Laura | Becoming a Dutchie
October 20, 2011 § 8 Comments
Blogging from Amsterdam, the Netherlands
My background is kind of complicated to explain. I was born in Andorra, I moved to Spain when I was 9 and I recently gave a 180 degrees turn to my life by moving to the capital of the Netherlands.
I moved here for love, but so far so good, Holland hasn’t disappointed me even the smallest bit. People are super friendly, speak perfect English (minus 1 for Spain!) and there is no need of police because nothing ever happens.
Of course there is a lot I don’t like at all, and it mostly comes from the kitchen (haring, kroketten, bitterballen…YIKES) but I am super happy with my new city. Truth is, I haven’t been outside of Amsterdam (yet) but I hear good things about all the other Dutch cities.
Anyway, what I like the most about the whole moving process is learning a new language. I like to say that I already speak a little bit of Nederlands but I’m far from being fluent; at least I understand when people talk to me now!
<< Keep reading to see how I learn my Dutch in very easy steps!>>
- Immersion. Living in the country is key #1. Since the very first day you start hearing the language in the streets, at the supermarket, in the tram… It is way easier to learn a language from listening to people than to an Audio Book.
- Take an intensive course the first month. When you first move you might not have a job (very lucky if you do!), so I would recommend going to a language school specialized in teaching to foreigners. An intensive course learns you the basics and it’s your first proper contact with books and grammar lessons.
- Don’t be shy and try to speak it as much as possible. In a country like Holland it is very easy to get lazy and automatically speak English to everybody (I’d say 90% of the population speaks English). So, step out of your comfort zone and keep trying to hold a little chat.
- TV, films, magazines. As a book is too difficult in the beginning, start with small steps. Watch TV and films in your new language, with subtitles on, to start relating what you hear with what you read. Buy magazines and ‘work on them’; it takes longer than just browsing through the pages, but if you translate new words and write them down, after some weekly issues you will start recognizing more and more words.
- A partner. Of course this is not applicable to everybody but having somebody that loves you -and has the patience- to teach you his mother tongue makes things SO much easier. In the beginning it might be weird to change from one language to another but you get used to it fast.