Jun 3, 2019

Do I need to learn Dutch when studying in The Netherlands?

That's really is the question everyone asks themselves once they start considering The Netherlands as their study abroad option. As silly as it may sound, it is a good question to think about. Acutally, there are more things you should know about studying in the Netherlands, have a look at this overview with 10 things you need to know

Back to the language barrier: it is normal to be at least a bit worried about language differences when moving to a new country, and even considering to learn a new language in order to adjust to the people there, and most likely their culture as well.

Is it necessary to learn the language?
In short, learning Dutch is helpful, but not necessary as you can communicate with most people in English without any problem. Although, if you plan on staying in The Netherlands, even if it is just for further studies, learning Dutch is advised. But not knowing the language should anyway not hold you back from studying abroad. Do you have to learn the language? No, but there are some other factors to consider. It can come in handy to learn the language for multiple reasons:

  • Personal growth
  • The world is getting smaller, so learning new languages can always come in handy
  • With learning a new language skill, you also learn a whole new set of cultural skills
  • Just because it's really cool to learn something new

OK, how do I do this?
The level of Dutch you start with is up to you, but most students start at the very beginning. That means you start with learning things like numbers, how to introduce yourself, and so on. If you have ever studied German, you should be off to a good start with understanding some basics of Dutch as they are fairly similar. If you start in a beginner class and decide after the first few classes that that is too easy for you, you can talk to your teacher about transferring to one of the more advanced classes. In your regular class, you will most likely have some Dutch students as well so you can also ask them to help you practice your skills. Even with all of that, you do not have to study Dutch as your elective course. All of your classes will be in English if you choose an English programme, so even the Dutch students will be English speakers and so will the staff.

Studying Dutch at the HZ University Of Applied Sciences is quite easy for students since you can take it up as an elective course in most programmes and for some it is even mandatory. That is a big advantage over foreigners that are not students and even students at some Universities, as they have to pay for their Dutch courses.

Do I need Dutch in my every day life?
Your Dutch classmates being English speakers comes as no surprise though, as studies show that approximately 90% (source: European Commission) of the Dutch population claims to be able to converse in English. That means that even if you do not speak Dutch, you will be able to communicate to people outside of the university. Almost everyone I have personally encountered in the streets, and especially in the shops, are fairly good at English, at least on a conversational level, regardless of their age which had me quite surprised the first couple of times!

And what about finding a job?
If you wonder whether you'll be able to find a job without speaking Dutch, the answer is yes. However, it would be a lot easier if you at least learn the basics before applying to jobs, and most will require that.

In short, learning Dutch is helpful, but not necessary as you can communicate with most people in English without any problem. Although, if you plan on staying in The Netherlands, even if it is just for further studies, learning Dutch is advised. Not knowing the language should anyway not hold you back from studying abroad.

To get you started
OK, to get you started, here's a little list of words..

  • Hello - Hallo
  • Good morning - Goedemorgen
  • Good afternoon - Goedemiddag
  • How are you? - Hoe gaat het?
  • Goodbye - Tot ziens
  • I'm going to study in The Netherlands - Ik ga in Nederland studeren ;-).

Veel succes met het leren van de Nederlandse taal! (I wish you the best of luck with learning the Dutch language!) In the meantime have a look at these 10 things you need to know about studying in the Netherlands:

10 things you should know about studying in Holland

 

 

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