Conventional wisdom tells us that immersion is the best way to learn a language, however not everyone has the opportunity to live or study abroad. Thankfully, technology has welcomed a few spectacular solutions to those stuck at home, and TuneIn Radio is a prime example.
TuneIn Radio is a free, online source for audio content from across the globe. If you would like to expand your cultural knowledge, or are simply craving some new beats, consider browsing through the many foreign music stations. For those who have been studying a language and are looking for more organic practice, pay special attention to the Talk and News sections. These sections allow users to immerse themselves in the language's natural surroundings, without even needing to be in the country at all!
The Talk section features individuals discussing various topics of your choice, such as Arts & Culture, Business, Entertainment, Food, Public Radio, Religion, or Travel. Once you have chosen your topic, you need only choose a station, sit back, and hone your language skills! You are sure to see improvements in your fluency when given access to these interesting topics, as opposed to the stiff, unnatural dialogue often found in text books.
The News section is self-explanatory, however the benefits of listening may outrank the Talk section. Reading the newspaper is a long-suggested studying technique, but it gives language learners a small crutch. You can read as fast or slow as you like, pausing to look up words or re-read phrases – unrealistic if you’re aiming to be fluent. Listening to the news offers the same benefits as reading, but forces the listener to decipher at a naturally spoken rate.
Unfortunately, the user interface is not ideal for the News section. If you’re in the Music or Talk section, you can sort radio stations to what country – and sometimes even city – you’re interested in. For News, however, this option is not available. Your first choice is to sift through a long list of stations around the world – frustrating, especially when it allows you to only see seven stations at a time. Otherwise, you can hit the “By Location” option from the start, choose your location, and sift through all genres. Thankfully, once you’ve found a show you like, you can save it to your Favorites, or type the name into the Search bar to pull it up.
Despite this setback, TuneIn Radio presents a very sturdy product. Now anyone can learn about another culture – language, music, sports, and more – without leaving the house. (Although we hope that, sometime soon, you get to practice your new language skills in that native country as well!)