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Indonesian Podcasts: 6 Go-To Podcasts for Language Learners

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Indonesian is a very exciting language to learn.

This is largely due to its simplicity. No new alphabet to learn, no verb tenses, and no grammatical gender either.

And the perks are huge.

You’ll be speaking the ninth most common language in the world, and you’ll even be able to understand a fair bit of Malaysian.

But let’s face it.

Learning a language doesn’t really cut it. Total language mastery is what you should always be aiming for.

Whether you’re a beginner, an intermediate learner, or a more advanced Indonesian student, you will always want to master the ins and outs of every skill within your current level before moving forward. 

The three most important skills that dictate your performance at every level are growth, clarification, and endurance. Mastery over each of these skills requires intensive practice.

Listening to authentic native speakers guarantees you access to the “cleanest” version of Indonesian.

Enter Indonesian podcasts.

Podcasts are recorded audio files that cover a specific topic in each episode. You can listen to podcasts in Indonesian and use them to grow your vocabulary, clarify any confusion, and learn to handle conversations even better (in terms of both speaking and listening).

That’s why we have taken the time to compile a list of some of the best podcasts for learning Indonesian. But before we dig in, let’s talk about the benefits that come with learning Indonesian through podcasts.

Log in to Download Your Free Cheat Sheet - Beginner Vocabulary in Indonesian Table of Contents
  1. Benefits of Using Podcasts to Learn Indonesian
  2. Indonesian Podcasts: The 6 Go-To Podcasts for Language Learners
  3. Tricks to Learn Indonesian More Effectively with Podcasts
  4. Conclusion

1. Benefits of Using Podcasts to Learn Indonesian

Improve your listening skills.

A Woman Talking to a Man

Unless you live around native Indonesian speakers, chances are you don’t really get the opportunity to hear much Indonesian. This lack of listening practice can slow down your progress after a while, as you won’t be able to really grasp what others are saying or carry a conversation.

Podcasts are a great solution to help you further improve your listening skills. By matching podcasts with your current learning level, you’ll specifically target your weaknesses and easily pick up new vocabulary, which takes us to the next benefit…

Learn new words.

Sticky Note Words

Learning new vocabulary is almost always the number-one challenge for language learners. Knowing more words guarantees that you’ll be able to have successful conversations, even if you sometimes make grammatical mistakes. 

Listening to Indonesian-language podcasts will grow your vocabulary, both on a conscious level and on a subconscious level. Moreover, you will start articulating your thoughts even better and be able to create a more harmonic flow in your speech.

Familiarize yourself with the culture.

Swedish Flag

This can take the beginner- or intermediate-level language learner a long way. Having a feel for the language and how native speakers perceive speech is crucial for learning a new language.

Indonesians think about food, religion, family, and even language pretty differently than Westerners do, and developing a feel for that is crucial if you want a full understanding of the way Indonesians communicate.

2. Indonesian Podcasts: The 6 Go-To Podcasts for Language Learners

A Woman Listening to Something with Headphones

Now, let’s take a look at the best Indonesian podcasts for language learners. To make things easier for you, we’ve categorized them by level so you can find exactly what you’re looking for. 

All Levels

IndonesianPod101

IndonesianPod101 is by far the most active Indonesian learning podcast. The fact that we have podcast lessons for language learners of all proficiency levels makes us a versatile resource for anyone wanting to improve their Indonesian. 

If you have informally learned Indonesian through your spouse, family, or surroundings, chances are you’re not exactly sure where you stand level-wise.

The IndonesianPod101 podcast will save you the guesswork by helping you slowly position your skills and language level. The episodes range from 1 to 10 minutes long and are updated regularly. The reliability of our podcast makes it a nice resource for the hungry learner who always wants something new instead of continuing to chew on existing content.

If you want to follow the podcast in video format as well, check out the videos on the IndonesianPod101 YouTube channel. Our channel consists of everything from 3-minute episodes to 4-hour reviews of past episodes. Even better, you can always pop into the 24/7 live stream for a TV learning experience.

Finally, make sure to create your free lifetime account on IndonesianPod101.com for access to even more content! 

