Maastricht, 21 September 2017

We are looking for language buddies!

Would you like to be a language buddy for one of our students? We have lots of new students who are required to take a civic integration exam, and who are keen to do so. Most of them are Syrian refugees. We work at a fast pace, so they need a language buddy they can practise with. See below for details.

Would you like to be a language buddy for one of our students? We have lots of new students who are required to take a civic integration exam, and who are keen to do so. Most of them are Syrian refugees. We work at a fast pace, so they need a language buddy they can practise with. See below for details.

When?

As a language buddy, you will arrange your own times with the student. Our students have three 2-hour lessons a week and some of them have a job/do voluntary work. So they have plenty of time to meet you for an hour a week (of course, you can meet for more than one hour a week if you want to).

Where?

You will agree the location between yourselves. To start with, you should ideally meet in a neutral place, e.g. the public library, a room on campus or a quiet café. If you want to, you can arrange to meet at each other’s houses after that.

Using the time

It’s up to you how you use the time. The best way to learn Dutch is by speaking it. Of course, you’ll start by getting to know each other, but don’t ask about personal issues, especially not to start with. Talking about family, the situation in Syria and religion can be painful for these students, so please don’t ask about their experiences as a refugee. Once you get to know each other better and you trust each other, these things will come out naturally in the conversation.

 

Topics

You should talk about topics that the student is working on. Of course you can discuss more topics with advanced students. We look at general topics such as the city, hobbies, sport, cooking, clothes, health etc. Correct mispronounced words or grammatically incorrect sentences (word order) from time to time, providing a different word that is better suited in the context, but don’t correct everything because that would not be good for communication. Don’t use books on spelling and/or grammar rules. You can help the student with their written homework but speaking is best!

Hopefully, you now have a better idea of what being a language buddy involves. And perhaps, as a result, you’d like to share your knowledge of and proficiency in the Dutch language with someone who is looking to settle in the Netherlands? If so, please send us an email with the following details: do you want to work with a beginner or a (slightly) more advanced student, with a man or a woman, with a young person or someone a little older? We’d also like to know where you live. Not all refugees live in Maastricht and we want to avoid extra travelling wherever we can. If, for example, you live in Heerlen and you want to work with a refugee there, we would prefer that.

For more information: stan.lommelen[at]maastrichtuniversity[dot]nl