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Which is more likely? Germ-Norw-Dutch

 Language Learning Forum : Advice Center Post Reply
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Speaks: French*, EnglishC2
Studies: German, Italian

 Message 1 of 3
15 May 2007 at 9:01pm | IP Logged 
I've been thinking about going abroad for either 1 or 2 semesters next year (fall 08). I could either do it in:

-Switzerland, France or Belgium to complement my degree. Technical translation is something that really interests me so I guess having a degree made up of 3 years in English and 1 in French might not be a bad thing. One year would probably be enough to learn all the technical terms and who knows maybe standardize my French.

-An English speaking country (or somewhere where they offer courses in English) just for the experience and to see more of the world I guess.

-Countries like Germany, Netherlands, Norway, enhance my curriculum, learn a new languague to a high level and enjoy discovering new cultures. But I've no knowledge of the languages spoken in these countries whatsoever (a bit of German but not much)

so I was wondering how manageable that'd be to learn a new language in a year span to a level that would satisfy university requirements?

Would it be easier in Dutch, German or Norwegian?


Have any of you ever tried that, the 3rd option I mean?

I'm still just thinking about that but I like the idea!

P.S. I'm taking a degree in engineering...


Edited by justinwilliams on 15 May 2007 at 9:05pm

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 Message 2 of 3
16 May 2007 at 1:39pm | IP Logged 
If you want to learn Dutch and be able to get somewhere with it in just one semester in the Netherlands, I'd recommend that you start learning it before you go there.

Not because it's a particularly hard language (on the contrary, it's arguably easier than German and maybe even Norwegian) but because you'll find it harder to use your Dutch if you have either a very strong foreign accent or have a very limited knowledge of the language. The Dutch, I've noticed, will often switch to English if they detect an accent and this might make it harder for you to practice and perfect your Dutch language skills.

Of course, you can either be very insistent about wanting to practice your Dutch...or just pretend you don't speak English (or German or French). ;)

As for the learning the language to a level needed for university study, that will definately take more than a few months. While you could learn, say, Dutch to a fairly high level and have a good solid base of passive vocabulary with a few months' worth of hard work, you'll probably be expected to write academic papers or take exams in Dutch too. Academic writing can be tricky in your own native language at times, let alone in a language you're still learning.

For degrees in engineering and IT, you might be lucky enough to find a course that is at least partially taught in English...but that might defeat the purpose.
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Speaks: Dutch*, English, German
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 Message 3 of 3
19 June 2007 at 6:57pm | IP Logged 
I studied engineering in Holland, and know as a fact that two of the technical universities (Delft and Twente) offer all their master's programmes in English. As for the other technical university - Eindhoven - I am not sure, but you could check their website.

As regards learning the language, if you really want to learn Dutch well, I agree with the previous poster that it would be advisable to start studying well before you leave to Holland. Besides the mentioned point that the Dutch have a (sometimes annoying) tendency to quickly switch to English in conversation, I believe it is a common phenomenon that when you meet new people, you will usually stick with the language you use for conservation you use for first communication, even if after some time you speak the other's language quite well.

German will be a more difficult language to learn, but studying in Germany has the merit that the above points do not apply as much.

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