Being an international student here does not mean you have an excuse to not learn Dutch! Since you live and study in Holland, why not learn the language? Dutch is a fun language, not only to listen to, but to learn as well. Honestly, you don't need to become fluent. Just learn enough to not spend your time checking out at the supermarket in silence! Not convinced? Here are our 6 best reasons why you should learn Dutch.
1. Learn Dutch to gain (more) independence
It is a fact that you can speak English almost anywhere in the Netherlands (around 86% of the population speak English). However, it’s good to know basic phrases so that you can navigate your way around places where no one speaks English. What would you do if everyone got brainwashed into forgetting English? While that’s extremely unlikely, you get the gist. Some people may not be able to fully help you or ask you what you need in the unlikely even that you need help. Trust us, a little bit of Dutch goes a long way.
2. Learning Dutch helps with practicalities
In addition to knowing basic phrases to live your new life somewhat independently, there are a few practical reasons too. For instance, knowing some Dutch makes reading restaurant menus, road signs, newspapers, and ingredient lists much easier. You won’t get lost and you’ll be able to make your way through a supermarket by yourself! It also makes administrative procedures like filling out taxes or applying for certain allowances much easier. You won't need a third-party translator and will have the satisfaction of being one step closer to being a fully-fledged adult.
3. One language, many countries
Dutch isn't only spoken in the Netherlands. Though it isn't as global a language as say Spanish, by speaking Dutch, you can now confidently visit Belgium, Suriname and the Caribbean, specifically Aruba, Curaçao and Sint Maarten. Sweet! In addition, Dutch is somewhat like Afrikaans, which is spoken in South Africa and Namibia. That's 8 birds with 1 stone!
4. English gives you an advantage when learning Dutch
Despite how different Dutch and English sound, they're actually genetically-related languages. Without getting into all the gory details, what this means is that knowing English gives you an advantage for learning Dutch. You'll still have to get used to weird Dutch diphthongs though. Moreover, if you know another continental European language (especially German, they're practically dialects of each other) you've got another advantage. Props to you if you speak these languages because you’ll have an easier time learning Dutch!
5. Learn Dutch to get to know the culture
Culture isn’t always visible. The culture of a place also includes its language, sayings, humor and even songs. Therefore, by speaking a bit of Dutch or learning to understand it, you can learn a great deal about Dutch culture. Plus, you can talk to locals! Locals are always a great way to integrate yourself.
6. Looking for a part-time job
Lastly, though finding an English job is by no means difficult (check out our in depth guides on working in the Netherlands and finding a part-time job for more info), it can be beneficial to show an employer that you understand some Dutch. Even being able to say basic phrases could be helpful for jobs like being a waiter or waitress or in retail. In jobs where you might be communicating with people, guests or clients, it’s never a bad thing to boast some language skills. Want to find a part-time job? Check out our College Life Work.
Learn Dutch the easy way
- Sign up for Dutch courses in an (online) language school such as Una Paloma Blanca
- Start with free languag apps such as Duolingo; they are easy to use and you can learn a language anytime at home or on the road
- Talk to your friends! Having Dutch friends is awesome because they can teach you phrases (other than swear words) and practice with you
- Take every opportunity to talk and avoid letting others speak English to you even if you are struggling
- Listening to radio or watching local TV will get you in the mind-set of actively decoding Dutch. This is an easy way to pick up a language fast
If you aren’t enrolling in a Dutch course or turning on the radio right now, we haven’t done a good job. Learning Dutch is really helpful not only for your time as a student but also if you intend on staying in the Netherlands after graduation to work. Veel success!
Any tips on how to learn Dutch? Connect with us!