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Inside The Cubic, the official language is English. But, out there, well, it’s not. It is Dutch.
In the Netherlands, you can probably manage to get a coffee, find the library, and ask for an ambulance in most places without ever needing to speak a word of Dutch. But, wouldn’t it be nice to start a conversation without having to ask first, “do you speak English?”
And maybe you just moved to this beautiful low and wet piece of land and you don’t even know where to get started yet. Sure, you could put yourself at the mercy of a neon green owl with oversized eyes, who keeps asking you to upgrade your subscription or suffer a miserable life full of ads for brain-training games. Or, well, what if we could help you out with that instead?
For the past few months, a group of your colleagues has been taking Dutch lessons at The Cubic. Among them, we have Gaëlle, Anastasiia, and Rodrigo. They understand better than most what it’s like to move to a new place and figure things out from the beginning and they have invaluable input on what the Dutch lessons have been like so far.
Take it from here, Gaëlle!
“I'm currently still taking the course. We still have 3 classes left.
“It was a bit difficult at first because I felt like I had no reference, and everything was super new (compared to when I was learning Spanish or Italian, I had French as a strong reference, so the grammar made sense to me).
“But in Dutch I was a bit disoriented.
“Then, a few classes later, things started to make more sense and come together. And the teacher always makes sure everyone is participating, so that helps. I definitely feel like I learned a lot, and when I hear or read Dutch now, I still don't understand everything of course, but it somehow… makes sense?
“We can now confidently introduce ourselves, order food and drinks, read recipes, and tell the time!”
So, that’s how it goes for anyone who is pretty much starting from zero. If you’ve already gone beyond “Ik spreek geen Nederlands”, then you should know that Anastasiia, who did try out a language-learning app (without owls), might have been ready for a slightly more advanced course. “I know some German, which is similar to Dutch,” she said, “but it was useful for pronunciation.” And while she can read Dutch pretty well, she admits that “the talking part is the heaviest one.”
So far, we’ve got one vote going for “a bit difficult” and one for “too easy”. To break this tie, let’s see what Rodrigo had to say.
“The first few classes are always harder, but after a while you start to pick it up and start learning a bit faster—as well as not feeling completely lost.”
Rodrigo can confirm that will learn at least enough to “pay at the Albert Heijn and not need to ask the lady if she speaks English.”
When asked whether they would like to continue learning Dutch, both Gaëlle and Anastasiia said they would be open to signing up for a more advanced group. For Rodrigo, learning the basics was enough.
In summary, while these lessons are designed for anyone who knows next to nothing about the language, anyone who wishes to practice speaking Dutch in a safe environment might yet gain some benefit as well.
How about you? Would you like to learn enough of the language to impress your barista, store clerk, local librarian, or ambulance driver?
Go back to Slack and let us know!