Frequently Asked Questions – Dutch Summer School

For which level I should book?

LEVEL DESCRIPTIONS

Please have a look at our detailed specification of levels, before you enroll at our Summer School.

DETERMINE YOUR LEVEL NOW:

If you don’t know your level, please do the level determination test first. It will give a good advice on what level you should enroll if you would do the course now.

YOU PLAN TO STUDY BETWEEN NOW AND SUMMER:

If you plan to study intensively between now and the Summer, use the next rule of thumb:
– you can add 1 block for each 60-100 hours you spend on studying Dutch

If you plan to study with our elearning package before the Summer:
– if  you are a beginning Dutch learner (zero level or just started): if you complete our e-learning module #dutchgrammar before Summer, you will be able to enroll on the level follow up (A1). Choose that level when booking!
– if you have A1 level or you are weak A2: if you complete our e-learning module #dutchgrammar-2 (to be published in May 2016) before Summer, you will be able to enroll on the second level follow up plus (A2).

IF YOU DOUBT

Contact the course coordinator, to help you determine the right level.

SWITCHING DURING YOUR STAY:

It is good to know that it is possible to switch levels during your stay – as long as we have availability in the other groups.

Deadline for application?

There is no specific deadline for application. As long as we have availability, you can book the course. A course is available if it appears in the price calculator.

Attention: some Summer courses may reach full booking quite early (in Spring). If you can come only on a specific date or want want a specific type of accommodation, it is recommended not to wait too long to book your course.

Special remark for full packages (including housing) in Amsterdam: we have a limited number of rooms at the student residence.

Till when it is possible to book the early-bird rate?

There is no specific deadline. It is possible to book with the early bird rate, until a certain part of the available places has been booked. It depends on the bookings we receive and the remaining capacity.

Check the price calculator for the actual price.

How and when to pay?

WHEN:
You pay at reservation. If you prefer payment in installments, that is possible and doesn’t cost extra: 50% at reservation and 50% before 1st of June.

HOW:
You can pay per bank transfer, per credit card or with iDEAL.

How many students?

In 2015 we had just over 100 students, equally divided between Amsterdam and Drenthe. Based on the current reservations we expect 200-250 students in 2016. Not all students come at the same time / same length. In general, per location there will be 30-50 students simultaneously.

What’s the age of participants?

We have students of all ages:
– 35% of our participants is below 25
– 40% between 25-40
– 25% is above 40

There is not really an age difference between Amsterdam and Drenthe.

The minimum age for participation is 16 years. Under some conditions (travelling with a parent, good command of English, high motivation) we may allow a younger student to the group.

Where do the students come from?

From everywhere!

Western-Europe: 38%
Eastern-Europe: 18%
North-America: 15%
Middle & South America: 6%
Africa: 9%
Middle East: 7%
Asia: 4%
Australia & New Zealand: 3%

I am Dutch, but I don’t speak the language. Is this for me?

Yes, of course!

About 10% of our students has the Dutch nationality, but never learned to speak it. Typically children from a transnational marriage, with 1 of the parents being Dutch; who always lived outside the Netherlands.

How to get to Amsterdam?

Amsterdam Airport is one of the largest airports of Europe. It won’t be a problem to find a convenient flight. From the airport to the student residence it’s just 20 minutes by public transport.

All participants get a briefing letter in the first week of June, with clear explanations how to get to the residence and school.

If you are looking for a budget flight, please check Eindhoven airport used by airlines like Ryanair and Wizzair. There is a direct train from Eindhoven to Amsterdam (less than 1,5 hour).

How to get to Drenthe?

Some people are worried about booking Drenthe, because they think it’s difficult to get there. No reason for that!

In the first week of June we send a briefing letter with exact instructions on how to get to Drenthe. It’s just 2 hours from the Amsterdam Airport and you reach it by train (railway station Beilen) with 1 stop-over. At the arrival and departe day, we have a driver available for transfers between the railway station and the resort.

How much homework?

Count on approximately 3-4 hours of homework per day.

For a good result, it is extremely important that you review the lesson of today, before you enter the classroom tomorrow.

Are meals included?

No, meals are not included. In all our residences, there is a shared kitchen that you can use to prepare meals.

Additionally:
– In Amsterdam, there is a canteen in the student residence. There are meal plans available to be purchased at arrival (approximately 7 euro/meal).
– In Drenthe, there is a (cheap) restaurant at the resort.