Beginner

Talking Indonesia

This podcast represents the ultimate introduction to today’s Indonesia. Over 100 uploaded episodes discuss topics such as gender equality, racism, Chinese Indonesians, religion, and more.

The Talking Indonesia podcast is published every fortnight and hosted by either Dr. Ken Setiawan or Dr. Dave McRae of The University of Melbourne’s Asia Institute. The podcast is done in English and can help you build a very good understanding of the day-to-day reality of culture, politics, language, and foreign policies in Indonesia.

Both podcast hosts work hard to bring the best guests for every episode so that you can get the best information first-hand from the experts. Listening to this podcast will help you keep up with the news and political sphere in Indonesia even better than some locals do. This is the perfect podcast for beginners who do not speak Indonesian but want to have an understanding of Indonesian culture and society. 

Learning Indonesian

The Learning Indonesian podcast is an entry course to the Indonesian language. Across 48 lessons, you’ll learn the basics: greetings (first episode), action verbs, and much more. 

Unfortunately, the podcast was only active for a year (2008) and has been discontinued since. Still, the 48 episodes are enough to give you a good start with the Indonesian-language basics as well as the building blocks you’ll need to carry along on your learning journey.

After you’ve consumed all the beginner content, you can feel free to slowly switch over to intermediate-level podcasts…

Intermediate

Speak i n d o

Speak i n d o is probably the most entertaining podcast on our list. Each episode of this top Indonesian podcast tells real-life stories in slow Indonesian, followed by an English translation. 

The key Indonesian vocabulary in each story is emphasized in the English part of the podcast. This repetition will enhance your memorization of the vocabulary and help you stay focused on language learning (rather than getting distracted by the stories themselves). 

The podcast is usually updated on a biweekly basis, but the schedule is not the most consistent. In any case, there will always be newer episodes for you to listen to.

Bule Belajar Bahasa

Cindy and Kristen, the hosts of the Bule Belajar Bahasa podcast, are probably the most entertaining and dedicated podcast hosts for Indonesian learners. The energy and attention to detail they bring to the podcast are exceptional, to say the least. You will learn so much vocabulary from their discussions with each other, all while keeping a smile on your face and being thoroughly entertained.

The podcast is in English, but the discussions are solely about Indonesian words. That said, the atmosphere is never too serious or dull, so you’ll never want to switch to another podcast out of boredom! It’s the perfect listen for when you’re home doing the dishes or commuting to work.

Advanced

SBS Bahasa Indonesia

SBS (The Special Broadcasting Service) is an Australian public service broadcaster, mainly funded by the Australian government to publish news on recent events both in Australia and around the world. The Indonesian version of this podcast is aimed at Australian residents and citizens who are of an Indonesian background.

The podcast is very frequently updated. There are a few episodes published every day, so you’ll never run out of material to work with and listen to. 

Given the nature of SBS Bahasa Indonesia, we recommend this podcast for advanced Indonesian students. 

3. Tricks to Learn Indonesian More Effectively with Podcasts

On the Go

A Man Listening to Something on the Go

For those of you who are short on time and busy with work, school, or just life, podcasts are probably the number-one solution for language learning. No visuals to keep up with, and nothing that holds you too accountable for paying attention.

In the convenience of your vehicle, on the bus, or while taking the metro, you can take advantage of your commute time by playing your favorite podcast on the go.

When it comes to learning like this, repetition is your best friend. Repeating after the podcast host—especially when new words are introduced—will not only sharpen your pronunciation but also give your vocabulary an extra boost.

You can make your learning time on the go even more effective by saving new words for later practice at home. One great way to practice them is by creating your own flashcard deck! 

At Home

At home, you have even more control and flexibility when it comes to learning Indonesian with podcasts. 

IndonesianPod101’s versatile podcast enables you to listen to quality audio in Indonesian, and our website/app grants you access to vocabulary lists created specifically for the podcast episode you’re listening to.

You can check the description of each episode to access the designated cheat sheet and get full access to the material. Then, you can take the vocabulary on your sheet and get the most out of it by using the different tools offered by IndonesianPod101 (e.g., digital flashcards, voice comparison, and slowed-down audio).

