By Babette Vanlancker, Writer
Learning a new language from scratch as an adult is not always easy. For some, learning Dutch may be quite difficult given that some of the sounds aren’t common in other languages. However, luckily, there are several ways in which you can learn this new language during your stay in Utrecht!
Just like any other language, there are Dutch language classes available. In Utrecht, for example, ESN offers 10 Dutch classes for just €10 in which you can learn some useful phrases to get around The Netherlands! For more information on this course, check out this link.
Another, perhaps more fun and interactive way, to learn some Dutch would be to take an art or a dance course. The Parnassos Cultural Center in Utrecht offers several different classes, for many of which the main language of instruction is Dutch (although many of the teachers do also speak English, so you won’t get completely lost!). So, if you like to dance or to draw, for example, then these classes could be a fun way to pick up some Dutch words while engaging in an activity you enjoy! Here’s a link to the website.
As a student in Utrecht, you can also sign up for ‘Buddy go Dutch’. This is an organisation that organises events throughout the year in which Dutch nationals and international students can meet each other. This could be a nice way to make some Dutch friends with whom you can practice speaking in Dutch! Once again, if you’re interested, their website has more detailed information.
Lastly (and probably one of my favourite ways to learn a new language) you can watch Dutch movies and listen to Dutch music. If you watch Dutch movies, either at the cinema, on Netflix, or otherwise, see if you can watch with English subtitles (or subtitles in another language you’re proficient in). This way, you will hear Dutch, while still understanding the content of the movie! As for music, if you look under charts on Spotify, you will find ‘Netherlands Top 50’, which lists several Dutch songs. If you enjoy music, then you might be more motivated to look up words you don’t understand while listening to the music. This helps to lengthen your vocabulary list!
Whichever way you choose to learn Dutch, always remember that practice makes perfect! So don’t give up ☺