You have been living in the Netherlands for a while and everything has been going great. One of the reasons for this might be that you were only speaking English all the time and you could do all the things that you liked. But then, all of a sudden – surprise, surprise – someone demands that you must speak Dutch now. It could be a new boss or maybe you applied to a new job that you really, really love. All of a sudden you realise that somehow you must speak Dutch as quickly as you can. So … what to do next? Albert Both from Talencoach tells you how to react in this situation.

Chances are high that somehow you could be in a kind of shock. Maybe the shock is mild, maybe it is severe. That is why it could be a great idea to put some things in perspective … No one can really force you to speak Dutch, of course. No one will shoot you down or put you in prison, but the shock can feel very real to you.

Paying thousands of euros does not give any guaranteesSometimes it just happens: out of the blue, there is that great opportunity that somehow you have been waiting for. Sure, you could let it go and this would be the easiest way to liberate you from this nasty obligation of speaking Dutch. But sometimes there is something that you like so much, it sort of feels as if your life depends on it. In this case, yes, you would say to yourself: Ik moet Nederlands spreken (I must speak Dutch).

Let’s assume that now speaking Dutch feels urgent. It means that you want to speak it as quickly as possible, right? If this is the case, then of course you would not consider courses that are once or twice per week, even if they are very cheap or for free. Chances are also high that soon enough, those special language apps won’t do the trick, even if you play with them all day.

If you need to speak Dutch fast, then an intensive course would probably be the best choice. But here is the thing. Even if you decide that now is the time to take an intensive course in order to create that radical change, there are some things that you might like to consider. It is always good to do your own research and decide for yourself which way suits you best.

Once you start to do your research, you’ll quickly discover that prices for intensive courses can be very different from one another. Not only that but, luckily enough, not all intensive courses are the same! Once again, it is very important to do your own research first, so that you can find the course that is most suitable for you.

Things you might not know about intensive coursesThere are many things to consider. Did you know that even at quite expensive institutes, you do not get a lot of personal tutoring? Even if you pay a lot of money (often between 5000 and 6000 euros!), it is quite normal to spend most of your time in “language labs” behind a computer with some headset on. Only now and then, a special teacher will come and discuss only one aspect of the language for 40 minutes or so. They might talk about grammar, or pronunciation and quite often these teachers will only talk to you in Dutch.

Many language schools and institutions believe in the input myth. Namely, if you only hear Dutch, then somehow after a couple of days, you will pick it up automatically. They believe that if they bombard you with loads and loads of information, then somehow you will start to speak the language. All that you need to do is to listen, read and simply repeat things. Then somehow speaking will take care of itself, even if you don’t understand it …

By the way, have you noticed that many courses like this tend to be quite rigid? Even if you study Dutch for 10 hours per day, they only allow you to talk about very selected topics. Once again, the idea is that if you follow that one topic religiously, you’ll speak Dutch miraculously. All you need to do is to sit behind a computer, chat Dutch with a teacher every now and then and the magic will happen. If this works for you, then gefeliciteerd (congratulations)! You found the perfect course for you!

For most people it does not work that way, unfortunately.

Learning in an organic wayFirst of all, the biggest mistake that people make is that they study and memorise too much. The first thing that you need to do is to open up and discover for yourself how the language really works. The great thing is that – contrary to what you may expect – you do not have to start from zero. Dutch is the closest language to English and if you know other languages such as German, French or Spanish, it is even better.

The most important thing is that you’ll learn to pick up Dutch in a natural way. Wouldn’t it be great if from day one, you could discover for yourself that Dutch vocabulary has a certain logical and intuitive system? Most people only memorise words by heart, but with a little bit of training you can guess the accurate meaning of thousands of Dutch words, even if you see or hear them for the first time and … you’ll also be able to pronounce them correctly!

There is often one thing that people forget, certainly if they feel a lot of time pressure. The most important thing is that you start to see that Dutch has a logical and consistent structure – and that you can have loads of fun with it. All that you need to do is to learn how to observe it in a structured and creative way. And here’s the most important thing … how you feel about Dutch and how you feel about yourself will determine all of your success.

In the end, it is very simple. If you feel good while learning, it is very easy to feel confident. It is also important to feel relaxed, certainly when you speak Dutch with real people. That is why learning in a group setting with real people has great benefits. Together, you can create that great and positive energy that makes learning and speaking so much easier.

Forcing yourself doesn’t helpLast but not least, there is one more important secret. Don’t force yourself too much to learn Dutch. Although it could help you to speak the language, once you feel forced it can be more difficult to stick to it. One thing that always feels better is to just speak and learn Dutch because you like it and have fun with it! If you feel relaxed at all times, a whole new world will open up!

Traditional courses aren’t the only way to learn, an alternative and different course exists … no language labs, no boring textbooks, no parrot fashion repetition for hours and hours. Just great and constant interaction with other people and one teacher that is with you from the beginning to the end, just to make sure that progress is guaranteed. So, take part in the intensive, seven-day Dutch Brainwash programme from Talencoach now and have fun learning Dutch! By the way, you can also:

Download the e-book “3 Steps to Dutch flow” Download the e-book “Why You Hate Learning Dutch and 7 Secrets to Change It” Visit the website Talencoach.nl Check out the Facebook page Watch videos on YouTube All free of charge!

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