¡Hola a todos!
I started learning Mexican Spanish back in 2020…kind of. As someone who has studied languages solo before, I was excited to finally practice a language that is readily spoken in my community. Vivo en Florida, y hay muchos hispanohablantes aquí. I wanted to learn Mexican Spanish in particular because me encanta la cultura de México. My friend David also lives there and enjoys sharing his culture with me.
But once I started, I was kind of surprised that studying Spanish comes with a lot of materials and choices. Español de España es muy diferente. I found podcasts from Puerto Rico, Colombia, México–newsletters and websites and membership programs that all offer you a way to become fluent en la lengua y cultura…
…but with Spanish, you kinda have to narrow it all down and choose.
Textbooks for Spanish are so general. There isn’t a Genki or Talk to me in Korean of Mexican Spanish. I wasted so much time sifting through textbooks and vocabulary lists and grammar lessons but couldn’t speak at all. I suspect English learners struggle with this, too. When someone spoke Spanish with me and I realized I needed to reply, my brain stopped working. My passive vocabulary was huge, but I had so little real, on-the-street Spanish. And even less Mexican Spanish.
Your best bet is to get your bearings and jump right into native material.
If you’re a native English speaker, I fully believe that you can jump right in, both as a language educator and a language learner. You can’t really do this with Japanese, Russian, Korean, etc. Take advantage of the amazing opportunity to learn real language and culture.
Just decide what kind of Spanish you want to learn first and don’t hop around in other materials like I did. 🙂
Once I was finally on my way, these three podcasts helped me a ton. (Full disclosure, these are my suggestions as a learner! I haven’t been paid to mention these).
I listed No Hay Tos first because it is by far my favorite podcast in any language. Héctor and Beto are hilarious and speak at real speed, yet are surprisingly…comprehensible. This podcast helped me fall in love with Mexican Spanish and better understand Mexican culture (plus I learned how to swear…win win). I also suspect that they’re about the same age as I am because of some American music/movies/references they joke about. This connection helps their discussions feel memorable to me. I’ve picked up a ton of casual phrases that can be used in real life without sounding like a robotic Spanish learner. I support them on Patreon to get full episode transcripts (and highly recommend doing so to get the most out of their episodes).
This podcast is newer to me, but I absolutely love it! I like the balance of male and female speech, expressions and the wide range of topics they discuss. I typically watch on YouTube and read transcripts as part of their Patreon bonus materials. I am subscribed to the $7 level because, as a bibliophile, I loved the idea of joining a book club and reading books recommended by native Spanish speakers. A lot of reading practice is impersonal—easy short stories, easy short dialogues—but there is so much value in reading books written by natives for natives. Even if you don’t join for extra content, their episodes are full of interesting vocabulary and topics.
This was one of the first Mexican Spanish podcasts I listened to. I love it because they’re recorded like “real time” acts, yet don’t seem rehearsed or fake. You’ll be exposed to culture, various dialects, accents and the vast differences between traditions and people in Mexico. The podcast is recorded around an American family living in Mexico. Some people see this as a negative thing because you’re listening to some non-native speech, but I disagree. Native speakers make up the majority of the dialogue, and there’s nothing wrong with hearing non-native Spanish to remind you that we’re all learning, practicing and improving. At the end of each episode, there is a round table discussion with the host. Additional content is available if you sign up for a membership program. I’m not a member, but I’ve confirmed with natives that the topics, language and culture featured here are truly authentic and valuable.
¡Espero que estos podcasts te sean útiles! If you try them out, let me know what you think in the comments below. Have other Spanish podcasts you love? Share them with me!
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