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Are you having fun learning Dutch?

When most people arrive in the Netherlands, there is one thing they know for sure: another country also means a new language. Initially they are excited by the adventure, but as time passes a strange thing often occurs: although the majority realise that speaking Dutch would be a great thing, quite often it never happens. Our expert Albert Both of Talencoach shares his tips below.

Article provided by Talencoach, an IN Amsterdam partner.

Learn Dutch quickly by making it fun

Most expats admit that speaking Dutch is a good thing. They agree that it enhances social life and career opportunities. So why do so many give up? Learning Dutch is not something that happens automatically. You can easily live for ten years in a country without speaking the language, therefore it must be a conscious decision. You must really go for it. As a language coach I believe the main reason people give up learning Dutch is that it is simply not fun. Does learning a new language have to be boring?

Find a language course that suits you

Many people believe that all language courses are the same, and this is a fatal mistake. There are many differences and there is a huge variety in the market. You need to take a course that suits you, a course that you enjoy from the very first moment. Learning a new language is an exciting adventure and the course you choose should reflect that. Make sure to do the necessary research in the beginning in order to choose the best way for you to learn. Identify what you need and compare options. Once you have the method that works for you, things will go a lot easier!

How do you know when you've chosen the right course? There are many ways to tell. For instance,if you like your teacher, you will like learning Dutch more, and as a logical consequence, you will learn faster. On top of this, learning a language is not only an intellectual experience, it is a personal adventure. Therefore it works better if you also enjoy the company of the people you share your class with. Make sure the environment in which you learn is warm and supportive.

Don’t be afraid to make mistakes

My students must officially declare that they will make at least 65.000 mistakes during their course. Many students do not believe that making mistakes is a good thing, but once you have the freedom to do so, the learning process will be much more relaxed (and the more relaxed you are, the faster you will learn). Once you feel at ease while making mistakes, you will be unstoppable!

What’s your style?

Another important aspect has to do with learning styles. Some can learn easily by only hearing words and sentences, however, the majority of people are visual learners. It is a good idea to use as many visual materials as possible while learning. Chances are that you will learn quicker with visual aids and associations.

Take the pressure off

For some, learning Dutch is a very serious thing. Although it is important that you take it seriously, the more serious you are, the slower the learning process will be. Unfortunately when someone feels pressure, their automatic response is to become more serious. The more relaxed you feel, the more you play, the more you experiment and the more you laugh, the faster you will learn.

Try something different

Whenever you feel that you are not learning fast enough, try something different. Don't keep doing the same thing over and over again, because this will only make you feel stuck. Once you find the course or learning style that really suits you, you will be sure to notice an immediate difference. If speaking Dutch is something that you really want, then make sure nothing can stop you!