know more about where the most typical slang expressions in your target language come from, today's article is going to give you a language boost that you can take straight to Mexico. Check out these 32 slang expressions, beautifully explained by guest poster Raúl Jiménez.

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Finding credible resources for language learning can be difficult and time-consuming, but don't worry...I'm here to help! Welcome to a new blog series called 9 Best Resources. Every month, I'll bring you trusted and reliable apps, courses, books and more.

The series kicks off with one of the most popular languages among learners everywhere: Español!

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Real Life or Online Language Immersion? There's Only One Way To Find Out...

Could you get the benefits of immersion even when you are unable to put aside a month to do it? 

This question is at the heart of Anthony's story, which is today's Fluent guest post. I love that he got involved with languages right from the start and really took home immersion to the next level by seeking out community meetings.

Ready to learn more about this? Over to Anthony!

I Learnt Spanish Using Two Different Immersion Techniques And Here's What I Found Out

A few years ago some friends and I decided we would spend a year saving up money for an extended trip to Latin America. It would be my first time outside of the United States. I planned on getting the most out of my first international travel experience and thought learning some Spanish would be a great idea. Long story short, the trip was canceled but I had already started learning my new language and began to fall in love with it.

Even without any travel prospects, I continued to practice my Spanish. 4 years later and I am fairly fluent and have had the opportunity to visit several Spanish speaking countries.

Before Spanish I had never tried to speak another language, so my learning experience was a bit bumpy at first. My language learning journey involved both real and virtual immersion. At different points I switched between the two, usually out of necessity. Looking back I have found some interesting differences.

In this post I use examples that apply best to beginners who can’t quite go for full immersion experience in another country. If you live near a major city you chances of find native speakers might better than you think.

Read on to find out how I made it work.

My Experience with Real World Immersion

When I first decided that I wanted to become fluent in Spanish, I had no idea how to start speaking the language. I knew I wanted to speak it, but beyond that I was pretty clueless. Aside from my duolingo app and a few Youtube videos I had no way to practice. Shortly after I took my first stab at Spanish an acquaintance invited me to a Spanish language group that met through a local church. I saw this as an excellent opportunity and decided to check it out.

The First Meeting: Scary And Exciting

spanish meetup

The first meeting was quite an experience. I had never been in a room full of people who only spoke Spanish. It was scary and exciting all at once. I couldn’t understand much back then, but just being exposed to the language was a thrill. It was the first time I had heard Spanish spoken in real life with no English.

I went as often as I could and was able to practice the sentences I learned during the week. It was an immersion experience, but I hadn't even travelled.

I quickly befriended two awesome guys (one from Guatemala and the other from Mexico), who happened to be musicians and love rock music. At the time I was also taking up guitar so it was a natural fit. We started hanging out outside of the group sampling taquerias and talking about music.

Before I knew it I was texting in Spanish, ordering tacos in Spanish, and had Spanish posts popping up on my Facebook feed. The level of Spanish ability needed to do these things honestly wasn’t much, but I realized that a part of my life was now in Spanish, a small part, but a significant one nonetheless. I hadn’t expected it, it just sort of happened.

This was my first real world immersion experience. I had no idea that one meeting with native Spanish speakers could lead to so many other awesome experiences.

My Experience with Virtual Immersion

After a few months of new friends and real life Spanish practice, my job started requiring a lot of overtime each week and I suddenly had much less time and energy to devote to learning Spanish. This is when I started to get involved with language exchanges and online lessons with tutors.

Because my schedule was tighter I began using a mixture of paid tutors and language partners to practice in lieu of meeting up with the Spanish group and my friends, though I would meet up with them on the weekends when I could (most lived 45 minutes away past the other side of the city).

I found digital immersion to be great for weeks when I only had a few hours or so free each day. I didn’t have the time or energy to practice with my new friends, but I could easily set aside 1 hour or so each day to practice with a teacher or language partner via Skype.

Comparing The Two

Structure vs No Structure

One of the definite advantages of real world immersion: Delicious local food.

One of the definite advantages of real world immersion: Delicious local food.

What I love most about virtual immersion is that it allows to have more control over how and when you use your target language. If you want to practice language for exactly one hour you can. You can connect with a language partner or tutorand drill a specific aspect of grammar, or you can just have a friendly conversation. For me this is great. I enjoy being methodical and almost systematic with the management of my time and my language learning.

