The Netherlands is world renowned for its widespread proficiency in the English language. Many Dutch people can at least manage a simple conversation in English, making day to day life more simpler for a foreign country. Indeed, the commonplace nature of the English language is a huge draw for many students and businesses.
However, if you want to live here like a local, not a tourist, and want to improve your position within the Netherlands in terms of future prospects such as jobs, it is vital that you develop at least a rudimentary understanding of the Dutch language, or as Dutch people themselves call it, Nederlands. The Dutch are very keen for foreign people living in the Netherlands to learn their language, and you will receive lots of encouragement and questioning as to your progress. On a more serious note though, if you are looking to stay in the Netherlands after studies, you need to make good progress with Dutch as it is a requirement for most proper jobs. Competition is tough for the remaining jobs where you only need English. Also, no matter how well you integrate yourself in all other areas of life, if you cannot speak the local language you will remain an outsider.
Luckily, there are plenty of resources available to get you started and help you develop your understanding of Nederlands. Each university will be able to refer you to classes, either their own or those of a third party. You can also find Dutch classes nationwide independently, and of course there are an incredible number of resources on the internet, both free and paid, that you can use wherever you like. Classes can get quite pricey however, but make sure to look for any discounts that you are eligible for as a student.
Also don't forget to look for available Dutch tutors at www.studentutors.nl !
The School for Dutch offers an on-line test to determine your level, and courses to match.
TaalTaal offers courses in a number of languages (including Dutch) with small class sizes of five to ten students and features an active learning approach.
Dutch as a Second Language courses are offered by LOI (Leidse Onderwijsinstellingen).
It is also advisable to post / check:
Dutchessa (The Hague)
easyNL (Eindhoven, The Hague, Maastricht)
Dutch for Expats offers courses in the Hague for expats and internationals.
Live Mocha (online language platform)
Les Expres (free online courses)
Taalhuis (free online courses)
Talencoach (free monthly e-book)
2BDutch (videos with multiple subtitles)
These guides are never finished.
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