Wil je Nederlands leren in Antwerpen?

Would you like to learn Dutch in Antwerp?

jonkemp
Jon Kemp

Hi, my name is Jon Kemp and I moved from UK to Antwerp in 2014 to work as a marine engineer for International Marine Dredging Consultancy (www.imdc.be). I had only intended to stay for one or two years but I really like the city and now it feels like home.

Although not necessary for my job, I felt it was important to learn Dutch to better integrate into my new home and I have always believed that it is good to be able to speak the language spoken in the place where you live.  So after six months of enjoying the Belgium beer, making new friends and enjoying the World Cup (although, not so much for the England performance in 2014…) I decided to enrol in a Dutch Language course and since then have tried many different courses. I felt it would be good to share my experience.

Essentially there are two main options, as explained below. These are the Linguapolis courses run by the University of Antwerp and the CVO courses (CVO Antwerpen, CVO Encora, CVO LBC & CVO Sopro), which are government subsidised courses, and so are cheaper (but not necessarily of a lesser quality).

chat-23713_640All have different options in terms of timing (day/night), number of classes per week, and locations where you can study.

Before comparing the differences in the courses, one of the main differentiators when learning Dutch is the teacher and your fellow classmates, and these can often have the biggest impact on your learning experience.

Atlas

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Image from Atlas

https://www.atlas-antwerpen.be/en

Atlas can help with integration and can find suitable courses (although they are unlikely to recommend the Linguapolis course). It should be noted that waiting times can sometimes be long or the place is busy, and if you are already working full time it can be difficult to get an appointment

 

Linguapolis

https://www.uantwerpen.be/…/taalople…/taalaanbod/nederlands/

Linguapolis runs the courses at the University of Antwerp and they state that you are supposed to have a university degree, and have learnt a second language, to enter but they don’t seem to check.

studylangGenerally their course notes are well-presented in a bound book for each of the 5 levels. These courses have a solid focus on correct grammar and generally provide excellent teaching and explanation of the grammar and the rules. The courses move quickly, and you will get quite a lot of homework, which you will need to do if you want to pass the exams and keep up with the lessons.

Their Level 1 course gets you to a Level A2 in 10 -15 weeks, which would typically take you longer if you followed the CVO courses. Although there is speaking in the class, correct speaking is a key focus (e.g. ensuring inversion is used) over general conversation and simply ‘getting by’. The method of marking exams is stringent and is called negative marking. For example, if you have 15 questions and 10 points, you get a minus point for every wrong answer, meaning you could have 5 correct answers but still score 0. The price is high compared to the CVO courses though.

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Chart showing language level equivalences. (source)

CVO Vitant

CVO stands for Centrum Voor Volwassenonderwijs, and is essentially the umbrella name for adult education. There are several CVO schools in Antwerp and all follow, more or less, the same language trajectory i.e. 1.1 to 4.2 (see image above).

Sopromaterial
course books

In Antwerp there are four institutions operating along this style: CVO Antwerpen, CVO Encora, CVO LBC & CVO Sopro and all have various schools located around Antwerp. CVO LBC and CVO Sopro have a nice bound book from which to work, while CVO Antwerpen and CVO Encora provide a folder and A4 handouts. Focus tends to be on using the language and learning by use with less in the way of detailed explanation of grammar and rules. The quality is mainly dictated by the teacher and the experience you have is also influenced by your fellow classmates.

Useful links

CVO Antwerpen: http://www.cvoantwerpen.be/v…/nederlands-voor-anderstaligen/ (can see directly the availability of the courses, is also in English)

CVO Encora: https://www.stedelijkonderwijs.be/…/nederlands-voor-anderst…

(also have something called open classes, which include some self-study, with some workshops)

CVO LBC http://antwerpen.lbconderwijs.be/content/nederlands

CVO Sopro http://www.sopro.be/

Summary

Each course has its own advantages and disadvantages. The Linguapolis exams are more difficult (e.g. I passed level 3.2 at a CVO school with 77%, but failed Linguapolis Level 4 afterwards – they are both supposed to be to a B2 level in the European Framework of Reference for Languages).

