Going Dutch...all the way!
Dutch people often switch to English when they talk with anyone whose first language isn’t Dutch. What they don’t realise is that they then deny their interlocutor access to a few of the most important mechanisms behind learning a new language. Students must be able to cope with lacks in both knowledge and language use when learning a new language and its culture.
Because of these mechanisms only Dutch is allowed during the Intensive Dutch Programme. Not just during class, but also during breaks and lunch. There’s no escaping it. Many participants only realise how taxing it can be to ‘Go Dutch’ after they’ve experienced the full intensity of the week. In addition to learning the language, it’s also about communicative skills. About the creativity to phrase something in a way that’s simpler and more elegant. About problem-solving skills when the communicative efforts went south unexpectedly. About strategic workarounds when you can’t seem to find that word you need.
That’s why our trainers don’t just give feedback on traditional language skills such as grammar and vocabulary. They also try to get you out of your comfort zone by involving real communicative situations. You will notice you will not always be able to flexibly apply your newly gained knowledge in those situations. So it’s not just about pure knowledge but also about creativity and resourcefulness. Thinks like asking for the right word when you are at a loss (“Hoe heet het ook al weer?”, or correcting yourself without those awkward silences (“Nee, laat ik het anders formuleren. Ik bedoel...”) These strategies are perfect to achieve maximum effect with minimal effort.
The trainers also pay attention to non-verbal cues. Someone who can’t think of a word sometimes looks completely lost. Many people don’t realise they might just be looking for the right word in a certain context.
In short: at the crossroads of language, communication, personal effectiveness and in situations where a trainer truly ‘coaches’ you and brings you into contact with the unexpected... that’s the sweet spot where learning happens, just out of your comfort zone. It’s definitely exhausting but you will improve by leaps and bounds and you will gain the confidence to start asking: “Sorry, zou u Nederlands met me willen spreken?”
Do you want to know more about our Intensive Dutch Programmes? Have a look at this page for more information or contact us directly. We are more than willing to discuss options with you!