4. Conclusion

There you have it. Your arsenal is now armed with not only some of the best Indonesian podcasts for your level, but also tips for how to leverage them in order to achieve language mastery.

Even if you’re an intermediate or advanced Indonesian learner, you may want to start slow with Indonesian podcasts. 

You can pick the easier episodes in the podcasts matching your level or start out with some one-size-fits-all episodes from IndonesianPod101.

After you get the momentum going and build the habit of listening every day, you can shift into more advanced podcasts. If you’re an advanced learner, you might find yourself shifting to podcasts that target your areas of interest.

Happy learning!
Selamat belajar!

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How Long Does it Take to Learn Indonesian?

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Those who have tried know: Learning a foreign language may not be easy, but it’s an amazing and fulfilling process. By learning to understand, speak, and think in a foreign language, we add a new skill to our repertoire—but that’s not all! We can also change the very way we see the world.

But in today’s civilization, time is money and many of us feel too trapped by responsibilities to try mastering a language ourselves. So if you’re planning to study Indonesian, an important question to ask yourself is: How long does it take to learn Indonesian? And perhaps more importantly: Is it worth the investment? 

Did you know that Indonesian has a lot of words that can’t be translated into English? One of my favorites is faedah, which describes something that has a value and a benefit that goes beyond the commercial (and even the material) aspect. It’s a real, intrinsic value… Just like that of learning a new language! 

Everyone wants to reap the benefits of hard work as soon as possible, and this is why we all instinctively look for a fast and easy way to learn foreign languages. We want to start practicing right away and use our new skills to find a better job, to travel, or to better communicate with a loved one.

We would certainly like to know exactly how long it takes to learn a new language, so that we can make plans… But, unfortunately (or not), language learning does not work like that. There’s no one best or fastest way to learn Indonesian, and above all, there is definitely no set timetable for it! 

Everyone learns differently, and lots of different factors will influence how quickly you learn.

Let’s have a look at what these are, and maybe try to find the best way to take advantage of them to learn Indonesian fast!

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Log in to Download Your Free Cheat Sheet - Beginner Vocabulary in Indonesian Table of Contents
  1. Experience
  2. Learning Style
  3. Approach
  4. How Long Does it Take to Achieve Beginner/Intermediate/Advanced Level?
  5. How Our Website Can Help

Experience

One of the essential factors to take into account when trying to determine how quickly you can learn a language is your actual experience with languages. 

The Language(s) You Speak

What is your first language? And what other foreign languages do you speak? 

Yes, this may actually make a difference in how quickly you’ll be able to learn Indonesian. If you know a language very closely related to Indonesian, such as Malay, it will be way easier for you to pick it up. 

If you’re a native speaker of English, the FSI (Foreign Service Institute) classifies Indonesian as a Category II language. This is halfway between the easiest and the hardest languages to learn for English speakers!

Your Previous Language Learning Experience

Have you learned a language before?

If you’re already fluent in two or more languages (for example, if you were raised bilingual), it will be easier for you to learn Indonesian. Several studies show that bilinguals find it easier to learn a third language, because they’re more accustomed to being exposed to a new language.

Even if you’re not bilingual or fluent in a foreign language, just having studied and learned one at some point in your life will be useful. When your mind has had to get used to memorizing words and rules, and looking at different letters and symbols, it will not forget it—even after many years.

Basically, the skills you developed studying one language will actually help you learn another, even if the two languages are unrelated!  

Your Previous Grammar Knowledge

One of the first things you’ll do when learning a foreign language is to study how it’s built and how it works. This is usually done by studying its structure and grammar.

A Woman Lying on the Grass Studying

If you already have some experience studying syntax and grammar, even if just for your own language, it will make it much simpler for you to learn the grammar and syntax of a foreign language.

So, if your plan is to start learning Indonesian (or any other language), it’s definitely a good idea to get some grammar foundations to build on! 

Learning Style

The way you learn is another incredibly important aspect of how long it will take you to become fluent in Indonesian. 

