Friday, October 2, 2020

Learning Spanish with Podcasts and Internet Resources

Most people think that in order to speak and understand a foreign language you need to work hard and spend lots of time studying, but this is not necessarily true.

Children never 'study' their first language. They acquire it. And the method they use does not require exceptional memory, linguistic abilities, or discipline.

It is true that at a certain age most children will typically have to study the grammar and rules of their native language, but this always happens well after they can already speak and understand it.

Learning a language can and should be fun. A frequent question people have is Where do I start? It does not really matter, as long as your enjoy the process, and as long as you do not force it on yourself. You can start absolutely from any point, from anything that you think would align with your idea of having fun. But, of course, if you are a serious type of person, then you better start with something solid, important and impressive, something which you feel will work well for you.

The kind of materials you use also does not really matter. The only thing that matters is the number of minutes per day you spend in contact with the language - listening, talking, reading, writing, thinking, imagining and using it. It is crucial that you enjoy the process, that it enriches your life, and that you do not force yourself to do things which you do not like.

You will be surprised, but with today's technology time is not really a concern. All you need is the ability to download files from the Internet and an MP3 player with enough storage capacity. Some kind of device to watch video files might be helpful but is not necessary.

A portable audio player is the best, as it can be used everywhere including the workplace. Watching video, on the other hand, is a luxury which requires extra time, attention and an adequate setting.

If you are an iTunes user, you could search and subscribe to the podcasts listed below directly from iTunes; iTunes will also sync your audio files to your MP3 player. I recommend using gPodder for managing, downloading and syncing the podcasts. There are versions for windows, linux or mac.

Below is a list of resources I have used for learning Spanish - podcasts, videos, and live radio and video streams.


Beginner Level

BBC - Mi Vida Loca | Interactive video quest from BBC (requires FlashPlayer)
An interactive online video quest with English translation, exercises and quizzes. Highly absorbing and entertaining.

Coffee Break Spanish | RSS Subscribe |iTunesView Site
Probably the best freely available podcast for absolute beginners. During the shows Mark, the host, and his student Kara go through the most common Spanish words and phrases and also cover some grammar. Some people apparently complain about their Scottish accent being difficult to understand but I personally have found it to be fun.
Spanish Pod  | SpanishPod
Entertaining and relatively short episodes with detailed explanations of grammar points and cultural background. They have episodes for all levels but only some are free.

Intermediate Level

Show Time Spanish | RSS Subscribe | View Site
An intermediate level podcast from the creators of Coffee Break Spanish.
A soap opera targeted at Spanish learners made of 52 episodes. Covers the essential vocabulary and grammar patterns.


The official site of Radio Nacional de España hosts a great variety of podcasts on lots of different topics. Click the link above to browse them. I am only listing the ones I like and listen to regularly.

Lingus.TV | View Site
An entertaining way to learn Spanish through videos freely available on the site.
Live Streaming Radio
These live radio streams can be accessed from Radio Nacional de España:
Downloadable MP3 files for most radio shows are available at The streams are also available for listening directly in the browser at

Live streaming TV

This 'method' is not meant to substitute a classic language course, and should be considered as a supplement to an existing learning process. Nonetheless, there might be cases when the approach can be effective on its own, for example, when you already know a language that is similar to Spanish, or when you need to refresh the knowledge you already have.