B1 (Or: Courses at ROC Mondriaan)

On Monday night I went to an open house at ROC Mondriaan in The Hague to look into a different option for continuing my Dutch language lessons at level B1 (pdf). The nice thing is that this school receives a subsidy from the city’s government, so it doesn’t cost the student nearly as much. €20 if you registered that day, €30 otherwise, plus the cost of textbooks. I decided that I would continue with B1 rather than trying to skip ahead to B2 after doing some crazy amount of studying over the summer. Probably for the best.

The open house went pretty well. There was actually a line of people waiting, but perhaps they were here for a lower level as I ended up getting taken before I even sat down. There was a bit of confusion when I said I was American (for a few minutes I thought I didn’t qualify for a subsidy) but it seems to have just been a case of the person not knowing what the rules were for Americans. My intake person asked another colleague, and he asked me for my education level. When I said Master’s that seemed to satisfy him.

All I know is that the course will likely start in September and that it will last for 20 weeks. I did say my preference was for a night course. The intake person also mentioned that I would probably take a test before the class started, to gauge my learning level so that students who learn faster (or slower) are put together.

Lastly, I’ll still be doing self-study over the summer with the other B1 course textbooks that I bought (Contact 2) so hopefully this class is also a breeze.

Categories: Courses | Tags: | 13 Comments

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13 thoughts on “B1 (Or: Courses at ROC Mondriaan)

  1. Oh my goodness, you’re powering through! 😀

  2. Haha yeah. It will slow down a bit though. My previous course at Voksuniversiteit was 14 weeks. This is 20 weeks, though it does start earlier. I guess realistically I’ll probably be taking the NT2 II exam sometime in later summer next year. Thanks for the comment!

  3. Sweet, we will be ROC Mondriaan buddies!! I did a course there a long time ago.. What location was the open day at??

    • Brouwersgracht 50, same as where the class will be. A few months ago I was trying to get Marco’s mom to take an advanced English course there, but we both forgot about it. ;p

  4. Lucky that the cost of the courses is so low in the Hague. In Nijmegen the city voted to stop the subsidy in 2013. Ahh just in time for me. Jammer! 😦 know anywhere that people who have already taken A1-A2 courses sell the USD textbooks? I’m sure the work books I will have to buy new.

  5. Used * not USD haha damn autocorrect

    • I am not sure where to buy used textbooks unfortunately. I wrote all over my A2 one… I suspect textbooks will have markings too, not just workbooks…

  6. sasja

    Hi! I stumbled upon your blog by googling Mondriaan Dutch courses.

    I have a question: did they ask if you’d already passed the inburgerings test or not? I mean, the second kind, not the one people from some non-EU countries need to pass befoe coming to NL but the inburgerings test that you have to pass within 3 years of being in the Netherlands.

    I’m a fellow EU-outsider originally, and I was rejected because apparently I’m inburgeringsplichtig, which was news for me. But then I read your blog, and it looks like you’re from the US and I don’t see a mention of inburgerings anywhere. Or maybe you’ve already passed it?


    • No, I did not have to pass a test to go to Mondriaan. They were slightly hesitant that I was American, but they just needed to check that it was still okay (and I think they also checked that they still get a subsidy from the Den Haag government if the student was American. Apparently they do since I was able to register.)

      The one thing to keep in mind is the difficulty level. If you think you would be closer to the top if the class they might place you in, I would suggest asking for a placement test (I assume that is possible). I did not and simply showed them my A2 certificate from Volksuniversiteit to get into the B1 class. But it was way too easy and I learned most of the grammar already at the other school. Most of their students are from countries that require the first inburgeringsexamen you mentioned and this seems to affect the skill level in general. With exceptions, of course. A few students aren’t that far behind me and only need to study proper word order for more involved sentences.

      My teacher actually devised a plan to let me take the final B1 test next month (a few months early) to get into B2 sooner, so it did work out in the end. 🙂

      • sasja

        Hey, really glad it’s working out for you! Also, can I ask who was the person that you talked to while registering? And how exactly did it go?

