05 January 2009

taking a dutch class

i am now halfway through an intensive (9 week) dutch class. it was a struggle at first, but things have improved.

part of the struggle involved how much time the class takes: class 3 days a week for 4 hours each day and at least 2 hours homework per class (and sometimes a lot more). this went on top of my regular 2.5 days working and time for the community - which translates into a lot less time to work on my own research stuff and/or do fun things with others.
and part of the struggle involved just getting used to the class - learning what the expectations are, how to get the most out of it, and determining what things were lacking in my dutch knowledge (as i jumped into the last level of the dutch class).

improving my dutch is one of my big goals for this year - knowing dutch at a mediocre level was getting in the way of being able to participate in the world around me and was thus a source of a lot of frustration in my life. and taking a class seemed to be the best way to improve it. although i've felt that i've been slow at learning dutch, i do know that i've always been good at learning language in a classroom - and i figured since i've often felt so dumb with dutch, getting a little boost to my ego from being in a classroom wouldn't hurt :)

about a week and a half into the class, i had come to a couple of insights that improved things tremendously. in the community's small group (Bible study), we were asked to read a couple of prayers and hymns and then share our thoughts/opinions on them (and whether they would be good for the new songbook). my first thought after hearing the instructions was "oh my, this is much harder than the things we have to do in my dutch class!" and i realised that my normal life was much more complicated (but also more fascinating and challenging) than my dutch class (so no wonder it doesn't fill with me great excitement every day). and the second insight was recognizing that i had begun to resent how much time the dutch class took, especially the extra homework/tasks the first 2 weeks. i had hoped that the class would help me participate more in my life around me, but with all the time and energy it was taking in my life i wasn't able to participate in anything else! so, i've gotten better about finding a reasonable amount of time for the class while still making sure that i have enough time to sit around and drink coffee (or wine) and just appreciate life.

and things continue to improve with the class as i've seen how my dutch has improved as a result of the extra attention and from the effort of noticing and putting in the extra time and energy towards fixing several significant (and continuous) problems with my dutch (like verbs, certain words i always mix up, and word order in sentences). i'll be glad for it to be done (i take the dutch as a second language test on Feb 11-12), so i have a bit more freedom with my time - but sometimes being a bit busy doesn't hurt either [after all, i can see that i've learned a lot and it has been worth it].

1 comment:

Luc said...

Yes your Dutch has improved.

br Luc