Frequently Asked Questions – Dutch Summer School

Choosing Amsterdam or Drenthe?

Choosing Amsterdam or Drenthe?

We run our program on 2 locations. The content of the course is absolutely the same (books, methods) but the atmosphere is totally different. So the question, which one should you choose?

Group atmosphere

In Drenthe there is a strong group atmosphere. There are extra social activities in the evening and students spend time together outside the classes. 95% of the people who book a course in Drenthe, stay at the student residence. Despite the different individual backgrounds (nationalities, ages, religions), in Drenthe we usually are able to create 1 large community.

In Amsterdam you wont find this kind. The majority of the students see each other only in class. That has a few reasons: only half of the students books a room in our residence (others already live in Amsterdam or other nearby cities). But also, the people who book the course with accommodation, have each their individual reasons to go to Amsterdam. One wants to visit all the museums, while someone else wants to party. So there is no 1 large group, but there might be smaller groups of students with a similar mindset who do things together.

Sightseeing

Is this the first time for you in the Netherlands? You want to see a lot? Not only Amsterdam but all the main cities? Then Amsterdam is the place to be. With public transport you reach very fast cities like Rotterdam, Utreach and The Hague. And you can spend your free afternoon with sightseeing. If you dont want this… dont choose Drenthe (which is simply located to far from these cities).

Classroom facilities

Our Amsterdam classrooms are spaceous conference rooms in a modern A-class office building.

Our Drenthe classrooms are in a house style setting (kitchen/living room of the communal part of the building)… gezellig!

Budget

Amsterdam is an expensive city. We offer a single room with private bathroom (+ shared kitchen + free use of a bike) for an absolutely super price. You really wont find anything cheaper in Amsterdam!

But despite, this deal… Drenthe is still cheaper… and depending on what type of room your prefer (single or shared) it can make quite a difference on the total price.

So, if you are on a budget, then consider Drenthe.

Length

One session in Amsterdam has one extra day of class (a review day) – so 10 days in total, +/- half an hour extra per day, and the accommodation is included for the full 14 days…

whereas in Drenthe (where we aim to have the best possible price), so the tuition hours and session duration is a bit less… (11 nights)

Nature vs city

In Drenthe you are surrounded by nature (fields, forest, lakes). Some people really become very relaxed… which helps much when learning a language.

But Amsterdam has parks… and some people like to do their homework at Starbucks.

Leaving your daily life behind.

Some people live in Amsterdam and therefore book a course in Amsterdam.
Some people live in Amsterdam and therefore book a course in Drenthe.

The advantage of leaving your home and going somewhere else to study: you leave your daily life behind which allows you to focus 100%.

RESUMING

Our school in Amsterdam is more like a normal language school. You go to class, you do your homework… and if youre open for it, you will find some friends with whom you can do things together outside the classes. We only have a few social activities (which are attended usually by 25-30% of the students).

Drenthe is much more of an experience… the real feeling of being at a camp… a language learning camp for adults. We have more social activities (which are usually attented by 85-95% of the students).

We have many students who visit us more than once. We have also students who studied on both locations. Most of them prefer Drenthe.

When should you NOT book this course?

When should you NOT book our course?

We dont have the goal of selling as much courses as possible. We really want to have the right mix of students, people who are motivated and like our concept. Only that way, we can create together the unique atmosphere of living and studying together, and go for the best learning results.

For this reason, we advise when you should NOT book our courses.

Dont book our courses if you dont master English

We use English as the instruction language on the lower levels -> from level 1 to 3 (0 to A2+). Many studies have proven that using an instruction language to explain things is more efficient than full immersion (where the teacher only speaks in Dutch). That doesnt mean that the teacher only speaks in English, but during instruction she/he will. We strongly believe in this approach. Only on the higher levels 4, 5, R (A2/B1/B2) the teacher speaks only in Dutch.

Secondly, English is the organisations language (letters, announcements will be made in English, because we always have beginner groups and we want everybody to understand everything).

Dont just send someone to our course…

Important remark for employers, parents, spouses and other sponsors…

Most of our students book and pay for this course themselves. The student has found us on the internet… perhaps is using our online materials (learndutch.org) and then decides to do an investment. This is the best possible motivation.

If you are an employer who wants to send an employee, or you are a parent and want to send your child… then please be sure that your employee or child have 100% motivation to learn the language and to do that in our way.

Our whole method is created based on the inner motivation of the student to learn Dutch. This is not a strict system, where students are punished when not doing the homework, or where they need to pass an exam in the end. Our students should have the true desire to learn this language (not because someone else wants this and pays for the course!).

We consider this one of our strongest points. Both students and teachers who had classes at other language schools, confirm that the overall level of motivation of the students is exceptionally high at our program, which boosts the group result.

This is camp for adults, not for children!

We are frequently contacted by parents who want to send their children. Please note: this is a camp for adults, not for children!

There is no supervision. Those who are under 18 and want to participate, are expected to behave like adults… that means: that one should be able to travel independently, and as our accommodation is based on self catering, one should be able to prepare his/her own meals. Apart from that – our way of teaching is not like a childrens school system. As explained above, it is based on the inner motivation to learn the language: doing homework because you want to learn the language, not because the teacher tells you to do.

Dont book this course if you dont like homework

Our students visit us to learn the language. Our students want results. A very important factor to get results is self study. Count on 3-4 hours per day.