Talking with real people on the other hand is a lot less predictable. Outside of paying a personal tutor it is very hard to find people to practice with on a daily or weekly basis. When you make friends in another language it’s a huge favor on their part to “practice” with you, they’re your friend not your tutor and if they aren’t learning your native language it costs a lot for them to help you.

Learning a language with friends will flow from your natural interaction with them. You’ll have to make a conscious effort to use what vocabulary you know to adapt to whatever situation you find yourself in.

Social Risk

Socially speaking, virtual immersion is easier, less risky, and insanely convenient. You can practice your language with a native speaker in your bed in your pajamas if you wanted too. You can also connect with speakers from around the world. You can literally pick and choose what country you want to meet people from. Virtual immersion is also more anonymous. You can always delete a skype contact or end a chat.

When you are surrounded in real life by native speakers you have much less control. You’re likely to meet all kinds of people in any number of situations, and you can’t just exit out of a chat window if something goes wrong. It’s also a lot harder to put yourself out there in the physical world versus the virtual one. On the internet you can be sure that the other person is a language learner and will be forgiving and understanding if you struggle. In real life you don’t have that guarantee. Before you initiate a conversation you have no way of knowing for sure whether or not the other person will be patient or receptive.

Rewards

Because virtual immersion is less risky and more controlled the rewards don’t go as far. Yes you get real spoken practice one on one with a real person, but you don’t get the cultural experience or relationship of an in person interaction. I can’t speak for others, but my main motivation for language learning is to make friends and interact with real people from around the world. I don’t want to learn Spanish just so I can talk to people on the internet all day.

It’s also hard to have a friendship over a text or video chat. You don’t get a feel for the body language and full personality of the other person (and you’re also probably 1,000+ miles away from them). You certainly aren’t going to know for their culture this way. That being said you can get valuable practice via virtual immersion. Talking to a real life human beats any other form of practice (at least in my opinion), even if it’s over the internet.

In-person immersion can be intimidating at first. The first time I ever spoke a language other than English to another person I was terrified. But it’s a great experience. As you learn a foreign language, foreign people seem less and less foreign. You really begin to see that you have more in common than what you thought, and You can appreciate the differences. You can make actual real life friends (that’s the dream isn’t it?). The internet will never be able to replace that.

Which is Better?

If I was forced to choose between the two I would choose real world interaction. For me that’s why I chose to start learning a language in the first place. That being said, I don’t think anyone will ever have to choose between the two. I think both offer benefits to your language learning.

In the end, it comes down to your language learning needs.

  • Are you working to become fluent or just functional?
  • Are you a world traveling polyglot, or working a 9-5 job?

Everyone has different goals and constraints on their language learning. So incorporate the real world and the internet in a way that makes sense for you.

I used both when I started learning Spanish and when I learn another language I’ll probably use both again. I found that you can bring a method and consistency to online learning that is best for reviewing and cementing the parts of the language that you’ve already learned. Real world immersion is better suited for being exposed to new aspects and uses of a language. I tend to split them into these two functions and use both accordingly.

##What have your experiences been with immersion?

Do you have a preference for the virtual or real word approach? I'd love to hear more from you in the comments below!

Guest writer Anthony blogs at Spanish Hackers and describes himself as "young at heart with a penchant for travel". He says: "I originally started learning Spanish because I wanted to visit Spain. A couple years and several adventures later, even though I'm pretty much fluent, I still find myself falling in love with the language and the people who speak it." You can connect with Anthony on Twitter.

How to Fall in Love with a Language: Inspiring Stories from Learners like You

A few weeks ago, my partner and I decided to watch the oscar-nominated film Nightcrawler. You may be aware that things get a bit scary in the film, so I allowed myself a distraction from watching it. I was watching the film in English with Spanish subtitles.

And I realised two things:

  1. Spanish doesn't swear sexually but religiously (¡diablos!)
  2. I prefer Spanish to French, even though I've been learning French for 20 years and only studied Spanish from 2001 to 2003

Soon I found myself wondering if this is normal. Does every language learner have a favourite among their languages?

What is it that makes us fall in love with one language more than any of the others?

in love with language

In today's blog post, I enlisted a little help from members of the Fluent community. First of all I want to thank every reader of my newsletter who responded to my call with their own story. It's made this article something I've never had before: A crowdsourced piece of writing. Enjoy!

For some, it's Love at First Word

In the following stories, you'll hear from language learners who were just blown away by their favourite language right from day 1.

