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We interviewed Ozge, a young Turkish lady living in London. And… with a Dutch partner. Ozge had been trying to learn the Dutch language for a long time, but never really made it work. Then came the lockdown, and Ozge decided to take on the opportunity of a lockdown to spend more time on her language skills. Taalthuis, it was!

Why did you figure learning Dutch would be useful?

As my partner is Dutch and we often visit the Netherlands, it’s worth learning the language to be able to speak with his family in law and with his friends. Of course, conversations often start in English with me, but after a couple of beers, people tend to switch to their native language. Besides, me and my partner have a 2-year-old together and he speaks Dutch with her. Even though we tend to raise her bilingual, it is convenient and pleasant for me to be able to understand their conversations and to join in sometimes. Last but not least, I’m just very fond of the Dutch culture and I enjoy learning a new language. It’s a great way of connecting with the country, the people and the culture!

And? How is it going?

It’s going very well! Of course, the fact that I had been exposed to the language before during all our Christmas trips, was helpful. But all the learning I had done before, was kind of self-paced, through various applications. Taalthuis offers me the learning in a group, which I am really liking. Also, in the context of a lockdown, having that social interaction was a big plus!

How do you feel about taking the classes online?

Having to take the course online because of Covid and of course because of the physical distance between London and the Netherlands, has never been a disadvantage for me. Quite the opposite: it makes it very flexible, easily accessible and – genuinely – fun. I get to meet people from all over the world, each one with a different motive to learn Dutch. Our teacher has been great as well – she’s very supportive. Even if people ask her stuff on the weekends, she always responds ASAP. That’s really appreciative.

You’ve been in the Netherlands quite sometimes – what’s remarkable about the Dutch?

Dutch are very social people, their sense of loyalty is a lot. I like the fact that when I visit Amsterdam, it feels like I’m in a small town rather than that I’m in a big city. My partner always runs into someone he knows!  Also, people are very straightforward in the Netherlands. They don’t beat around the bush, so you won’t have to read between the lines. I just love that.

What’s next?

I’ve just got my certificate saying I’ve passed the Beginners Course, and now I’ve signed up to the next online course. I’m gonna go fully through the online track and I’m very excited to see how I’ll develop in learning Dutch!