Since this week, foreigners at the UT who are prepared to do everything they can to improve their Dutch language skills have an extra gadget at their disposal: a badge. By pinning on a badge with the text 'Spreek Nederlands met mij' ('Speak to me in Dutch') they indicate that they wish to speak 'normal' Dutch in their contact with their Dutch colleagues.
According to the staff of the language coordination desk (TCP), foreign postgraduate students are, for example, constantly addressed in English 'even if they look only slightly exotic'. This does not help them with their attempts to learn to speak proper Dutch. Language coordinator Katja Hunfeld told the Nuffic that the badge also works well elsewhere. 'It is a very simple means with which we help our students.'
According to Hunfeld, foreigners at the UT are extremely interested in learning the Dutch language. At the same time, the UT is moving towards internationalisation and offers more and more English-language classes. Lecturers are also considered to be proficient in English. Hunfeld: 'This is separate issue and has a completely different purpose. We want to help our students with what they need to survive outside the UT in the Netherlands.'
The TCP has produced 250 badges. In the first instance, these are primarily intended for the participants of a 'sport and culture' project week that TCP is organising for its students next week. If others are interested, then they can also obtain a badge, 'just as a joke'.
The badges can be found at the language coordination desk on the fifth floor of the Vrijhof.