Regina Coeli: Learning Dutch is not always the best choice
You may well have heard or read that it can be advantageous to learn Dutch if you live and / or work in the Netherlands. That doing so helps you integrate better into Dutch society, even if you only use English at work and can manage just fine in daily life without Dutch as well. While Language Institute Regina Coeli does not want to completely contradict this notion, the institute does want to make an important comment on it.
You could be one of the many expats who speak English as a second or other language. If that is the case, are you always able to express yourself in English at work as well as you can in your mother tongue?
Do any of the following situations sound familiar to you?
- You spend a great deal of time writing correct e-mails in English—much more time than you would need in your native language.
- People comment on your pronunciation, or you have noticed that your colleagues struggle to understand you at times.
- You often search for words or notice that you frequently fall back on the same words.
- In meetings or conversations, you find it hard to react quickly and therefore cannot fully participate.
Confusing: English and Dutch look alike
If you still struggle with your English at times, it is not especially useful to start learning Dutch. The English and Dutch languages are very similar, so there is a chance that you will mix them up if you do not speak one well enough before learning the next. Improve your English first—that is good for both business and social reasons—and then start to focus on Dutch.
Fortunately, improving your English does not have to take long. That is, if you have the right help. At Language Institute Regina Coeli, you follow a fully personalised programme which is composed around your learning objectives.
For example, someone with a strong accent who finds grammar difficult has a completely different programme than someone who wants to improve their writing skills and be more persuasive. This kind of tailor-made programme, supervised by native speakers, accelerates learning. The Regina Coeli method remains unique in the Netherlands.
Improve your English by yourself
There are also things you can do on your own to improve your English. Here are five tips:
1. Learn the right words
What words are common in your field? What words do you use in your own job? Those are the words you really need to know. At Regina Coeli, your language trainers support you in building the vocabulary you need. Because you actively compile your wordlist, those words then become top of mind.
2. Learn how to address people
Being polite is critical in English. In many languages, there are formal and informal forms of address, such as the Dutch “u” and “jij”, the German “Sie” and “du” and the Spanish “usted” and “tú”, but in English, everyone is addressed as “you”. Ways to create a polite tone include the use of words such as “would” and “could”.
3. Have sentences that suit you at the ready
In what kinds of situations do you usually speak English? Practise for those and learn words or phrases you can use to start off a question or response. If you get the ball rolling properly, the rest often comes naturally. Practicing these situations with Regina Coeli’s trainers in role-plays is very helpful for “cementing” them in your memory.
4. Pay attention to specific skills in English
Great presentations in Dutch do not necessarily translate to great presentations in English. To get and hold your audience’s attention, you need to be able to play with the language. It is important to know how to structure your story well and really learn how to tell it.
It is also absolutely crucial to take culture into account. Have you ever seen an American give a presentation? Throw your modesty out the window and show us who you are! Regina Coeli’s language trainers can help you tell your story and help you build the confidence you need to truly shine on stage.
5. Make sure you get honest feedback on your communication
Perhaps the most important thing of all is that you get feedback on what you do well and what you can improve on. It could be that you unintentionally say things that make you come across as unreliable. You would not be the first person taking an English course to discover why the same things always go wrong!
Opportunities to learn business English
Are you unsure where you should start when it comes to improving your English? Then work out a plan together with one of Regina Coeli’s English trainers to take your game up a notch. Whatever you want to improve, Language Institute Regina Coeli can design the best English language training course for you.