Aidan O'Rourke loves German more and more

"My favourite language is German, I much prefer it to French. I love German. I’ve loved it since I started learning it aged 15, I got an A in O and A level and went on to study it at Trinity College Dublin (with French).

German is the most amazing language, I feel it is part of me but sadly I am not a native speaker, though I aspire to that level. I love hearing German, especially on MDR radio and the Tagesschau.

I think I am more enthusiastic about German than at any time in the past! The longer I use it, the more I love it. I've learned a huge amount of German through teaching it as a private tutor over the past few years. There are many things I regret in live but one thing I don’t regret is learning German! Everybody should learn it!"

Aidan is the author of Stargirl of the Edge, a new anglo-chinese novel. You can watch him discuss language learning with me in this video.

Chimene Elessa learnt that other People don't know what she will really love most

"In my school (at age 13), we had the choice between Spanish and German as a third language -- after French (my native language) and English (my second language). When I asked what my third language should be, people advised me not to take German because it was "difficult". So I took Spanish just because people around me were learning that language.

Many years later, I subscribed to cable TV where there was one German channel. I started to watch programmes in that language and I liked it. So I decided to learn German so much so that I now tend to neglect my Spanish because I'd rather study and practice German.

Today my level in German is more advanced than my level in Spanish (which I have been studying for a longer period of time).

My explanation is that I was more motivated when I decided to learn German. Furthermore, I want to add it to the languages I use for my work as a translator.

I still like Spanish. If I take into account years of practice, it is my third language, but in fact it is the fourth if we talk about preferences."

For some, the first love stays true

For many of us, the first foreign language remains special all throughout our lives.

Chiara Grandola will always love British English best

chiara runawaydreamer

"I am Italian and I studied three languages thus far. English, French and Spanish. French is a romantic and beautiful language. I'm drawn to the melody of la langue francaise. It has such a melodic tone that even an insult can sound romantic. Well, kind of…

Spanish is extremely sensual and it can express tremendous passion. Its pronunciation is pretty straightforward and maybe that’s why I feel much more comfortable in speaking Spanish than French.

However, my not-so-secret favourite language is English. British English, to be precise. I find some words and expressions extremely elegant and peculiar, like Quintessential or Blimey! As a long-time learner, I am often amazed by the richness of English vocabulary. The British accent gets me all the time. It's music to my ears and I could listen to natives for hours. I discovered the world of foreign languages by studying English when I was a little girl, so I’ll always be eternally grateful to this amazing language."

You can read more from Chiara on her blog, Runaway Daydreamer.

Ellen Keyne Seebacher got started with her Mother's Books

"I've studied at least eight languages systematically (German, Spanish, Swedish, American Sign Language, Japanese, Latin, French, and Brazilian Portuguese) and another dozen or more casually. My best language is German, but I feel most comfortable with Spanish. I suspect it's because it was the first I was seriously exposed to; as a kid I used to tag along to my mother's Spanish classes (at the time she worked in a hospital in southern Arizona) and sit quietly in the back, then flip through her textbook when she wasn't using it!"

And sometimes it's just right

Does there have to be a reason why you love a language? Or sometimes...is it just what it is?

Israel Lai feels the Music with German

"As a Hongkonger I'm fluent in Cantonese, English and Mandarin, and have additionally studied French for quite a lot of years - technically 12 years from the moment I was first exposed to it. I find it a beautiful language, especially when I picked it up again 2 years ago, but just can't get it 'into' me for some reason. 2 years ago was when I discovered my passion for languages, and since then

I took German in university and touched upon various ones like Japanese, Dutch and Russian. Surprisingly, although I find written German ugly (no offence), I feel most 'at home' with this foreign language. It could be me being a musician, or it could be my one month in Vienna, perhaps even a particular way my tongue is built in, but while all other languages have one feature that appeal to my rational mind, German is the one foreign language that I feel like speaking the most, the one to which I feel a sense of belonging. That's why I'm so looking forward to becoming fluent!"

What's your language love story?

As I put this article together, I felt a wonderful sense of the love and motivation all these Fluent readers feel for their languages. No matter if it's German or Spanish, the language you love is always special to you. Creating this collection of real stories was extremely enjoyable and I would love it if you commented with your own story of true language love.

And just in case you've not seen Nightcrawler yet: Give it a try. It's pretty great.

Thanks for reading this article on Fluent, the Language Learning Blog. If you are feeling stuck right now, why not subscribe to Fluent and check out our language book shop.