For three summers, I had a unique job of working in an assembly line team building the InReach satellite communicators for DeLorme (now Garmin). Due to the sometimes monotonous work, the supervisors allowed us to listen to our iPods/mp3s which for me sparked a love of podcasts.
Since I was growing tired of my music library, one evening I fished around the podcast area of iTunes and discovered some incredibly informative and interesting conversations by a variety of hosts. The following are some of my favorites which are definitely worth checking out!
Spanish: Notes in Spanish
My #1 favorite podcast for learning and practicing Spanish is Notes in Spanish. Power couple, Ben Curtis and Marina Diez are the hosts of the program and talk about everything from traditions in Spain, food, the education system, Spanish cities, current events and much more!
Ben is originally from England and Marina is from Spain, so you really get an authentic, listening experience. The conversations are in Spanish, but the end of each podcast has an “analysis time” where difficult phrases, slang, useful words, and concepts are discussed in English. In addition, you can download the worksheets that correspond with the conversations to solidify your learning. Levels range from “Inspired Beginners” to “Gold.” Check out their website or listen to some of their videos on Youtube.
Along with podcasting and blogging, Ben wrote a book entitled Errant in Iberia about his move from London to Madrid and his journey learning Spanish from scratch and meeting his wife. I really enjoyed the book as it gives an honest account to the joys and frustrations of moving abroad and discovering a new life on the Iberian Peninsula.
His second book came out on Friday! Notes on the Internet Dream shares …the secrets, stories, information and techniques that allowed us to leave our ‘real jobs’ over 10 years ago, to earn more than we did before, to pay off the mortgage 25 years ahead of time, to reach thousands of people all over the world, and work a very-few-hour workweek so we could pursue other dreams as well. I bought a copy on my Kindle and I can’t wait to start reading!
Travel: Rick Steves’ Europe
I love anything by Rick Steves whether I’m reading his witty guidebooks, watching his informative videos, or now listening to his podcasts! Rick Steves is passionate about sharing the best ways to travel throughout Europe on a budget, as well as getting the most history and culture out of each country. Watch this video for a great Rick introduction: Rick Steves 60 Minutes
What I appreciate most about Rick is that his passion for travel really shines through all of his work. He’s been to every destination that he talks about and he makes sure he reaches out to locals to get an authentic cultural experience. His travel writing and advice cover everything from which entrance to use at the Louvre to what hotel you should stay in in Amsterdam to what you should eat in Madrid.
The podcasts Rick Steves’ Europe produces are the following: Travel with Rick Steves, Rick Steves Europe Video, Rick Steves Audio Tours, Rick Steves Travel Talks and Rick Steves Audio Europe. I probably downloaded every single Rick Steves podcast to listen to at work and daydreamed my way through Italy, Spain and beyond. His podcasts include museum tours, interviews with other tour guides, traditions and festivals throughout Europe, politics and history, art, royal families…
Rick is truly is living a dream life, but remains down-to-earth, open-minded, and generous with his global knowledge. For more on Rick Steves, visit his website, blog, Facebook, and Youtube.
Spanish: LightSpeed Spanish
Gordon Smith and Cynthia Durán are another English/Spanish duo teaching Spanish through podcasts, worksheets, and online Skype lessons. Their podcasts levels range from beginner to advanced and they provide a transcript on their website with each topic.
The two have also written and produced a number of books as well including Pocket Por and Para, Demystifying the Spanish Subjunctive and Perfecting the Past in Spanish. All are available on Amazon.
Smith and Durán are passionate about language learning and can really make a positive impact on your Spanish skills. Check them out via their website, Youtube, Twitter, and iTunes.
Travel: The Expat Chat
I love The Expat Chat where you can listen to, “…inspirational interviews from expats, retirees, and global nomads, who are living their dream life overseas cheaper, easier, and more carefree than their old life back home…”
Tony Argyle is the show’s host interviewing travelers, digital nomads, couples, and families who have ditched the 9-5 lifestyle and made travel their priority.
Each interviewee’s story is unique and some of the interviews will expose you to new travel bloggers, authors, and online businesses. Check out their website, podcasts, magazine, Facebook, and Twitter.
Spanish: Real Deal Spanish/SpanishPod
JP and Liliana host a great spanish learning podcast called Real Deal Spanish. Their lessons are very straightforward and practical covering everything from “Booking a Room” to “Flat Tire” to “Give Me a Ride.” Unlike Notes in Spanish and LightSpeed Spanish, Real Deal Spanish focuses on Spanish from Latin America, so vocabulary, idioms, slang, etc. will be different.
While all levels are covered, I would highly recommend their podcasts for beginners. Each episode covers a specific lesson such as, “My Computer is Not Working.” After listening to a short scene three times in Spanish, the two will translate the conversation into English and dissect the most important phrases, verbs, and words. Once they’ve covered the important details, you have another opportunity to listen to the scene again, this time with all the necessary background knowledge.
Be sure to check out Real Deal Spanish lessons via their website, iTunes, and Twitter.
Podcasts are great for long commutes, making chores go faster, or whenever you have at least fifteen minutes of spare time! I never feel as though I’ve wasted any time after listening to a podcast.
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