Five Podcasts to Learn English From
A new and diverse way to practice your English listening
A podcast suggestion for beginners, intermediate, and advanced learners.
If you’re trying to learn English, it can seem like an endless struggle to find quality learning materials. There are tons of resources to choose from, but it can be hard to find something that suits your needs.
Good news! Podcasts are on the rise, and they’re a great way to practice your English listening. You can listen to them anywhere (including commutes), and better yet, if you subscribe, new episodes will automatically download onto your smartphone or computer.
Hopefully, you guys have discovered Ride the Vibes, which is hosted by Winnie and Steve. Ride the Vibes offers you a fun and relaxing exploration into various cultural topics, and the episodes are mostly in English with a little bit of Chinese for assistance,
If your itching(1) for more podcasts to learn English from, here are five more we recommend you check out.
Beginner to Advanced
BBC created the 6-minute English podcast to cater to almost all English learners. The two hosts talk about topics such as idioms, science, health, and everything in between. There is literally something for everyone.
On top of that, the episodes are short—as the title suggests—and the hosts do a really good job of creating clear and well-paced dialogues that are both educational and humorous(2). Usually, the man on the show will play the role of the bumbling fool while the woman will play the voice of wisdom as she tries to give him advice and explain the concepts taught in the episodes.
They use their target vocabulary and phrases a lot, and this is also a very helpful podcast if you want to become more exposed to British English.
Beginner to Intermediate
Espresso English is a true English-learning podcast. The lessons vary in length, but most of them are under 15 minutes, and while any English learner will find this podcast helpful, it’s especially for students who will need to study English and take standardized(3) tests like IELTS and GET or for those who desire to study or work in an English-speaking environment.
The episodes can be a bit dry, but the host speaks slowly and does a good job of explaining everything thoroughly. I recommend this one for people who need to study English for the purposes of exams, future classes, or work.
通勤學英語 (15 minutes.today)
Beginners to Advanced
通勤學英語 is a podcast recommendation for Chinese speakers (the hosts do use only English in most episodes though). Since this show focuses on Taiwan and caters(4) to Taiwanese users, the site includes Chinese show notes, lesson overviews, and translations.
The episodes are casual, and the two hosts have fun conversations that are authentic but also relatively easy to understand. Lastly, they also have different series, that way you can vary your study methods and not get bored with the content.
Intermediate to Advanced
Our last two recommendations aren’t technically English-learning podcasts, but they will probably be more fun for people with a higher level of English.
First up, we recommend checking out some of the NPR podcasts (they have tons of different shows about various topics). What makes these podcasts good for learning English is that they are professional, well-edited and produced, and the hosts speak very clearly.
I am a history nerd, so I personally recommend Throughline, but there are plenty of other NPR podcasts about various subjects including money, politics, the brain, and so on.
The episodes are usually between 20 to 60 minutes, so they are longer, but because there are so many podcasts to choose from, they are ideal for intermediate and advanced learners who might wish to nuance their study content.
Joe Rogan Experience
Intermediate to Advanced
My final recommendation just had to be here. Joe Rogan has the most listened to podcast in the world, which has catapulted him to superstar status.
If you’ve never heard of Joe Rogan, his show is very eclectic(5). He always interviews guests, and they come from all walks of life. He talks to doctors, musicians, politicians, and anyone else who has something of value to share with the world.
What makes his podcast so fun to listen to is that Joe Rogan isn’t the expert. He comes across as a normal guy who is listening to the experts in order to form his own opinions, but he is also able to talk about seemingly anything. Better yet, his podcast is on YouTube, so if the episodes are too long, you can watch shorter clips.
I want to leave you with some final advice about podcasts to learn English. If you are a beginner, try to stick to actual English-learning shows. When you reach a higher level, try to find podcasts that personally interest you. The more you enjoy the podcast, the more you will want to keep listening, and thus, the more you will learn.
If you want to hear more from me, you can also check out my own podcast, The Pixel Meditations where we focus on media, philosophy, and the outdoors.
If you want to read more about this topic, check out our blog on why you should listen to podcasts.
1. itch (v.)
Def. to have a restless desire or hankering for something
Ex. I am itching to go hiking again. The rain has kept me inside lately.
2. humorous (adj.)
Ex. The teacher didn’t find the food fight to be at all humorous.
3. standardize (v.)
Def. to bring something into conformity with a standard
Ex. The boss wants to standardize the way we write our blogs.
4. cater (v.)
Def. to supply what is required or desired
Ex. Sorry, our show doesn’t really cater to absolute beginners.
5. eclectic (adj.)
Def. composed of elements drawn from various sources
Ex. Having eclectic interests makes most normal jobs quite boring.