Dutch was not the first foreign language I studied, but I haven’t found many blog posts by other learners. Here’s my attempt to fill in the gap a little.
When I learned that my flight to Uganda would have a layover in Amsterdam, I decided that it might be useful to learn a few phrases – maybe order breakfast. A delayed flight dashed my dreams of hagelslag, but I did meet a Dutch lady in Jinja. She said I sounded German. Oh well, it was a nice try.
Fast-forward three years – and I’m still learning Dutch. I even hope to study abroad in the Netherlands next summer. It’s been a fun journey, and I managed to find some resources that boosted me along the way.
Here’s how it went:
At first, I played around with a few resources: Taalklaas, 2bdutch.nl, and Sesamstraat.
Then, I requested Teach Yourself Dutch for Christmas. I got about half-way through it and learned a lot. However, at about the halfway point, the chapters got much denser, and I felt that I was not absorbing enough out of it.
Around that time, Dutch was added added to Duolingo. I added it to my school schedule and completed the tree in time to graduate high school.
Along with working through Duolingo, I watched Het Huis Anubis – a Dutch young adult fantasy TV show with English subtitles. All available on YouTube. I only got through the first season, but I got pretty hooked. I got to improve my listening skills while learning the secrets of the “levenselixer” – the elixir of life – as well as some cultural information. Sibuna!
Afterwards, I jumped back into TY Dutch. I also was delighted to realize how much of their current television shows the Dutch broadcasting companies put online – with Dutch subtitles. I also joined italki, a language learning company that revolves around the exchange of language skills. I especially like the written component.
I don’t know where I’ll go from here. But I do know that I do not want to stop learning Dutch. I’ll at least finish Harry Potter en de Geheime Kamer… and maybe spend a summer in Utrecht… Maybe I should go study something I’m being graded on.
Free Resources for Learning:
- Duolingo: A gamified, solid introduction to Dutch
- Taalklas.nl: A series in Dutch designed for immigrants
- Oefenen.nl: Exercises in a cultural context
Free Resources for Practice
- Sesamstraat: For early listening practices
- Het Huis Anubis: English subtitles available
- Floortje naar het Einde van de Wereld: A Dutch travel show
- Baantjer: A Dutch police drama on my to-watch list
- Dutch TV Episodes: Like a Dutch On-Demand
- De Volkskrant: A main Dutch newspaper
- italki: Writing and speaking practice