New online Dutch integration course sets learners up for B1
With the government planning to up its Dutch language requirements for integration, Inburgering Online is extending its popular online exam preparation courses to include B1. We find out more.
A good grasp of Dutch, believe the Dutch government, is key to successfully integrating in the Netherlands and increasing your chance of finding work. They therefore intend to increase from A2 to B1 the language level tested in the Inburgering (integration) exams. For more information about what applies to your personal situation, it is recommended to get in touch with DUO or IND.
Fortunately, for all those registering for the B1 exam – be it an immigration requirement, for a university application, or simply to boost their CV – a new self-access course with Inburgering Online has their study schedule mapped out for them.
The B1 course, which prepares students for the reading, writing, listening and speaking exams, builds on the success of Inburgering Online’s courses for the KNM (Knowledge of Dutch Society) exam and the A2 language exams. Like all the courses on the site, it features helpful videos, grammar explanations, practice exercises and mock exams.
Learning a language can feel daunting, but the course has a very focused approach. It starts with practical information about the exam so you know what you are going to do and what you are working towards. The minimum requirements are outlined and learners are reassured that their Dutch does not have to be perfect to pass the exam. Also reassuring, are the videos created by the site’s designer, Dutch language teacher Bart Nawijn, in which he explains each question type and offers tips.
‘You see my face on the screen and it makes it more personal,’ Bart explains. ‘I realise that studying for an exam is not something you do for fun, and I try to make it positive and to encourage people.’ He adds: ‘I think that schools are often too focused on mistakes and what you did wrong. This leads to a negative learning experience and that’s not my approach at all. I try to guide people so that if they study in the way I tell them, they should easily be able to pass.’
Despite being online, the course offers support via email. Students with questions − on a point of grammar, for example − can email Bart, who responds quickly and in detail. This is a personal touch which students particularly appreciate, and is one of the parts Barts enjoys most. ‘I love languages and I put a lot of energy and passion into this project,’ he says.
Easy to use
Inburgering Online’s B1 course, like the A2 and the KNM, is intended to make life as easy as possible for students preparing for the integration exams. ‘The goal of the course is to create a guided self-study course where people don’t need books or fixed classes, and where every student does every exam really well,’ explains Bart.
‘Inburgering Online makes the learning process so much fun,’ says Tamara Zajačková, a Slovakian vet based in Leiden who has been trying out the new B1 programme. ‘The course is easy to use,’ she told DutchNews.nl. ‘Videos are created in a clear way and the emphasis is put on the specific vocabulary and grammar which you need for passing the exam. You get plenty of space to practise the explained content, and after each completed part you can test yourself to track your progress.’
Tamara also appreciates the flexibility of the programme, which lets her work at her own pace. ‘What I find the most convenient is the access to your course through a mobile phone. This way, you can practise any time, anywhere,’ she says. ‘Another plus point is the possibility of adjusting the playing speed of the videos. This is very helpful. I use a slightly slower speed to better understand the explanation of the grammar rules.’
Getting the most out of life in the Netherlands
The B1 is not a new exam, nor is it restricted to applicants sitting it as part of the immigration process. Some people take the exam to demonstrate they have achieved a certain level in Dutch. This may be to impress employers or because it is a requirement of their studies here. For others, it is simply something they want to do as part of their own personal development.
‘B1 really helps you get the most out of society,’ Bart explains. ‘A2 level is very basic. With B1 level, you can do so much more. You are actually able to express a lot of things and have conversations.’ Having B1 in the bag is about more than securing residency rights, he explains, but helps all newcomers get the most out of their time in the Netherlands.
‘In any social environment, this level will help you participate a lot more,’ says Bart. ‘It just makes living here a lot more interesting.’
The B1 course with Inburgering Online starts at €8.95 a month. To find out more about the subscriptions offered by Inburgering Online, visit their website.
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