How can you find the best course or instructor?
People ask me this question on an almost daily basis and I usually answer: In your opinion, what is a good course or a good instructor? The answers are incredibly varied. They want someone cheap, or nearby, or flexible, or patient, or demanding and able to motivate them…..they want to pass the inburgeringsexam as soon as possible, or they plan to work in a Dutch company, or they just want to make some friends…..
There are many excellent instructors and courses, but my recommendation is always to first carefully think about what your needs are.Be realistic. Would you yourself be able to teach anyone your native language? Be honest, you probably wouldn’t. Teaching is a profession, one that requires many years of study and like so many things in life, you get what you pay for…
Do you have very little money? Go to a “buurthuis”, your neighborhood community center, and sign up for a language course. These are taught by volunteers and are very cheap. You might also be find a “taalmaatje”, or language buddy. You might make some friends, Dutch and international, and really enjoy yourself.
Courses in a school, institute or university will usually have licensed, experienced instructors. Many courses used to be free, but the government has stopped subsidizing them. However, sometimes you might still get some funding through the “gemeente” so always ask. Shop around, as prices vary widely.
Expect to take a proficiency test.
Private lessons. No, you will not able to afford private lessons, no matter how nice and you motivated you are. I once had someone offer me 20 euro for a two hour lesson, who was mortified when I told her the cleaning lady makes more :-)There is a lot of free material and information on Facebook and the internet, often provided by private instructors that want to help you, such as myself. I always tell my students that meeting with me is as much about how to learn to study independently and set realistic goals as about studying Dutch. A lot of motivation and self discipline is required, but you learn what you want, and when you want it.
I hope you found this blog helpful. Good luck with your studies and let me know how you are doing!