A word without a direct translation into English, it can in this instance refer to a cosy, sociable and generally great time!
After driving into het Timmerholt and receiving my apartment keys and a quick run down of the park by the lovely receptionist, I headed to my ‘banaan’ (a nick name given to the apartment clusters as they are curved in shape, like, yep you guessed it..a banana!). As check-in was from 17:00 and I was a few hours behind that, the apartment areas were busy with students moving in and meeting for the first time. At 20:00 we were all able to introduce ourselves properly at the welcome BBQ!
Kaasouffle in hand (a cheesy breaded option for the veggies!) it was so fascinating to hear everybodies different motivations for taking the course. Before chatting to my new classmates I had not given much thought to ‘why’ people were taking the course. Our group is varied in age and motivations include wanting to learn Dutch to better relate to business clients, prepare university students for their studies in the Netherlands, living on the German border and wishing to brush up on previously gained Dutch skills in order to better shop and meet friends in close by Dutch towns. Many students also have a Dutch hertitage and family members currently living in the Netherlands and are studying so that they can catch up with them and improve on the Dutch they may already have. Others like myself wish to live in the Netherlands with partners and find work or in some cases acquire ‘een beetje’ (a little) Dutch to allow them to chat to new colleagues in their new roles across the Netherlands!
The BBQ also allowed us to meet most of the teachers and have a nice chat with Bart who reassured many people that we would all be fine in our respective classes – with such a range of abilities I myself was a little daunted after trying to teach myself Dutch using Apps I had not gained many speaking skills! But all these worries were put to bed as I spoke to other students who all had the same little reservations that ultimately showed how much everyone wanted to succeed in their studies. At the BBQ we were also able to buy the course text book if you hadn’t already (like me!).
Music playing, people relaxing with conversation dipping in and out of Dutch, it is safe to say that everyone is keen and excited to begin the classes the next day!