This is the first in a series of posts I’ll be doing where I cover as many great channels for learning Spanish on YouTube as I can find. There are many such channels and new ones are being created all the time, not just for Spanish but many other languages as well (if you’re interested in German, check out Deutsch für Euch, my favorite at the moment while I’m learning German), so I don’t think I’ll ever run out of channels to recommend and I think this is something a lot of people will enjoy and find useful. Let’s get started with the first one.
Spaniards in London is a series of shows made available on YouTube about the fictional experiences of several Spaniards recently arrived in London while they live with a British flatmate, work, flirt, date, audition for acting and signing roles, and of course get into various shenanigans. It’s entertaining enough and excellent for beginners and intermediates because:
- You won’t only hear Spanish since they end up talking to locals a lot who speak English to them and they reply (as best they can) in English, so although most of it is in Spanish, the student does get a bit of respite and a bit of help here and there with some carefully chosen English interspersed in.
- The Spanish they use is intentionally basic and spoken slowly and clearly. This was obviously a series designed and written expressly for beginning Spanish students (a bit like Destinos, in that regard). Also, the actors are all native speakers from Spain (if you’re particularly interested in Iberian Spanish this is a plus for you).
- They’re reasonably short, about 10-15 minutes per episode.
- They have hardcoded subtitles that…are rather interesting. What they do is show English subtitles for Spanish and Spanish subtitles for English. Not how I would’ve done it, but it’s better than nothing (and especially useful for beginners).
Important (and quick) side note!
If you’re reading this you’re probably learning Spanish at a beginner or intermediate level, and if so could I recommend you quickly check out a site called Yabla? They teach you Spanish using videos made by and for natives (e.g. TV shows, movies, YouTube videos, cartoons, news and documentaries originally made in Spanish-speaking countries for native speakers) coupled with a set of tools specifically designed for that purpose which are integrated into the video player:
- Verbatim subtitles in Spanish shown at the same time as English subtitles (you can turn either or both on or off)
- An integrated dictionary and flashcard system that both automatically looks up a word in the subtitles when you click on it as well as adds it to your flashcards for later review
- Exercises and quizzes about what you just watched that make you apply the new Spanish you just learned.
Check it out here (discounts for educators and institutions, by the way, I know a lot of you are teachers) or read my full review if you’d like more information (and screenshots of the system) first. Back to the article…
Also, I’ve just been watching one of the episodes and I’ll say this for it: it’s shockingly funny. Why do I say “shockingly”? Because you don’t usually get that from these sorts of things (educational series made specifically to teach a language), they’re usually cheesy, overly sanitized and politically correct, and the humor attempted reminiscent of a ’90s era G-rated family show like Full House or something. One of the guys just cracked a joke about doing some nude modeling while looking for auditions because one of the ads said “natural nude male models wanted” and he said “well…I’m very natural looking!”.
It’s not especially racy or anything, but it’s obviously intended for adult students and not fourth graders, and the themes and humor of the show reflect that, which is nice. It probably helps that I suspect it was aimed more at a British audience than an American one (they’re less prudish than we are overall).
By the way, if you’d like to learn how to best utilize shows like this to learn Spanish I have a whole method and a book I wrote about it called The Telenovela Method where I teach you how to learn Spanish from popular media like TV shows, movies, music, books, etc. that you can all find online for free.
So that about covers it, I really like this channel and hope it stays up and they continue making new episodes. I hope you take a look and it ends up helping you, let me know what you think in the comments.