I am Pankaj Patil. I am from India. I have been living in Amstelveen for 5 years. I work at the company 'Indofil' as head of European affairs. Below I would like to share my experience about learning the Netherlands with the help of the Taalhuis and my Language Coach Caroline.
It all started when it didn't feel right
I was always traveling through other countries and every time I went through immigration they spoke in Dutch and I told them to speak in English. This was annoying for me and for them. Because I lived in the Netherlands for four years, I had to be able to speak Dutch. But I didn't speak Dutch at all. Soon I decided to take the civic integration exam to get the Dutch passport. For this exam I had to learn Dutch, and I had to speak it.
Studying for the exam gave me the motivation to learn better Dutch
I started watching YouTube videos. I spoke to friends but they were more interested in passing the integration exam than in talking. Of the civic integration exam, I liked the Dutch language the most. I like to speak Dutch.
The process in the Taalhuis is fast and efficient
Meeting with Taalhuis and the teacher
A friend told me about the Taalhuis programme. When I went to the library, I was warmly welcomed by the people of the Taalhuis.
My expectations were clear: I had to be able to speak Dutch fluently. I want to have fun speaking Dutch. I want to feel like a normal Dutch person. I wanted to speak confidently in Dutch.
After meeting the Taalhuis to get help with Dutch, the process went quickly and efficiently. I received a call from the Taalhuis about the class, and soon I met the teacher and we decided to keep the classes online on Saturday because of corona.
I was very lucky to have Caroline as a teacher. Despite her busy schedule, she was always available for classes. During the call she was very patient, helping and encouraging me to speak.
The weekly newspaper is still my favorite exercise
the weekly newspaper
The lessons started with the newspaper 'weekly newspaper' and it is still my favorite exercise. It is easy to read for a new learner. In addition to reading, we also use the time to talk about what happened during the week. We talked about culture, people, India and movies. Caroline always talked about Dutch culture, their customs and preferences. It was all very pleasant.
Soon Caroline starts giving me a little homework. For example, write about family, about children. I wrote and spoke with Caroline in class. I always try to speak in Dutch. Soon I feel more comfortable writing. Once I translated a Hindi song into Dutch and it was a nice experience.
On your own
Stories and expressions
Then I started writing stories about my short and long vacations. I wrote about my vacation to Luxembourg and vacations in Germany. Soon I started using the words we discussed in class.
'Just trust me'
'Making all kinds of things'
'On your own'
I also wrote about the language walk organized by the Taalhuis. And Caroline and I read books together, like 'The Little Prince', and books from the library. I read Anne Frank and Paramaribo.
Passed the integration exam
I had passed my civic integration exam. I began to feel comfortable in the language and comforted.
It was important to me to talk and that's why we always spoke in class. We practiced difficult words, such as 'Go' and 'U'. At first the practice was terrible, but with practice it became easy. We talked about my visit to the hairdresser, the town hall and the doctor.
How To Make Indian Tea
I also made a video on 'how to make Indian tea' and sent it to Caroline and my friends. My friends told me it was a breeze.
Pleasant and enjoyable trip
The whole trip was very enjoyable and enjoyable. It was more than I expected. My confidence in my speaking has increased and I am not shy about speaking and writing. I'm better than last year.
I had the opportunity to give a short talk about my experience with Caroline in the library during the Language Walk program.
AmstelveenZ magazine also recorded my story with Caroline.
Other people can also go to the Language House for a Language Coach
Language is a journey
I think that other people can also visit the Taalhuis for a Language Coach. I feel it started with the Dutch language. I would like to thank the Taalhuis for learning Dutch. Language is a journey and I have so much confidence in my 'goal'.
A gift I can give to Caroline
I have no words for how grateful I am Caroline
Without Caroline, this journey would not have started with so much passion and pleasure. The most valuable thing is the "time" Caroline has given me. She is a good teacher and more than a wonderful woman. She made the trip more fun and interesting. We are not only connected as a language buddy and language coach, but also as good friends.
I have no words for how grateful I am to Caroline. And I think she will be very surprised if I call her in some time and speak fluent Dutch. Then she doesn't recognize me ;-)
That's a great gift I can give to Caroline.
Finally, I want to thank you Taalhuis and Caroline
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