Anyway, I hope you find this brief overview of some of the available options for learning Dutch in Antwerp useful. In addition to these options, there are private teachers and a school called Berlitz. There are also Facebook and meet-up groups that organise social meet ups where you can practise your new Dutch skills. Happy learning!

 

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This weekend in Antwerp: 1st, 2nd & 3rd March

ghostwalkFriday

Take advantage of what should be a dry Friday evening to enjoy an Antwerp ghostwalk in English, which sets off from Steenplein at 8pm. You can order your tickets via the Ghostwalk website.

Meet speakers of other languages and practice your language skills at The Irish Times pub over a pint, with the Swap Language Night from 7.30pm -11pm. The Irish Times is on Grote Markt.

Saturday

The philosophy cafe at Den Hopsack bar is holding another discussion event in English today. It starts at 2pm and is free. No previous academic knowledge of philosophy is required to take part, or just to come along and listen.

kavkaB&W
Kavka

There is a stocksale at Kavka on Oudaan, starting at 11 and offering discounted womenswear, menswear, accessories and deco items from a variety of brands (plus the Kavka bar will be open). This event continues on Sunday, also from 11am.

London Calling is holding its annual indie/ britpop birthday night extravaganza at Ampere! There are still a few tickets available for this birthday party, featuring London Calling DJs and a Doors tribute band.

LondonCalling2019

 

Sunday

Hip hair salon The Pony Club are also holding a Yardsale from 12am -6pm. TPC are on the Charlottelei.

redstarlineSunday is family Day at one of Antwerp best-loved museums: The Red Star Line, and this Sunday there’s a special activity for kids “Op Reis Met Verhalenvertellers” (A Journey with Story-tellers) with a story being told every half hour from midday, and an activity for the children to enjoy. And if you have very small children, they’re not left out: there’s a buggy tour from 10 -11 (this costs extra after the usual museum entry price)

Temperatures will be lower than the (somewhat alarmingly) warm midweek days of this week, coming down to 11-13 degrees. Friday should be dry, with some showers on Saturday and Sunday

Miscellaneous

Screen Shot 2019-02-23 at 13.12.10This week I was delighted to showcase the work of three University of Antwerp students in a special blog post  -meet Rani, Lotte and Ellen who made a vodcast all about Le Labo fragrance store on Wapper in Antwerp

This week, many schools celebrated carnaval -you may have seen kids coming out of school on Wednesday all dressed up. Carnaval celebrations continue next Wednesday (during spring break) for kids aged 4-13 at two locations courtesy of District Antwerpen.  for only one euro (no need to pre-register).

JEF2019JEF is an annual film festival for children and young people in Belgium, with events taking place in various locations across the country. There is of course, a JEF program in Antwerp featuring screenings, activities and workshops for all ages. Most of these take place in the Zuiderpershuis, with a few at the Ecohuis too. JEF runs until the 10th March and is well worth looking at if you have kids to entertain during the Spring half-term break (“Krokusvakantie”).

March is Youth Book Month -encourage your young reader by checking out the agenda: there will be lots going on at Bib Permeke.

Are you, or do you know, a young person who has taken part in the Climate Marches recently? If so, he/ she can get a 20% discount on any purchases from any of Antwerp’s eight second hand stores. To get the discount -show a selfie of yourself on the march. It’s available until the 8th March.

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Special post: University of Antwerp students discover a passion for perfume in their vodcast.

Screen Shot 2019-02-23 at 13.12.10

As part of their English Professional Communication course within the University of Antwerp Master in Multilingual Professional Communication, Dutch-speaking students were asked to create a podcast or vodcast explaining how Antwerp entrepreneurs define luxury. Sixteen groups of students took part, and Nessascityblog gets to showcase one chosen vodcast (all about Le Labo Perfume store on Wapper) here! This assignment was set by Prof. Tom Van Hout and assisted by lecturer Stephanie Hughes. Congratulations to Rani, Ellen and Lotte: the students who made the selected vodcast, which you can read about and watch below.

