Expat Magazine

Acclimate by Learning the Language

By Clogsandtulips @clogsandtulips

Acclimate by Learning the LanguageBethany Ramos is back with another great post to help you with your move overseas. Check back the 16th of every month for more tips from Bethany.
Now that you have finally researched your big move to the Netherlands, you need to make yourself even more comfortable by beginning to better understand the language so that you can communicate with those around you.

Not only can it be incredibly lonely not to have any friends when you move to a new city due to a language barrier, but learning the basics of the new language is helpful for everyday tasks, like buying groceries, renting a home, setting up a bank account, and even using public transportation.

Learning the local language should be very high on your checklist when moving abroad so that you can get acclimated quickly!

  • Join speaking groups. Joining a speaking group through a local community center will help you to jump in and get both feet wet. Yes, it may be intimidating to talk to strangers in any language, but it is the best way to learn the phrases and accents that people really use so that you can better communicate.
  • Make friends with the locals. Being friendly will get you far when adjusting to your new surroundings, so try to make friends with neighbors, colleagues, or even parents at your children’s school. This will help you slowly ease into your new language as you get to practice when spending time with friends: a win-win!
  • Watch movies in your new language. One of the simplest ways to better understand Dutch is by watching children’s movies that you may already be very familiar with dubbed over in your new language. Since you already know the plot and storyline, you can get comfortable with the new interpretation of the movie so that you can start to better understand new words and vocabulary. The Dutch tend to subtitle rather than dub, so when watching TV or a movie, you can read along in Dutch as you hear the dialogue in English.
  • Use post-its. Yes, this may be entirely elementary, but sticking post-its with Dutch words on items around your home will make a world of difference in helping you learn new words each day. This will also help you to better associate new vocabulary with everyday items so that you can easily communicate with people when necessary.
  • Change your computer or mobile phone settings. Even doing something as simple as changing your mobile phone and computer settings to Dutch will help to better put you in touch with your new language. It may seem overwhelming at first, but it will make a difference as you start exposing yourself more and more to your new language each day.
  • Subscribe to an e-mail word of the day program. You can be sent a new Dutch word every day via sites like Dutch Word of the Day to commit to memory, and after a few weeks or even a month, you will be surprised at how much you have learned in a short amount of time!
  • Try Rosetta Stone. If you are in a bind and want to learn Dutch fast, it helps to try a program like Rosetta Stone, which teaches you a new language only through the use of pictures. This will at the very least help you to understand how to construct basic sentences, which will allow you to get even more practice coupled with using all of the tips above.
  • Take a language class. A formal language class will teach you the correct usage of the language under the tutelage of a native speaker. You will practice writing, reading, speaking, and listening to the language and constantly come across new vocabulary. Through language classes, you can also meet others in your situation. You will find that many times, Dutch will now be the common language – not English!

There’s nothing worse than feeling like an outsider because you can’t understand what people are talking about after moving to a new country, so do everything within your power to learn, learn, learn! Speaking of which, you can also check out Dutch language courses at Leren.nl or check out the Learn Dutch drop down menu on the Links page to start studying your new language right away!

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