Get-in-Touch with Dutch

İrem Bezcioğlu Göktolga

İrem Bezcioğlu Göktolga

I always tell my friends and family here and in my country that meeting Carola and Get-in-Touch is itself the most excellent chance for me in the Netherlands. Another exciting opportunity, again related to GiT is the Dutch lessons with our teacher, Karin and my friends, Etsuko, Fariba, Foad, Fereshteh, Javad, Leila, Anita, Thuy and Yolanda.

I was busy with my studies in summer in my country. When I turned back, I learnt that GiT initiated Dutch lessons for beginners, which was great for me as an absolute beginner. However, they had already started several weeks before. When I told my friend Yolanda about regretting being late, she encouraged me to join and she told me I could catch up with what they had done so far. She sent an e-mail to Karin and asked if I could join, and I became a part of the group with a very welcoming reply from Karin.

In the lessons, we really got in touch with Dutch, and it was learning by doing, not only with the language in the class, but also with the culture, customs and habits of the country. All the lessons were in a very friendly atmosphere. We sometimes went to each other’s houses, carrying the white board on the bike; we had mini snacks during the break, sharing the latest news, celebrating birthdays and achievements of our friends. Besides, we learnt the customs in real environment.

A Lesson at the Open Markt

A Lesson at the Open Markt

Once, we went to a supermarket. It was a group work, and Karin gave us a list and task to complete: “Find what is written in my shopping list, and speak only Dutch”. We, supposed to be grown-ups, were like children, running in the market to find out what we should take, asking questions in Dutch (though it was mostly body language J) to workers there and completing the list. It was so enjoyable. Then we went to an open market, trying to find the best cheese, fruits and vegetables for our teacher, again speaking Dutch with the sellers there. Similarly, once we were in a shop and we were supposed to find some clothes for ourselves by asking questions to shop assistants for the best size and color for us. Again, we had wonderful time in Karin’s house while cooking Dutch food and enjoying eating them together. These were all unique experiences which had not been possible for me if I had not met GiT, and of course, one of the best teachers and the most sincere people I have met here: Karin with her positive energy and motivation, and of course her understanding of our feelings.

Fereshteh is so Good at Making Apple Pie :)

Fereshteh is so Good at Making Apple Pie 🙂

Even if we had totally different backgrounds and we came from various parts of the world, this group brought us together so that we had something in common. I can define what is common as the good-will. All good-willed and kind people who wish the best for each other, feel happy together and sad when one of us is sad.

These 2-hour-classes made a huge difference in my life. After each lesson, I was full of energy, with the feeling of understanding the culture and language around me as well as the joy of socializing and being a part of a group abroad. Even my husband realized and told me that I looked much happier the day I had Dutch with our group.

Today was the last lesson, and I am writing this post just after the lesson, outside the classroom, with feeling of sadness for coming to an end, but with the joy of meeting great people and sensing a unique atmosphere which gives me the power to go on.

İrem Bezcioğlu Göktolga

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Teaching Dutch

Karin Boone

Karin Boone

I’ve been working as a teacher for several years and I’ve also worked with people from different cultural backgrounds. It has been a wish to combine those experiences as a NT2 teacher. At Silke’s goodbye party I had a chat with Carola. And with Carola worlds and also wishes mix and mingle. Within one week it was settled: I would start as teacher for a Dutch beginners group, a pilot project in the Get in Touch program. I still remember how happy I was, feeling the potential of what could become. And it did in many ways.

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Learning about Dutch cuisine

A wish has a starting point, a source from where it arises. I think it all began in my early childhood. I always made friends with foreign children on camping sites, even when I couldn’t speak any other language I just talked my own and connected. When I was a student I came to live ‘by mistake’ in a house meant for refugees. I was the only Dutch. I was the real stranger. The mistake turned out to be a blessing. It opened a whole new world for me. One of the things I learned and experienced was the importance of feeling at home, being included and connected no matter your background. And as the only Dutch I was a nice help for my neighbours in trying to find their way in the Netherlands.

For me learning a language is one of the important aspects to find your way in a new world. As a teacher I am enthusiastic to help others to get in touch with Dutch, to find a way to express oneself and enjoy learning. But maybe even more than a teacher I feel like a hostess, hoping I can be a person who can make others feel (more) at home.

Dutch Way of Shopping

Dutch Way of Shopping

During one of my first lessons I talked about my view on learning Dutch: that it should be meaningful, but also fun. Not just sitting behind a book, but also practising in real life situations. And indeed the workshops outside the library were fun!

I’ve enjoyed so much being a GiTwD teacher. But I haven’t been only a teacher, I’ve become a student as well. Learning new things about my own language through the eyes and comments of my group. And I was not the only hostess. I felt such a warm welcome and connection with all in my group, almost like being in a family. Giving and receiving has been one these last six months.

Get-in-Touch with Dutch Beginner Group

Get-in-Touch with Dutch Beginner Group

I’m so proud of Irem, Etsuko, Fariba, Foad, Fereshteh, Javad, Leila, Anita, Thuy and Yolanda. Not only for their progress in Dutch, but most of all for their courage to leave their home and create a new one and by their effort to share their big talents in a new world.

Thx to all for a wonderful time!

Karin Boone