On a regular Monday afternoon, about 10 to 15 people gather in a small room in de Vrijhof for a lesson in the course ‘Dutch is fun’. Its goal is to teach the basics such as days of the week, how to tell time in Dutch and how to introduce yourself. The participants are not for learning how to pronounce the letter ‘g’ perfectly in Dutch, but learning how to use Dutch in their daily life.
Student Jayson Li from Hong Kong says: ‘I think it is always great to learn a language and to get to know the culture. Also, I think the course really helps in daily life. We’ve only had one lesson so far, but I notice that only knowing “dank je wel” is quite useful, especially when doing the groceries.’ Brooke Griffin, from Australia, agrees: ‘I can read shop signs, which is quite useful. Also, I think it is a form of politeness to know some Dutch when you are in the Netherlands.’
Teacher Karin Bogaarts is also positive about the new course, introduced half a year ago: ‘There are students from all kinds of nationalities in this course and they are all very eager to know things about the Dutch language and culture. Although the course is not that long with five lessons, I see that they pick up things relatively easily and make big steps every week.’
Despite these positive responses, Kathelijn Jacobs of the UT Language Centre sees room for improvement: we started this course because lots of students signed up for the regular Dutch beginners course, but students only notice after a while that quite some effort is needed for the Dutch beginners courses. Therefore, we wanted to establish this new course, but we see that most students still pick the more intensive course above this one.’
This summer The UT Language Centre will be organizing a Dutch is fun summer course (12-16 August) for students who would like to learn some Dutch before starting the new academic year.