Your Methods

If you limit your learning to a classroom setting, even on an intensive course, it will take you longer to learn and feel confident with your language skills outside the classroom. Try exposing yourself to Indonesian in your everyday life and I assure you that you’ll cut down the time you need to learn it! 

Make a habit of reading in Indonesian, watching Indonesian films and series, and listening to Indonesian podcasts while you drive or cook. This will help, but if you want to practice your conversation and speaking skills as well, the best thing you can do is find a language partner.

Your Time

Of course, even if we haven’t mentioned it yet, the time you dedicate to learning a language is paramount! 

If you want to learn quickly, try to dedicate as much time as you can to studying, practicing, and exposing yourself to the language. 

Practicing daily is a must: Research has actually shown that students who dedicate an hour a day to language learning—whether revising grammar, memorizing vocabulary, watching a film, or reading a book—learn significantly faster than those who just stick to weekly multi-hour classes.

And of course, if you have the opportunity, full immersion is best. If you can travel to Indonesia and live there for a while, that will make a huge difference!

A Balinese Temple

Approach

Your approach and attitude while learning a foreign language are extremely important, and might make all the difference!

Your Motivation

It’s no secret: Staying motivated and interested is essential for learning a foreign language. Why are you learning Indonesian?

Have this clear in your mind and use the reasons you find to set weekly (or even daily) goals for maximum efficiency. This strategy will not only help you stay motivated and interested in learning, but it will also make you want to put more effort into it.

Your Attitude

Keeping your motivation up will help you learn more easily and quickly, and it will go hand in hand with maintaining a positive attitude. This is a winning strategy you should adopt during your language learning journey! 

Try to see learning as a fun and interesting activity; something that you’re choosing to do, rather than being forced to do.

A Woman Holding Flowers in Front of Her Eyes

Remember: Learning a foreign language will open your horizons and mind, both on a personal and a professional level, to say the least.

When you think of it like this, you’ll always feel like learning something new every day, which will make the process more fun and much faster! 

How Long Does it Take to Achieve Beginner/Intermediate/Advanced Level?

So, even if these are all just estimates, we’ve tried to put together a timeframe encompassing how long it will take you to reach a beginner, intermediate, and advanced level of Indonesian. 

Beginner

As a beginner speaker of the language, you’ll be able to introduce yourself, understand slow and clear spoken language, and ask basic questions (probably making some small mistakes). 

If your objective is to be able to greet people, have very basic conversations, and order a meal at the restaurant, this level is probably enough. 

According to the FSI, you’ll need to dedicate a minimum of 250 hours to reach this level. If you study 15 hours a week, you’ll be having basic conversations in just 4 months! That’s pretty fast, isn’t it? 

Intermediate

Do you want to learn the Indonesian language to a more advanced level?

At the intermediate level, you’ll be able to understand clearly spoken everyday conversation, maybe asking some questions to keep up. This level will also allow you to understand the main points while watching videos and reading the news. If you’re traveling, you’ll be able to ask for information, follow directions, and have basic interactions with locals about familiar subjects.

An Indonesian Woman Wearing a Kebaya

To achieve an intermediate level, you’ll need double the time as you did for the beginner level. This means about 500 hours, which, with the same intensity of study as mentioned above, will take you around 8 months. 

Advanced

If you want to be fluent in Indonesian, you’ll need to achieve advanced language skills. At this level, you’ll have no problem navigating all kinds of situations in your daily life abroad or while traveling, and you’ll be able to have full conversations with native speakers. You’ll also be able to watch Indonesian movies and read books… Basically, you will be fluent. (Even if there will always be something more to learn about this beautiful language.)

As we mentioned above, according to the FSI, Indonesian is a Level II language and thus requires 900-950 hours of study time if you want to reach total proficiency. This means that if you dedicate 15 hours a week to studying, you’ll be fluent in just over a year! Not bad if you consider that some other, more complex, languages require twice or even three times as long!

How Our Website Can Help

What are you waiting for? Now is the perfect time to start learning a new language

And, as we just saw, the sooner you start learning, the faster you’ll achieve your language objectives and start practicing real-life Indonesian. 