We work with the flipped-classroom principle. That means that each student prepares for the next lesson with our online materials. This means, that in class we can focus on applying the acquired knowledge. That makes the lessons more efficient and interactive. It has no sense to come to class without having done the homework.

Dont book this course if you plan to work at the same time

It is not recommended to work part-time during this course.

Our course is intensive and it requires your full attention. Count on 3-4 hours of homework additional to the hours in class. In the free hours… some rest is also important.

Of course, if its just answering mails for 30 minutes/day then it is not a problem.

The majority of our students are higher educated

We dont have a strict requirement that everybody should have higher education. But people, who spend their holidays learning a language, are usually higher educated. Our students are doctors, programmers, managers, entrepreneurs etc. Our courses have a challenging pace and are designed for higher educated people in the first place.

That doesnt mean that you cant participate at our courses if you didnt finish university… If you are lower educated, or you are extremely slow in learning languages… count on spending more time on your homework and a decent preparation prior to the course (with the help of our e-learning package) will definitely help.

If you come for 2 sessions or more, you might think re-doing a session if the pace is too high, before going to the next level.

You cant book this course with a DUO-loan.

The Dutch governments provides loans to learn Dutch  (for example to refugees). Our organisation does not have an accreditation by DUO, that means that you can’t use the loan to do our courses. There are so many language schools operating on this specific market already. However, we like to do our own thing… We want to focus on higher educated people who want to learn the language during their holiday, and we like a mix of all nationalities. Besides, we dont have the capacity to deal with related bureaucratic procedures, as we prefer to spend all our time on creating new and interesting learning materials. Everybody is welcome to our courses – only the DUO loan cant be used.

Psychological strength…

Our courses are very intensive. You meet a lot of new people. During 2 weeks or more you intensively study together, live together and spend time together outside the classes. That may require a lot of energy, also psychologically. We sometimes see that for some people it can be a little overwhelming. And for some people it can be even too much… What one person experiences as a very relaxing language holiday, can cause stress to someone else… It is very difficult for us to tell when you should and should not book a course, but think twice if you have suffered from depressions or psychological disorders…

TIP: be fresh at the start of the course, if possible avoid a jetlag at the start of the course… if you travel from far, consider arriving a bit earlier… and dont plan that busy work week right before the course (if you can). And the better you are prepared with our online materials… the smoother your start will be. That will give you a good feeling at the beginning of your course.

RESUMING

You dont find a reason above NOT to book our course? Well, then probably this course is made for you!

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?

It is possible to book with the early bird rate, until the 31st of March.

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 2018 we expect 350 students.

In 2015 we had just over 100 students, in 2016 we had 275 students and in 2017: 325 students.

What’s the age of participants?

We have students of all ages:
– 39% of our participants is below 25
– 38% between 25-40
– 23% is above 40

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

The minimum age for participation is 18 years. We are willing to accept students above 16, in case the parents write a special letter declaring that the student behaves like an adult, is independent, able to travel and cook by him/herself.

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?

At an additional cost (75 euros), we can provide a visa invitation letter to the following nationalities:
– Russia
– China
– India
– Indonesia
– Ukraine
– Kazachstan
– Belarus
– Georgia
– Armenia

Condition: you need to book a course WITH accommodation. The course/accommodation needs to be fully paid in advance.

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.

What if you don’t get a visa? If you applied and paid before 31st of March and your visa is denied you get a full refund of course and accommodation. If you applied/paid after 31st of March, the normal cancellation policy applies (it is your own risk to check whether you correspond to the requirements).

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?

We run a Summer School  (in July/August) and a Winter School (in January).

Outside these 3 months we do NOT offer classes.

By concentrating our courses to a certain part of the year, we are able to offer groups on many levels at an attractive price (and with the guarantee that the course always  takes place).

Secondly, that leaves us with 9 months per  year that we have available for creating our own materials (which we consider our main asset)

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 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 start at 9:00. Afternoon sessions at 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 hours/day.

The classes in Amsterdam are planned from Monday-Friday.

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

Drenthe: is it possible to stay at the campsite next to the school?

Yes, it is possible to stay at the campsite right next to the school (within 100m distance). In that case you book a lessons-only package, and you book the campsite directly at ‘vakantiepark het Timmerholt’.

However… we do not recommend it.

The main reason is that there is no internet connection at the campsite and you need it for doing the homework. Although:  during the evening hours we have 1 classroom available to study (and use internet). But if you are dependent on that, you will miss other activities and social moments in the evening.

In 2017 we had 2 students who booked the campsite. There were 4 students (out of 169 in total) who did not finish their course in this Summer in Drenthe, including both students who stayed at the campsite. For them, this was clearly not the same experience as the other students.

Not having the facilities for studying for a longer time, lack of proper internet connection, maybe some social isolation from the other students (who live together) makes that we ask you to think it over if this is what you want. Take into account that 2 weeks is quite a long time to stay in a tent or camper and that the weather in the Netherlands is not always nice (and for a tent not always possible because of rain and wind). Also – make sure that you are able to prepare your meals (we can’t provide you with cooking facilities) and going each day to the park’s restaurant/snackbar is probably not optimal.

Of course, if you really love camping and you have a proper 4G connection with lots of data… then yes, you’re absolutely welcome!

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 on Saturday evening (not obligatory). Please note: the first session (first 2 weeks of July) usually has an other arrival day, please check the program.

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.