Why did you choose Le Labo?

ingredientsF
perfume ingredients at Le Labo

For our assignment we had to find a venue that defined ‘luxury’. Upon entering the store, we were immediately overwhelmed by the kind of luxury that Le Labo embodies. We chose Le Labo for its simplicity as it is not lavishly decorated. The only element outside the store is a simple sign with Le Labo on. We share the opinion that this is a way of expressing luxury; one you might not expect. For example it does not contain a fancy interior with a lot of drama and champagne at the entrance. Le Labo obtains luxury by creating an experience for their customers, by focussing on what is most important for them: the scent. This focus on the experience is what got us hooked.

In your opinion, what makes Le Labo special?
Le Labo draws attention to their scents. They do not want to use overly-decorated bottles, promotions or advertisements. As they state on their website, they share the opinion that there are too many bottles of perfume, and not enough soulful fragrances. They emphasise the importance of the soul – formed through the intention with which a product is created and the attention with which it is prepared. In other words, Le Labo believes that the main focus should be on the experience. You can choose your own scent and they will hand-blend your bottle on the spot, while you can watch the whole process. The store also stresses their use of natural elements. Le Labo really wants to go back to basics, and they also make sure everyone is able to enjoy their perfumes by taking potential customer allergies into account.

team
The team with Marty at Le Labo on Wapper

What advice would you give anyone wanting to make a podcast/ vodcast for the first time?

As a team, we were extremely lucky to find a place that we all really liked. From the beginning, we felt a strong connection with Le Labo. Additionally, Marty (the store supervisor and lab technician) said to us: “all three of you were really open and you could see your interest and excitement from the start. If you did not have that vibe, we, from Le Labo, would not have given you the freedom we gave to you now.” We stumbled upon this place that struck a passion within. Immediately, we wanted to know more. Therefore, we believe that one of the most important things is that you choose a subject that you are actually passionate about. If you are, it will be both a fun and educational process that you are eager to work on. Your passion and interest will also be noticed by people in the end result. Furthermore, it is important when you work in a group to know each person’s strengths and weaknesses. It is important to be able to complement and help each other throughout the process. Each one of us has different specialities and these complemented each other smoothly. As a result, we were able to create this fun group project that we are all very proud of.

Watch the vodcast made by Ellen, Rani & Lotte here:

The three students who created the Le Labo vodcast are:

Ellen Weeremans
Hi, my name is Ellen. Before I started my Masters in Multilingual Professional Communication, I studied an academic bachelor in Linguistics and Literature: English-Theatre, Film and Literature. MPC (Multilingual Professional Communication) sparked my interest as the course expand on concepts such as marketing and communication. For me to turn away from literature and start to learn something new entirely was exciting. I could now deepen my understanding of concepts that I had not heard about in the last three years. This was was both extremely scary and appealing. Right now, we are in the second semester and already I feel that I have learned so much more than I thought I would.

Rani Konings
Hello, my name is Rani. I studied Linguistics and Literature in English and Dutch. I am currently following the Master’s program in Multilingual Professional Communication (MPC) at the University of Antwerp. For me, MPC was a logical choice. I wanted something different and more challenging. The combination of professional communication and marketing gives you a wide range of possibilities. In my opinion, this Masters is an excellent way to direct your language skills to a more professional level. It prepares you well for future job opportunities.

Lotte Van Ende
Hello, my name is Lotte. I have a bachelor’s degree in Linguistics and Literature (English – Spanish) and am now studying the Master in Multilingual Professional Communication at the University of Antwerp. I chose MPC mostly because I was ready for something new and challenging. I have not regretted this choice for a single moment as MPC offers a very wide range of subjects. I am learning to communicate at a professional level and also get to know more about marketing and management. For me, studying MPC really prepares students for the future and opens the door to many different job opportunities.

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