In One Week: foreign media


I have taken Spanish for four years, but I never fully embraced the culture or dedicated myself to the language. Studies show listening to a language greatly improves fluency and comprehension, so this week I am adopting Spanish culture to improve my language skills.

I normally listen to music on the way to school, so today I listened to Spanish songs. I do not have much
experience with Spanish music, so I literally searched ‘Spanish music’ on
Amazon music. Originally, music by
Enrique Iglesias played, but I did not enjoy the slow, mournful quality of the songs. I switched to the station ‘Latin pop’ and found the happier, upbeat
music more enjoyable. It was exciting to be able to pick out most of the major verbs in the music because it showed me my foundational vocabulary is strong, but I was
disappointed with my ability to comprehend the overall message of the song.

I decided to try a podcast in Spanish today. While my goal is to immerse myself in Spanish media, I listened to an intermediate level Spanish podcast for non-Spanish speakers because I did not think I could handle a podcast for fluent speakers. The slow pace definitely helped me, and I got more out of
listening because I was able to
comprehend more. While I did not understand everything, I think listening to the podcast was legitimately beneficial for my Spanish ability. I definitely want to make a habit of listening to podcasts for Spanish language learners because I think it will improve my speaking and listening ability and it does not require a large amount of time.

I listened to a Spanish radio station while driving today. Listening to a radio station was an interesting blend of music and conversation. I legitimately enjoyed listening to the Spanish pop blend, but I struggled to understand the conversation between the radio show hosts. Without a title or introduction I had no context for the conversation, so I never really figured out what was happening. I also listened to the ads, which are typically cumbersome in English. I found them engaging in Spanish because I caught snippets of household terms I understood.

I watched the TV show “Gran Hotel,” which is essentially the Spanish version of
“Downton Abbey.” I was able to follow along with the plot of the show, but I was relying more on the visual cues than any of the dialogue, so I am not sure how much the experience advanced my language skills. Furthermore, without understanding the dialogue I missed a lot of the nuance of the show, so it was not very enjoyable to watch. The episodes were 45 minutes long, and I cannot see myself regularly committing time to watch this show.

I watched a short film documentary about a public sandlot in a town in Valencia, Spain. The documentary, “Solar Corona,” detailed the progression of the lot from an abandoned, trashy spot to a community gathering place. A
documentary was the perfect mix of
visuals and dialogue for me because it was impossible to understand the content just by looking at the images. I listened closely to try and understand
the narration as well.