My teacher was a friendly looking lady with a big smile and a distinct euro style of dress. Her name is Nicky and she is wonderful. Right from the beginning she expressed that she would only be speaking in Dutch because that is the best way to learn to speak a language. I started to sweat, I felt like I was in over my head and this was never going to work. I started to get embarrassed of my lack of understanding when I thought to myself we are all here to learn and if I'm willing to support others they should be willing to support me and they were. We jumped into it and you know what, it wasn't so bad. It's amazing what you are able to understand when someone speaks slowly, repeats and couples the language with non-verbal communication as well. Today we learned how to greet people; hoi, dag, hallo and goedemorgen. We also learned how to introduce ourselves; Mijn naam is Alana, ik ben Alana and ik heet Alana. We also "loop door de klas. Geef en hand." We walked around the classroom and practiced while we shook hands with our colleagues. I've decided that I am going to be patient, work at my own pace and enjoy this experience. NO PRESSURE! I'm really excited that I get the opportunity to learn and be able to participate in conversations with Dutch friends and most of all to know when people are talking about me ;)
Monday, March 26, 2012
Hoe gaat het? Het is mooi weer!
When I arrived in the Netherlands I wanted to try to learn a bit of the language if I was able to. I registered at the city for Dutch lessons in August. I was told that the courses offered through the University weren't great and that if I was able to afford private lessons or a private school I should do that. So when I got the call that I had been selected and I wasn't going to have to pay I was super excited. The process of being examined for placement, going for interviews and finally getting placed in a school has taken this long. I was beginning to wonder if it was ever going to happen. But today was finally the day. I was both nervous and excited. Nervous because I am starting from absolute zero and excited because the only place to go is up :) When I arrived in the classroom there were only three other students; Jordan from Bulgaria, Jing from China and Victor from Russia. Victor had on a hockey Canada hat so we started chatting right away when he saw my hockey Canada bag. Jordan speaks 4-languages and this will be his 5th. People here are so much further ahead when it comes to learning languages.