Een beetje moeilijker (Or: B2 Dutch course #1)

Currently sitting at home listening to workers upgrade the heating unit – they are looking to upgrade them in all of the apartments, thus it takes a while. They’ve been here for a bit more than 2 hours as of this writing… with occasional loud drilling to keep me awake. [Edit: Seems to be done now, about 3 hours in total.]

Last night was my first B2 course by ROC Mondriaan. As a recap, the main reason this course is a good one is the price – €30 for 20 weeks (6 hours per week) provided you live in The Hague. The school receives a subsidy from the city government for what would otherwise be a very expensive program. And as an added bonus, we found out that the government had some left over money in this budget, therefore we also received our textbook (De Finale – €31.50) for free. Unexpected, but nice! I guess that means I was paid €1.50 to go to this class for 20 weeks. Maybe.

In the end there were about 15 or 16 people in the class. The teacher seemed nice enough. A bit of a soft speaker (due to a medical issue) but as I usually sit closer to the front it is not really a problem for me. Similar to the last course, the focus is again on writing, reading, listening and speaking as the textbook aims to prepare you for the NT2 exam after the course. Surprisingly, more than half of the class said that that they were interested in taking the exam.

Although the first night covered a lot of administrative things, we did also get started with some websites and the textbook. One of the websites she mentioned was Beter Spellen (Better Spelling). You can create a free account and receive a daily email with quizzes tailored to your difficulty level (there are three levels). I still need to make an account there, but she did show us a few example tests in class. The one thing she asked was that we not do the quiz on Tuesdays and Thursdays, because she wanted to do them in class.

We also looked at a few things in the textbook and did a speaking exercise. Luckily someone from the previous B1 class was assigned to this class, so we sat next to one another and also did the speaking component together. Though we still have a bit of trouble with our respective accents… I find it a bit difficult to ask people to repeat themselves, so sometimes I “smile and nod” even if I missed the meaning of the sentence. I really must work on that!

Lastly, she did mention that she would try and teach us a few rules everyday about when to use -de or -het for “the” (in English you only have “the” but in Dutch you have two choices, though de is much more common these days). Just a few rules per class – not too many.

-de words:

words which end in -ie: politie (police), concurrentie (competition), vakantie (vacation), koffie (coffee).

words which end in -heid: overheid (goverment), zekerheid (security), vrijheid (freedom), gezondheid (health)

All in all an interesting class. Definitely a bit more difficult – or een beetje moeilijker – which is what I like.

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