I’ve said it before, and I’ll say it again: immersing yourself to as much media as you can will help you improve your communication skills. The reasoning behind this is simple—by reading, listening, and engaging with content, you get to see how other people use communicate. All of this exposure can help you improve your own language skills.
Podcasts are one of my favourite methods of immersing myself in language. Podcasts check every box for me: they are entertaining, educational, and versatile. I listen to podcasts while exercising, cooking, cleaning, and more.
If you want to get into podcasts, make sure you start with topics that interest you. For the history buffs, I recommend trying one (or all!) of the following podcasts.
Throughline is a recent history podcast from NPR. Each week, co-hosts Ramtin Arablouei and Rund Abdelfatah delve into the history underpinning current events and topics.
The topics explored in Throughline are wide-ranging and, at times, seemingly random—podcast themes range from the powers of the president to the modern history of bananas, and everything in between.
Each episode is approximately one hour long. The podcast first aired in 2019, so unfortunately there isn’t a large back catalogue of episodes to explore.
Mike Duncan’s Revolutions podcast is truly a masterpiece in podcasting. Over ten seasons and hundreds of episodes, Mike delves deeply into ten world-changing revolutions, beginning with the English Civil War in the mid-1600s and ending with the Russian revolution of the early 1900s.
While Revolutions focuses on historic events, it offers invaluable lessons for the present. In particular, Revolutions provides the how and why for current governmental structures and on-going political struggles.
While Mike can sometimes get caught up in the details, the podcast offers an excellent opportunity to learn about key moments in history. The podcast also provides invaluable insight into how and why current government structures
“Stuff You Missed in History Class” features co-hosts Tracy V. Wilson and Holly Frey, who explore lesser-known historic events, people and stories.
This podcast isn’t new by any means—it’s been streaming for years. “Stuff You Missed in History Class” is a podcast classic; this is the podcast that first got me interested in podcasts, and one that I recommend to all first-time podcast listeners.
Episodes are around 40 to 60 minutes. Approximately two episodes are released weekly—and the episode back catalogue is massive—so you’re unlikely to ever run out of episodes to listen to, or topics that interest you.
The BBC History Extra Podcast is probably the most academic of all the podcasts featured on this list, but it remains accessible to history-lovers of all levels.
Typical episodes feature interviews between a host and leading historians. Most episodes tie-in to articles featured in the BBC History Magazine, a popular monthly magazine published by the same team behind the BBC History Podcast.
Although the subject matter covered by the podcast can be dense, I always find it to be worthwhile. If you like the podcast, I recommend supporting the History Extra team by subscribing to the magazine.
American Innovations is a lighthearted podcasts that delves into the history behind everyday things discovered or created by American innovators. Each season is about one innovation, and most seasons have three episodes.
What sets this podcast apart from the others in this list is how host Steven Johnson tells the history of each innovation. Rather than rely purely on narration, Stephen puts on a one-man show and tells the story of each innovation through fictionalized conversations and dialogues.
Each conversation and dialogue staged by Steven is based on careful research. Although fictionalized conversations and dialogue sacrifice historical accuracy, Steven’s storytelling method is compelling and addictive. My only complaint is the number of advertisements in each episode.