Nearby grocery stores:
– Amsterdam – 5 minutes by bike
– Drenthe – 10-15 minutes by bike / 25-30 minutes walk*

* In practice: there are always some students who come by car, and often people do groceries together.

Are flight tickets included?

No, sorry. We are a language school, not a travel agency.

Do I need a visa?

Most nationalities won’t require a visa to travel to the Netherlands for a short stay (less than 3 months).

NO VISA FOR SHORT STAY:
That counts for: EU countries, US, Canada, Mexico, Brazil, Argentina, Australia, New Zealand, Japan, most non-EU European countries and more.

SHORT STAY VISA REQUIRED:
Countries that do require a visa: most Asian and African countries and former CIS countries (like Russia, Ukraine etc).

If you don’t know: please check the Dutch Migration Service.

SCHENGEN VISA
If you already have a Schengen visa, issued by another country for the same period, you don’t need to apply for a Dutch visa.

Do you provide visa support?

Only for nationalities that require a visa to travel to the Netherlands:

At an additional cost (75 euros), we can provide a visa invitation letter.

This visa invitation letter confirms:
– you reserved the course
– where you will stay during the course
– we received your payment

Please note: our letter is not the only requirement to get a visa. It is your own responsibility to check whether you comply with the other requirements of the Dutch embassy/consulate to get a visa for the Netherlands.

Good to know: if you book a lessons-only package, our visa letter won’t help you much. In that case: better try to arrange a visa invitation through your hosts.

Under certain conditions we guarantee a refund, if you are denied a visa. Ask the course coordinator.

Is there internet access?

Yes, at our residences there is free wifi access.

Cost of living?

The Netherlands is approximately equally expensive as any other Western European country. How much money you spend additionally will depend on yourself. You can make it as cheap and as expensive as you want.

In cheap grocery stores (like the German discounters Aldi and Lidl), you really don’t pay much for decent quality food. Some students are surpised to see a whole bread priced at 1 euro, bottles of soda for less than 1 euro or wine bottles for less than 3 euros. Good to know that even in the village next to our resort in Drenthe, there is a Lidl grocery store.

If you go to a bar, you will pay between 2,50 and 3,00 for a drink. The cheapest restaurants (even in Amsterdam) provide tourist meals or pizza’s for about 10 euros. But if you want quality dining, you may spend 30-40 euro on a meal in a restaurant.

Tickets for museums usually rate at 10-15 euros. Public transport: travelling within the city 1-3 euros per ride. Train tickets: 50 km approximately: 10 euros (one-way), cross the Netherlands for 25 euros (one-way).

Amsterdam hotels, but also apartments by Airbnb are extremely expensive! Our student residence is great value for money. Warning: if you book our lessons-only package with the idea to book a hotel at the last moment, you are going to spend thousands of euros extra. Please plan in advance!

Is there free time during the course?

Yes, the time next to the classes you can spend as you want. As long as you don’t forget to do your homework!

If we organise additional activities, participation is not obligatory.

Do I get a certificate?

Yes, we issue a certificate, when 80% of the lessons are attended.

What is the value of the certificate:
It will proove your participation. You can show your employer, put it on the wall or on your resume. You can use it as an indication when taking a language course elsewhere.

What it is not:
Our certificate will not exempt you from any exam of the Dutch government. Such as the ‘inburgeringsexamen’ (civic integration exam) or the ‘basis examen inburgering buitenland’ (Basic Civic Integration Examination Abroad). In the Netherlands, only the government can issue certificates that have legal value, and language schools can only help you to prepare for that.

Is it possible to prolong my stay?

In most cases not.

We aim at a full booking of the available rooms and places in the group.

Only in the case of late cancellations, we may be able to offer a place at the very last moment.

What if there is no course on my level in the period I am available?

Did you check both locations? We have 2 locations. It may be that when there is no course on one location, we serve that level on our other location.

If you want to participate, but there is no course on your level in the period you want to come. Let us know! We will put you on a list. If we see there is enough interest to open a group on specific level/date, we will contact you.

Do you have courses in other seasons?

No, at the moment not.

For the best value for money, we cluster all our life activities in 1 period (July/August): when everyone has a holiday, and when the weather is nice!

Then we are able to form groups that are large enough to guarantee a good price, and to guarantee that they always take place. Some of our resources are only available in Summer (teachers who have a regular position during the year, and accommodation that is otherwise occupied by semester students).

From September till June, we focus on creating elearning materials. A good combination for you as well: study online during the year and visit us in Summer!

