THE LEIDENER

A Blog by International Students at Leiden University

6 Benefits of Online 1-to-1 Dutch Class

Though a common topic on this blog, different language learning experiences are always useful so I’m writing a quick post just in case it helps someone else struggling as I did! My Dutch is still basic, but after trying different things, I found an online conversation worked best and that I made good progress while also enjoying myself, even during the pandemic and lack of motivation.

I did a Dutch class in person when I first arrived but I found it to be a bit slow and awkward. I’m sure it can definitely work for some but it wasn’t for me. I also tried the app Babbel. It is good! it also explains the grammar and regional variations etc. I kept up with it for a while doing 5 minutes every morning for about 3 months but I lost motivation somewhere. I think I missed one or two and it was downhill from there.

Then I discovered Italki. Here’s why I loved it:

  • Prices – They can vary but you can find very reasonable rates. I bought a trial lesson with my Dutch teacher for half an hour first, which cost me 3USD. I generally filter to no more than 10USD an hour. My Dutch package was five one and half hour lessons for 45USD!
  • Flexibility – You buy a package of 5 lessons valid for six months, these can also be extended.
    -You can log in and see the slots teachers have available and select them.
    – The teacher verifies it and then you have a lesson booked!
    – Cancellations or lesson issues are very easily done as well!
    – You can choose different packages (conversation, exam prep, tourism etc)
    – Lesson times can also be selected in your package. half an hour to an hour and a half!
  • Variation in Teachers – It allows you to browse through various teachers, some community tutors and some professional teachers. You can find all sorts of people and see if their interests align with yours. The teachers have descriptions and videos to discuss their style. I managed to find a teacher who loved to travel like myself. We both also spoke Spanish as a second language which was fun to discuss in Dutch!
  • Ability to try many different teachers – You can do trial lessons for very cheap so if you don’t feel they’re right, that’s fine!
  • You dictate how it goes – You can also discuss your language learning needs and how you wish to proceed; formal? informal? homework? Up to you! The teachers I’ve worked with for Dutch and other languages have been very adaptable and understanding!
  •  A safe space – Many of us know the pain of being embarrassed to practice with our Dutch friends even if we know they’re supportive! Here, its just you and your laptop. Even if your tutor speaks English, you can start with them in Dutch off the bat with what you’ve picked up in the Netherlands. Also, It’s their job and you don’t know them or need to see them in real life!

 

The Result:
I had to leave the Netherlands and it doesn’t look like I will return before graduation with the conditions. So, my last class will be next week. But, it really helped me speak Dutch more confidently while I was there. I am fairly satisfied with my conversational Dutch. I can have basic interactions and understand even higher level conversations. Its the sort of understanding that allows me to be in a situation where if I’m the only English speaker, the whole Dutch group doesn’t need to switch for me. They can speak Dutch and I only chime in if I didn’t catch something. I can reply and chime in English. When they address me directly, its English. But they’re also confident I can follow most of what is happening.

Not as good as I maybe hoped for when I arrived. But I’m still proud I managed to progress. I know I will be able to return to the language in the future if I wanted to get fluent as I now have a base!

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This entry was posted on January 17, 2021 by in Yaska and tagged , , .

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