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No Time to Study? Here's 3 Tips

Moving to a new city, especially one as gezellig as Amsterdam, can be both exciting and overwhelming. Juggling work, social life, family life, dating, working out, relaxing, having a hobby AND studying Dutch can often feel like an impossible task. A common frustration we hear from our students is the lack of time to dedicate to their studies. But fear not! We've compiled some practical tips to help you manage your time effectively and achieve your learning goals.

1. Create a Study Schedule

A structured schedule can make a world of difference. Allocate specific times for studying each week and stick to them. Treat these study sessions as non-negotiable appointments. Whether it's early morning before work or late in the evening, find a time that works best for you. Let's say, every Tuesday, you ask a question in Dutch (At the supermarket: "Waar staat het suiker?" In the bar: "Mag ik twee kopstootjes?" To your colleague: "Wil je nog een kopje koffie?"). And every Thursday night after work = Dutch study time for 1,5 hours. Studying can be: doing homework from your class or tutor, reviewing words you heard at work and creating (online) flash cards, reading a Dutch blog or magazine on a topic you enjoy, watching a Dutch series of film you enjoy or even listening to a Dutch music album.

2. Set Realistic Goals

Setting achievable goals is key. Break down your study material into smaller, manageable chunks and set a deadline for each. This doesn't have to be "have a conversation in Dutch with my in-laws by Christmas '24" but rather "take a look at my flash cards every time I'm waiting for the pont", "learn and use 5 new words every week", or "use new grammatical construction [X] 3 times in written communication and twice in spoken during work hours". This makes studying less daunting and allows you to track your progress. Realize that learning a new language takes time and everyone's progress goes in a different way. Learn in your own way, at your own pace, and try to DO things you can actually do!

3. Incorporate Learning into Your Daily Routine

Finding extra time in your day can be challenging, but there are (fun!) ways to incorporate learning into your existing routine. Wake up with to a Dutch wekkerradio, and set your radio alarm clock to a Dutch broadcaster - Make a list of irregular verbs, hang it in your toilet and review them every time you're there - Stick post-its of the Dutch word to every object in your house... and by the time you leave house, you've already reviewed and heard lots of Dutch words!

More challenging and still not boring ways to incorporate learning into your day would be: listening to (educational) Dutch podcasts or audiobooks while commuting, review flashcards during lunch breaks, or practice speaking with friends for 5 minutes every half hour during social gatherings.

Veel leerplezier

Balancing work, social life, and studies as an expat learning Dutch in Amsterdam isn't easy , but with the right strategies, it's entirely possible. By creating a dedicated study schedule, setting realistic goals and incorporating learning into your daily routine, you'll find yourself making significant progress in no time. And don't forget to get enough sleep, take breaks when needed and treat yourself every now and then. Veel leerplezier!

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