How to: Learn Dutch
You’ve probably been in this beautiful city for a few months now and you start feeling like you’re at home here – if it weren’t for this bloody weird language. You keep hearing people on the streets making all those weird ch-noises and you don’t really understand a word, which is quite annoying, and you’d really like to change it. Then it’s time for a course in Dutch! But how do you do this best?
Of course, you can use language apps like Duolingo. With this app, you learn in a fun way and instead of doodling on Instagram or snapchat, you can use little breaks in a useful manner. Another good point is that you can use Duolingo in your mother tongue, so you don’t have to learn Dutch translated to English and then translate it to your own language.
Another online program that I can recommend is the course ‘Introduction to Dutch’ on futurelearn.com. It’s been designed by the RUG, so it even comes with little pieces of information on Groningen, and it’s a nice interactive and free online course that teaches you the basic words and grammar you need for an everyday conversation.
Hanze UAS created an app called Hoi Holland! which encourages learning Dutch in a very fun way and also gets you to explore Dutch culture a bit.
There probably are tons of different language centres and private teachers that offer classes in Dutch. But, why spending lots of money on something you can get for free? Both, RUG and Hanze provide free language courses to most international students, for German speaking students there even are fast-track courses. Check on the website of your University for their Language Centre and whether there are courses available – be fast in reserving a spot, as there’s a high demand for them!
A fun way to learn any new language and get in contact with new people is at a Language Café. There are two different options in Groningen. One is organized by the RUG and takes place every Thursday evening at the Harmony Building.
The other one is organized in a cooperation of ESN Groningen, Clio, Actis and Esperia. Check them out on Facebook (Language Café Groningen), they have events every month at the Drie Gezusters.
The best way to learn a language is to get out there into the real life and use your knowledge. Listen to people on the streets or at the market, read signs in Dutch first before looking at the English text and try to throw in a little ‘dankejewel’ and ‘tot morgen’ every now and then. And, big tip, put on those Dutch subtitles when watching movies on Netflix!