There are tons of way to study languages. You can travel across the world and study at language schools (my favorite programs are Apple Languages and International House) but this can really put a dent in your wallet. You can study on your own, using Duolingo, textbooks, or by reading children’s stories in your target language.
But this can require a lot of work and, when life gets hectic, it’s easy to put your language studies on the back burner. Unfortunately, taking even just a month off of your language upkeep can undo a lot of your progress.
Learning a language should be an enjoyable experience, not something that you hold yourself to like a chore (although a bit of structure is always a good idea.) When I need a break from memorizing the seemingly endless German definite articles or practicing my written Arabic, I like to take it easy by watching a Netflix show in another language. I keep the regular audio (which would be in French, Japanese, Arabic, or whatever other language) but put on subtitles so that I can follow along without getting confused by mumbling, fast-talking, or heavy provincial accents.
Netflix is flooded with cash and they’ve been able to branch out more with both the shows they’re producing and those that they’re adding to their platform. You can spend hours digging for a good foreign-language Netflix show, but I want to save you some of the trouble. Here are, in my opinion, the best foreign language shows to watch on Netflix in 2020.
This might be the scariest show on all of Netflix, English-speaking shows included. If you can’t stomach terrifying supernatural demons and violence, stay away from this show. But, if you do, it’s very exciting and is easy to understand if you’re an advanced.
I’ve been watching this show for a few years and have really enjoyed it. At first, it seems a bit like Stranger Things. You know…kid goes missing, there’s some sort of conspiracy being unraveled in a small town. Stuff like that. But that’s about where the similarities end. I found this show to be very compelling and creative. I highly recommend it to all German-learners. If you’re still new to the language, you can leave the subtitles on English or your native language.
Fun Fact: Dark was Netflix’s very first original series in German.
Osmosis is a Black Mirror-esque sci-fi show that takes place in near-future Paris. The plot surrounds two siblings who invented a high-tech dating app that shows the user their soulmate. But the day before their beta test is set to start, all the investors pull out.
La Casa De Papel – Money Heist
This is the fast-paced story of eight people attempting to pull off the biggest heist in history: robbing the Royal Mint of Spain.
Narcos is already a very popular show on Netflix, although most people I know watch it exclusively in English (lame.) It’s the story of Columbia, Pablo Escobar, cocaine, and all the trouble that naturally comes with that.
Language: Brazilian Portuguese
I first heard about the show 3% by the YouTubers, Damon and Jo. As avid language-learners such as myself, they recommended this show for learning Portuguese. Taking place in a dystopian future, it shows the stark dichotomies between the dirty slums where the poor live and the island paradise that houses the country’s elite.
Genre: Teen Drama
This show is geared towards a younger audience, but it still is good practice! Two rich Roman teenager girls begin living double lives as they become unsatisfied with the life they’ve led until now. There’s lots of trouble to be had.
Hakan: Muhafız – The Protector
Taking place in Istanbul, The Protector tells a tale of deceit, betrayal, loss, conspiracy, and an ancient order who’s job it is to protect the city. Plots within plots within plots. Definitely a binge-worthy show.
What I love about watching Netflix shows in other languages is that you can allow your mind to relax, go on autopilot, and just enjoy the show. You get a unique chance to hear new dialects, slang, and phrases that aren’t commonly taught in a classroom or a textbook. It’s a great way to pass time and you often won’t even realize how much you’ve learned until after you’ve finished the show.
As I said before, even though structure and study is a crucial part to learning any language, you should still be able to have fun and enjoy yourself. I genuinely love memorizing words and sentence structure, but I’m a sucker for Marianne and La Casa de Papel.