10 Podcasts That Inspire Cultural Awareness
Podcasts Bring The World To Us
At The Good Trade, we love podcasts. We listen to podcasts for learning more about sustainable living, and we listen to podcasts to hear from inspiring industry leaders. It’s no secret that we’re also big fans of podcasts by women and for women—we especially enjoy the shows with witty hosts who make us laugh out loud.
But we also love podcasts that challenge us; podcasts that seek to break cultural barriers and invite listeners to hear real human stories. While not always the most lighthearted episodes, these kind of podcasts are so wonderful because they fight against the dehumanization of people from other backgrounds and cultures, and they do it through storytelling.
So, it’s time to update your podcast subscriptions! For a few shows that are cultivating cultural awareness and helping listeners to rethink critical topics, here are nine podcasts to add to your playlist.
1. A New Normal
Listen For | Stories about refugee resettlement as told by Syrian refugees
Noteworthy Episodes | The entire series
Where To Tune In | iTunes
An SE15 Productions audio series broadcast in 2017, A New Normal tells the stories of Syrian refugees as they begin to adapt to their new lives in Europe. Told only by refugees—there is no narrator—each thirty-minute track is like an intimate and moving audio diary. While the series is only a few episodes in length, we recommend listening to A New Normal to hear firsthand accounts of what life looks for asylum-seekers and their families now living abroad.
Reviews | “The diarists in this series are remarkable for their intimacy and candor.” – Fiona Sturges, Financial Times Review
2. The Irish Times Women’s Podcast
For a bi-weekly dose of women’s news happening around the globe, we love this informative and ongoing podcast coming out of Ireland and hosted by Irish Times Journalist, Kathy Sheridan. Listen to the Irish Times Women’s Podcast to hear firsthand accounts, stories, and insights from women regarding pertinent and relevant female-related topics, including abortion, healthcare, gender in the workplace, and more.
Reviews | “This is essential listening for all. Kathy Sheridan has an epic voice and you just trust her tone. Topics covered are varied and its brilliant to hear strong Irish females in a space like this. Kudos to all involved.” – Margaret Carroll, iTunes Review
3. Doha Heat
Listen For | Stories about life in Qatar, as told by the people living there
Noteworthy Episodes | One man’s journey to shine the light on healthy living, and eating vegan here in Qatar.
Where To Tune In | iTunes, Stitcher
Doha Heat is an award-winning communal podcast featuring exciting stories, in-depth interviews, and engaging conversations about life in Qatar as told through the lens of those who currently live or have lived there in the past. Hosted by Ifath Arwah and broadcast weekly for the past four years, Doha Heat is Qatar’s first podcast and offers a behind-the-scenes look at the culture and social norms in this Middle Eastern country. A fascinating listen for anyone who wants to expand their worldview, tune in to learn about life in one of the world’s wealthiest and most urbanized places.
4. The Messenger
Hosted by Australian journalist Michael Green, The Messenger is an award-winning podcast series documenting brief moments in the life of Abdul Aziz Muhamat, a refugee from the Darfur region of Sudan who lived in Australia’s offshore processing center on Manus Island. Communicating with Green via a smuggled phone and WhatsApp audio messages—they sent over 3,000 messages back and forth—Aziz shares about his more than 900 days stranded at the now-closed detention facility. A fascinating and intimate look that invites listeners to hear the human stories beneath the political headlines of Manus, this 10-part podcast series is must listen.
Reviews | “This groundbreaking, gut-wrenching, Australian podcast is a must-listen.” – Jo Abi, MamaMia Review
5. Status Podcast
Every immigrant has a story, and it’s important to tell the human stories that immigration impacts. This is the primary message behind Matt Horton’s compelling and ongoing podcast, Status. Encouraging listeners to further understand the complexities of immigration through moving first-person narratives (we especially recommend the interviews with Dreamers), we love every compelling and educational episode of this audio series.
Reviews | “If you have not listened to Status Podcast do yourself a favor and listen to it. Listen to the human stories that immigration impacts.” Stephanie, Twitter Review
6. She’s In Russia
Founded in 2017 by Smith Freeman and Olivia Capozzalo, two longtime friends, She’s In Russia is as entertaining and fun as it is educational and informative. Setting out to dismantle the common assumptions, problematic ideas, and all-around Russophobia that is often portrayed in the media, this female duo is tackling the big issues—and they are doing it from two different countries. Capozzalo, who studied in Russia, lives in St. Petersburg while Freeman calls in from Brooklyn. One of the most essential podcasts to listen to during the current political climate, we recommending everyone add She’s In Russia to their subscription lists immediately.
Reviews | “Each episode [of She’s In Russia] is a deep dive on different aspects of Russian culture, to help listeners understand that there is so much more to the nation than the binary model proffered by most pundits…Don’t let the heaviness of the topic fool you though; the show is offbeat, funny, and always educational. – Bello Collective Review
7. The Renovation Generation
While The Renovation Generation isn’t producing any more episodes, we can’t get enough of the 19 short interviews the founders—Eliza Lomas and Fabiola Buchele, Hanoi-based expats—did publish in 2016. A creative, entertaining, and all-around addictive series, The Renovation Generation shares personal accounts from Vietnam’s youth (more than 50% of the country’s population is under 30). Moreover, the podcast explores how the young generation is reimagining Vietnam and remaking its future in a country with one of the fastest growing populations.
8. The Moth Podcast
For more than two decades The Moth has been creating a space for people from around the world to share their true and unscripted stories in front of a live audience. And for more than ten years, The Moth Podcast has been broadcasting these stories—some hilarious, some heart-wrenching, and others inspiring—for listeners to enjoy online. With an archive dating back to 2008, The Moth Podcast is one of the best places to tune in for captivating stories that remind us to love others and celebrate humanity.
Reviews | “Sometimes it makes you laugh, sometimes it makes you think, sometimes you’re inspired, sometimes it gives you an insight into a different world, but every time The Moth is entertaining. Download and enjoy real stories from real people.” – Lord Norma, iTunes Review
9. Latino USA
Listen For | Stories and interviews about Latino culture in the USA, told from a Latino perspective
Noteworthy Episodes | The Diary of an ‘Undesirable,’ Foreigner at Birth
Where To Tune In | iTunes, Stitcher, NPR
Airing since 1993 and the longest running Latino-focused program on U.S. public media, NPR’s award-winning Latino USA shares stories, interviews, and the latest news about Latino culture from the Latino perspective, specifically as it relates to life in the USA. Hosted by Maria Hinojosa, this weekly podcast is thought-provoking, educational, and an imperative listen to further cultural awareness.
Reviews | “[Latino USA] helps me stay informed on important issues in latino culture and includes difficult, real, and important subject matter. I’ve been in tears listening to this podcast on more than one occasion – in a good way.” – Jessi Crowley, Facebook Review
10. Tiny Spark
Listen For | In-depth interviews and investigations
We love this podcast for its informative episodes about hot topics including international development, humanitarian aid, well-known charities, and global politics. Hosted by former Africa correspondent Amy Costello and on-air since 2011, Tiny Spark reports deeply and constructively on important issues. Often featuring leading voices and field experts, there are few podcasts that offer listeners such rich and intellectual conversations.
Reviews | “5 star reporting, digging into hard topics and uncovering interesting findings. Love this one!” – Chief Stylist, iTunes Review
Kayti Christian (she/her) is a Senior Editor at The Good Trade. She has a Master’s in Nonfiction Writing from the University of London and is the creator of Feelings Not Aside, a newsletter for enneagram 4s and other sensitive-identifying people. Outside of writing, she loves hiking, reading memoir, and the Oxford comma.