Podcasts are a great way to expand your French immersion. Obviously listening to more French is a good idea but with podcasts you can download them so you can be listening on the go. I listen to some whilst I walk to my intensive French immersion course at the EasyFrench School in Montpellier and it really gets me into gear for the day. Here is a whole series by the same radio station that I have found particularly interesting and useful whilst I have been learning French in France.
FranceCulture Radio for your DALF / DELF Preparation
This was the first radio station I got into when I started learning French in France. I have actually written about it before as it is very similar to my favourite radio station in the UK; Radio 4. It features in-depth interviews, debates and all things intellectual or cultural. I found it a bit difficult to follow when I started my intensive French immersion course but now I’m starting to follow more and more and it’s fascinating. Simply through reading the schedule you will get acquainted with lots of names of people well known in French culture and you will see which debates and issues are in the limelight at the moment. This alone will be useful in conversations that might occur with your host families or other locals you have met. This is how I first heard of Johnny Hallyday, one of the most famous rock and roll stars in France and since getting acquainted with him and his work on FranceCulture I have heard more and more about him which I am able to follow better.
What I have just found out about though is the huge array of podcasts that are available to add to your French immersion. The radio station pretty much does a podcast now for each regular show they have on the station, which is a lot and on a wide range of topics. They are all fairly intellectual which takes a bit of getting used to but there is also a similarity in the language they use thanks to the formality of the discussion. So, after a couple of weeks with a bit of research and a bit of translation you can unlock the ability to understand discussion on complex subjects and debates. It’s well worth the effort and if you are interested in learning about the culture as well as learning French then it’s a must. With just a few weeks of listening to these podcasts I have found so many conversations, that I would have only been a spectator for, not only understandable but conversations in which I could share and contribute to as well.
I personally really enjoy the philosophy collection as there is something about hearing philosophical discussions in French that is inimitable and also France has birthed many of the most influential philosophers of all time so there are lots of episodes involving people who you may hear about on your intensive French course for adults like Foucault or Bourdieu. There is also a science category as well where you can learn about today’s cutting-edge research, a history program, literature discussions and a cool little one that examines the life and work of important figures of the world. On this last one ‘Une vie, une oeuvre’ I recently listened to a brilliant program on Martin Luther King Jr. who I have recently read up on a bit and it was extremely beneficial as they were covering some ground I was familiar with but with a lot more detail.
If you are doing the DELF / DALF exam preparation in France I implore you even more to listen to this awesome mind-expanding podcast. Although some of the podcasts focus more on historical issues or figures most of them are on very current issues which is just where the DALF / DELF is normally aimed. I have recommended this podcast to a few of the students at the EasyFrench School and they have told me that so much of the stuff is directly usable in the discussions and productions that they do every day in preparation for their French Exams.