        When I came there for the first time they took a copy of my ID card, gave me a standart sign-in form to fill in and an invitation to a language level test and a Teaching Knowledge Test in a week. Since there was some stuff in the form I didn’t remember by heart and I’d have to drop off a letter from a belastingdienst with my BSN number I took the test home and brought it and all the needed papers the next day. They took it, but when I was in a tram on my way home I got a call from someone from the Mondriaan’s administration that said I couldn’t partake because I’m staying by my partner, am originally from outside EU and hence inburgeringsplichtig. Which was really weird because initially when my partner and I did all the paperwork at the IND I was told I wasn’t. Anyhow, my partner calls Mondriaan to get some answers, since, “wat gek”, you know. The person at the reception tells us he’ll deliver the message to the administration as soon as they’re there. In about an hour or two I get a call and am told “Oh we’re sorry, we made a mistake.” Well, all right then, the mix up is cleared up, yay! I just go on with my life and when the day for my placement tests comes I just go up there and pass them (first – the language one – on the computer, where I get 44 out of 45 questions right, and a second one, which I assume was a Teaching Knowledge Test, on paper). I’m told I’ll get the letter with all the results and placement in a week. A week passes, no response. Another week passes – nothing. I call to check in on them, the guy at the reception doesn’t really know what the matter is, so my partner suggests we might as well just go there and ask. So we arrive there, a nice lady at the administration can’t find my name in the computer. She calls another man who’s responsible for registering people I suppose, and he looks for my sign-in form and finds it in a rejection folder with a yellow sticker over it that runs “inburgeringsplichtig”… So, you know, we tell the story how it is, how we were told by IND I’m not in fact plichtig and how I got an apology call which made me believe I am in fact right, and that’s basically the reason I took the placement test etc etc. The man actually tried to insinuate that no one called me to apologize, that it’s impossible and he’s the only person handling the calls and I made it up or something, but my cellphone’s speakers are pretty loud and when I got the call my partner was sitting next to me so he heard it too, so he cut him off. It was all really unpleasant.

        Anyway, next day I went on my own mini-crusade of calling the IND, the gemeente and making an appointment at DUO to find out what is actually the truth. At IND they directed me to DUO. At DUO they ran my BSN number through the system and told me I’m not inburgeringsplichtig, but told me to contact gemeente just in case. At gemeente they told me that I might be plichtig but not for the first inburgerings test that you do before arriving, but the one every non-EU citizen who is planning to reside long in the Netherlands needs to pass within 3 years upon arriving. And I’ve never heard about that second inburgerings test. Apparently you find out about it by getting a letter from gemeente or DUO, and I got none of that, and probably would never even hear about it if it weren’t for Mondriaan. Did you receive any of those letters yet?

        Anyway, I’ll have an appointment with the gemeente worker next week to clear everything up.

        Sorry for the long message. I’m just venting because the situation is pretty frustrating to be honest.

        And I thought I’d warn you that you might also have to pass that second inburgerings thingy eventually. Well, hopefully you’ll deal with a more competent gemeente workers.


    • Just in case, I am also replying to this comment to make sure you get a comment email sent to you (I sent a longer reply in a different comment). My comment nesting was sent to allow 3 levels, so it wouldn’t let me keep replying to you. It’s a bit weird. I set it higher now so hopefully it is fixed in the future.

  7. I no longer remember who the person was that I spoke too as this was back in July. I went during an open registration day and it was pretty insane with all of the people there. I do remember some concern that I was an American but the woman asked another gentleman and he went and found looked it up and said it was okay. I heard nothing more of it. There’s nothing on the website that says you can or cannot be x, though… so I would have been pretty annoyed if it wasn’t allowed. The main thing it says is you have to live in the city (Den Haag) for mine.

    My partner and I also had our major fight coming over here, though it was with the IND and a since-removed law that said you needed to be married before you moved here. So I had to jump through a lot of hoops to get into the system before the law went into effect, and that wasn’t without its ‘fun’ moments.

    I have received the letter saying I need to do the second inburgerings test within 3 years – I have probably gotten 3-4 letters since I moved here 11 months ago, and the first one was within a month of getting my residence card. Though it’s not a worry for me, as I am planning on taking the NT2-II which is one way to fulfill that requirement (you need to do the inburgerings exam or a state exam which the NT2 is).

    Sorry I can’t help you more. But I can tell you there was definitely a few moments of confusion when I said I was American, Good luck and sorry you are getting hassled!

  8. sasja

    Hi again!

    Thanks for your reply. Yeah, their website doesn’t really say anything apart from what age you’re supposed to be and where you need to live. So yes, it is a bit annoying and a weird situation overall, but I like to think it’s some sort of a misunderstanding (I mean, there’s a human factor in everything.)
    Hopefully I’ll be able to clear it up eventually, but it looks like I’ll have to pay many more visits to DUO and gemeente :(.


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