Learning Dutch in Weert
Updated: Jan 3, 2022
It has been almost three years now since the first day that I had to learn Dutch. Before my family move to the Netherlands, I had to take the basic exam at the Dutch Embassy in Singapore, a 'basisexamen inburguring'. The basic exam consists of three modules, Speaking Fluency (Spreekvaardigheid), Reading Skills (Leesvaardigheid) and Knowledge of Dutch Society (Kennis van de Nederlandse Samenleving - KNS). I started waking up an hour before work to practice the book, the listening and watching the videos from naarnederland.nl website.
After moving here, I realized those skills learned from the basic exam was truly basic and that I would need a little more training to get by a day to day supermarket conversation or making inquiry at a shop.
A friend recommended the Thursday free lessons at the library in Weert (from 1-3 pm). Every week, several volunteer language trainer comes and assist students from different levels and focus on the group with weekly progress. I found these lessons are quite useful as not only that you learn the technical skills of things, also it's a good way to integrate with the locals who are passionate about teaching non-Dutch speakers like me and other newcomers in Weert.
The library also provides a language cafe (Taal Café), a strictly conversational practice every Tuesday evening from 6.30-8pm.
The library - Bibliocenter Weert is located just outside the Munt shopping mall, Wilhelminasingel 250. Both Thursdays lessons and the language cafe are conducted on the second floor. Once you enter the library, walk up the main stairs; once you reached the top floor turn right and look for the organizer who works for the library named Toos Jenniskens (specialist programmering/leesconsulent). She organizes the lessons and would be able to help you to find a suitable group to match your level of Dutch. Corona measure rules apply for this course, QR Code is required.
Find out more details here: https://www.bibliocenter.nl/leren/nederlandse-taal.html
What should you bring for the Dutch lesson at the library?
Pencil / pen
Your phone to google translate things (always handy)
A water bottle, all these Dutch tongue twisting words makes me very thirsty
If you think that you have more time to learn more Dutch and take it to the next level, Gilde Opleiding, a training centre provides a more intensive course with three days a week lessons plus homework. Find out more here: http://gilde-educatie.nl/en
Frankly speaking, I found 9 hours per week is a little overwhelming to juggle with a fulltime job, a child to take care of and running the household. I take an easier approach by using the app Duolingo and watching a lot of Dutch movies on Netflix. I put on the subtitle in English or Dutch as I watch easy light romantic comedy Dutch movies. After a few movies, I find it more natural to make sentences in Dutch thanks to these lightweight chick flicks, plus it's quite fun. Few of the titles that I have watched so far are:
Loving Ibiza (Verliefd op Ibiza)
Alice in Glamourland
Naturally, there are more titles, and Netflix will start recommending more list for you to watch!
Learning Dutch Online with experts tutors is another alternative during this Covid-19 period if you want to speed up your learning. You can find reasonably price tutors here - https://www.italki.com/teachers/dutch
Hope these tips helps and feel free to leave a comment if you have any questions or need more info, I'll be happy to asnwer.