Learning a different language is one of the best things I have ever done in my life. I came to Netherland in December, 2019 to join my husband. The official language of the Netherlands is “Dutch” but more than 80% of the population speak English.
In order to learn a new language, you basically need to understand the culture from where the language originates and along the line, you learn lots of fascinating things and helps you to navigate your way around places where no one speaks English.
Being a HR personnel (currently on a job hunt #opentowork), I will need to connect with Dutch employees on daily basis. That’s why learning Dutch language became one of my primary objectives. It was a roller coaster journey to learn Dutch language as it is one of the most difficult languages in the world, at least for me :).One of the main problems (especially people from India) I faced, was the pronunciation. (Especially the g).
As my husband has been living in the Netherlands for the past 4 years, he advised me to enrol in the same school where he has been, which is seen as the best of Almere. I went ahead and enrolled myself for Dutch classes “Suitcase talen”.
The best thing about this school is that the teacher (Margreet Kwakernaak) pays attention and guides each and every student accordingly. When you join the A1-A2 class, the first couple of weeks, she will sometime use some English words in order to explain the grammar, vocabulary and others but once you reach a certain level you must speak only Dutch in class(Sounds difficult ?). Well, this one of the best ways to remove hesitation of speaking the language in public.
End of every level you have to give the respective exams of the course that you followed. There are basically 4 exams (Reading, writing, listening and speaking) and they are given under strict exams conditions. Upon completion, you receive your diploma which you can proudly add to your cv.
Thanks to Margreet, I am now able to understand and read any letter I do receive in Dutch and also converse easily when I go to the Saturday market or at the nearby Albert Heijn.
One of the challenges that I faced while learning Dutch was that I was always thinking in English in my mind and then trying to do a literal translation but sadly this does not work. The word order is very different in the Dutch language. The first verb comes always at the second position and all other verbs in the end. Sometime you may have 2 verbs in the end sometimes it ends up being very confusing.
The first time that I was in a situation alone where I had to communicate in the Dutch language was when I went to the hairdresser. Unfortunately on that particular day, my usual hairdresser was not there and the one replacing her spoke only Dutch. So I had to explain her in Dutch how to cut my hair, and I was so proud that it was a mission accomplish. Just imagine I had unknowingly said something wrong in Dutch, my hair would have been a disaster.
I would also like to share some tips that I used in order to learn the language faster:
It is indeed very important to learn the language in the country that you are living (long term) as it really helps in the day to day routine.
#kajoltip: One of my favourite is in Dutch which can easily be understood if you are a novice in the language is “Superjuffie”.