Can I combine a course in Drenthe with a course in Amsterdam?

Yes, that is possible if you come for 4 weeks or more. You can book 2 or more weeks in one location and 2 or more weeks in the other location.

How? You book it as 2 separate courses on our website.

Please pay attention that you book blocks that are successive:
If you book the first 2 weeks in Amsterdam on level ‘beginner’, then book the follow up course that starts 2 weeks later in Drenthe at level ‘follow-up’.

Are there extra discounts possible?

We offer discounts in the next situations:
– to someone who purchased the premium version of #dutchgrammar already before: 25 euro discount

We offer partial refunds:
– refund 100 euros – if someone writes a blog during the stay: contact the course coordinator if you are interested
– doing a translation assignment (subtitling our elearning videos) – work/refund to be discussed

In all other situations: we do not negotiate our pricing.

Do you offer scholarships?

No, we don’t offer scholarships.

I need to do the ‘inburgeringsexamen’ (civic integration exam), can I participate?

Yes, you can. An intensive Dutch language course like ours, is a very good way to prepare.

An important note:
Our courses are focussed on acquiring Dutch language knowledge, with the goal to use it. Developing conversation skills is important. Not all students do our course with the purpose to pass an exam. Therefore, our courses are not specifically aimed at learning how to pass the exam (such as training exam questions) and covering certain additional topics (like KNS). However, that is something you can learn and practice by yourself.

Can I take a non-studying guest?

Yes, you can.

Most suitable for this purpose is Drenthe: here you can choose for a studio accommodation (for 2 people) or a rent your own living unit (4 people) if you plan to come with your family.

Our rooms in Amsterdam are single rooms. There are some double rooms, but in general the total cost of 2 single rooms, equals the cost of 1 double room.

What do you recommend to families?

We recommend to choose Drenthe, if:
– several participants of your family want to do a course and you want to live together in 1 living unit (have your own kitchen, bathroom)
– 1 participant, wants to take a few non-studying family members and live together

Our living units in Drenthe can accommodate 4 people. At the resort, there are also luxury villa’s available for larger families (a significant extra cost). If you’re interested, ask the course coordinator.

Can children participate?

The minimum age is 16 years.

However, if someone is just below that age, participation can be discussed. Under certain conditions we do allow:
– travelling with a parent (or other adult who is responsible)
– good command of English
– familiar with learning foreign languages

Important:
Our course is adult education: based on the idea that the student has an inner motivation to learn Dutch. We do not force people to attend classes, or to do the homework. We just expect that. This is not a summer camp under full supervision. We have no resources to provide extra attention to youngsters, to correct behaviour or to take responsibility for what they do outside the classroom.

If you are a parent, and thinking about sending your child(ren), feel free to contact us for advice. In the 2015 Summer, we had a few young students in Drenthe (13-16 years travelling with parents)  who very successfully integrated in the group of adults. When travelling without parents at the age of 17-18, it is important to make the right decision between the ‘big city’ and the resort.

Do you work with DUO loans?

No, sorry, we don’t work with DUO-loans.

At what time are the classes?

The final schedule will be announced only shortly before the course.

On both locations we have a shifting schedule. In general that means that you have for example 2 days in the morning class, then 2 days in the afternoon, then 2 days in the morning etc.

The exact starting time of the lessons of each group will be known after the final schedule has been made. Morning sessions 8:30 or 9:00. Afternoon sessions 13:00 or 13:30.

Please note: this is an intensive Dutch course; and we do NOT recommend to combine it with a job. Take into account that the amount of homework is 3-4 horus/day.

The classes in Amsterdam are planned from Monday-Friday.

The classes in Drenthe are planned from Tuesday-Saturday + Monday-Thursday.

What are the arrival and departure days (for the room)?

Amsterdam – arrival Saturday (check-in: after 15:00), departure Saturday (check-out before 10:00).
You can arrive any moment you want. There are no lessons scheduled on this day. It would be nice to see you during the welcome drink (not obligatory).

Drenthe – arrival Monday (check-in: after 17:00), departure Friday (check-out before 9:30).
You can arrive any moment you want. There are no lessons scheduled on this day. It would be nice to see you during the welcome drink (not obligatory).

Do you work with agents?

We prefer to work directly with students. Direct contact is important for logistics reasons and level assessment. We aim at having the best possible prices. That means a low margin: not sufficient to pay agent commissions, that are usual in the market.

I don’t know my level. Which group should I choose?

Please do this level determination test.

And read here the level descriptions.