Looking for a great online Indonesian resource to get you started? On IndonesianPod101.com, we offer all kinds of language learning content designed to help you stay motivated and interested. Here you’ll find blog posts, Indonesian lessons for all levels, a dictionary, and vocabulary lists. 

How long it takes you to learn Indonesian just depends on you. How much time are you willing to invest in it? Our courses and resources are specifically created to give you all the right tools to learn Indonesian as quickly and easily as possible, so that you can make the most of your precious time!

Whether you’re a complete beginner who wants a full-immersion experience or an intermediate speaker who just needs to widen your vocabulary, you’ll find what you’re looking for here.

Before you go, let us know in the comments if this article helped you make a decision about Indonesian—or if you still have questions for us! We’d be glad to help.

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How to Learn Indonesian in Your Car?

Stuck in traffic? Losing time in your car? Have you ever felt that in all this wasted time, you could have watched the 750 episodes of One Piece, finished the last Super Mario ten times, or even better…you could have learned Indonesian? Between family, friends and work, in addition to this time-consuming commute, it can become difficult to find time to properly learn Indonesian.

How to Learn Indonesian in Your Car? Learn language in car

Fortunately, every problem has a solution, and what could be a better solution than turning that commute time into learning time? Stop passing the time mindlessly listening to the radio and try some of our best tips for mastering Indonesian in your car!

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You can learn Indonesian in your car, hands free
While driving, it’s important that you keep your focus on the road, so this is why our top tips won’t require you to use your hands!

Listening to Indonesian audio content in the car is a good way to learn
This is because it is a fun and efficient way to learn. With IndonesianPod101.com podcasts, you will be able to discover Indonesian culture through topics about everyday life. Instead of the radio, listen to a Indonesian podcast adapted to your level, from Absolute Beginner to Advanced, and you will make progress sooner that you would expect!

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You can listen to Indonesian music in the car
Did you know that you can learn Indonesian by singing while driving? Listen to songs from anime or Indonesian idols and try to identify some words you learned.

Challenge yourself! Use the Indonesian you’ve studied up to this point and see how much you understand! Making the jump to real-life Indonesian is a scary one, but friendly children’s songs are a great place to start!

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You can learn alone in your car
When you’re driving alone, you can be as loud as you want – there is nothing better for remembering your Indonesian lessons than repeating loudly, again and again. Next time you see a driver who seems to be talking alone, you will know he or she is just learning Indonesian!

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You can learn through repetition with your passengers
If there are passengers in the car, it can be more stimulating to learn together. You can set a role play with Indonesian dialogues. With IndonesianPod101.com, you can download all the lessons transcript including the dialogues, as a PDF. Print it out and have some fun speaking in Indonesian!

One of the passengers can answer the quiz available on each of our lessons, while another can correct that person. Listening to someone at a more advanced level of Indonesian or a better accent is positive and helps you improve.

You can learn Indonesian offline
Do you have a poor connection or are unable to use the Internet? It’s not a problem for learning Indonesian! Before you start your commute, use our App to download the lessons you want to study and the podcast you want to listen to in your car, and you will be able to enjoy your lessons offline. Entering a tunnel won’t be a problem anymore. What a pleasure to listen to audio content without having the host freezing every 5 seconds!

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Click here to download the App and learn offline!

You can learn every day at your own pace
One of the best approaches for learning a language is little by little and often. It’s not efficient to take in a huge amount of information at one time. What you need is to study on a regular basis – a little bit of Indonesian every day. You commute several days a week, and that is all time you can take advantage of!

You have the freedom to choose the lessons and podcasts you want to focus on, at your own rhythm. You may want to do a little revision or discover how to talk about a new topic. And if you’re wondering what to learn next, you can use the new Learning Paths, which is our customized pathway feature that gives you a step-by-step way to learn Indonesian without getting lost!

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Click here to access Learning Paths at IndonesianPod101!

If you don’t have a car and commute by another method, these tips are still valid! Learning Indonesian is no longer limited to the classroom or your house; there are so many benefits to learning in your car or elsewhere. Reaching a conversational level will take you less time than you could ever have imagined! Don’t forget to sign up for your Free Lifetime Account and enjoy our content!