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Ik Tengo Zesentwintig Años, Or the Pitfalls of Learning Two Languages at Once

Learning a new language is hard work. Being required to learn two languages at once is somewhat of a nightmare. Why two languages you may be asking? The first is Dutch, which makes sense, after all I do live in the Netherlands. I'm marrying a Dutchman and as of now plan on making this my permanent home. Learning Dutch will only help me feel like I fit in here, make new friends and advance my career. Plus I am required as part of my visa to pass a test by June 2015. The second language I have to learn at the moment is Spanish. For my degree, I am required to take two years of Spanish. I'm not really sure why this is, but if you don't pass Spanish you don't graduate. So, I'm stick learning both at the same time. 

Here are some of the pitfalls of learning two languages at once:

1. You mix up the languages in your head. I am 100% sure I put some Dutch on my last Spanish Exam. It didn't exactly help that the instructions were in Dutch first. 

2. You know that you should devote a ton of time to studying both languages, so you get stressed out about it and instead spend no time on any languages. I'll be the first to admit it, I don't spend anytime working on either language. I think I just get overwhelmed. Which is why starting next week I'll have a study schedule. I'm thinking Sunday, Monday, and Tuesday should be dedicated to Dutch, Wednesday, Thursday and Friday Spanish. I'm thinking an hour each day to start off with. Think this will work?

3. You never feel comfortable speaking either. There are plenty of Dutch people here in the Netherlands, there are also plenty of Spanish people. But I am not confident enough in my skills in either language to hold proper conversations. 

Have you ever tried to learn to languages at once? How did you accomplish this? Have you ever learned another language, I'd welcome those tips as well! 

 

 

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Wow, I don't envy you AT ALL. I'm learning Dutch and that's hard enough as it is, I can't imagine having to learn Spanish as well. If you ever need help with anything Spanish related let me know, I'll be happy to help you.
As far as tips go, I'm using Rosetta Stone for Dutch and it is really good! It is a bit pricey but so worth it. Also, listen to music in those languages. I listen to Dutch music (Lange Frans, Ruth Jacott, etc..) to get used to the pronunciation of things. Something that has helped me quite a bit is learning about Dutch culture, it helps me make sense of the language sometimes. I'm guessing the Spanish you're learning is from Spain (Latin American Spanish can be different than Spain Spanish... well, even in Latin America the Spanish is different depending which country you're from! lol) so learn as much as you can about Spanish culture. Uhm, that's all I can think of right now. 
By the way, I nominated you for a fun blog award! You can read about it here, http://taniabeth.wordpress.com/

Thanks for the nomination! I will be sure to check it out! I have been watching some Dutch movies. Zusje is my favorite, tv shows are much harder as I hate reality tv and that is what all the shows are here! I have started grabbing the newspaper here in the morning. I think it helps. 

Hello, it's Amanda (I emailed you yesterday), fellow expat in The Netherlands. I am actually fluent in Spanish (it's my mother tongue) so if you ever want to practice or just chat for a bit let me know.
As for learning languages, it is true that trying to learn 2 at the same time can be confusing. Sometimes I try to think of a word and it comes in French or English instead of Dutch. I think your schedule is a good idea though.
With learning Dutch I found the mini documentaries in schooltv.nl pretty useful. Sure, the language is at the beginning quite simple but they really do help. These videos are used in schools and they are arranged by school grades, the highest grade videos are longer (max 15 min) and more complicated. If you like to learn children's songs Kinderen voor Kinderen is a good place. I also like some of the Dutch rappers like Sef (De wereld in) and Dio (tijdmachine) and if you attempt to write the lyrics of the songs it's a good exercise.
I have found that reading, watching movies or TV shows and listening to music in teh language you want to learn makes it fun and helps a lot. As a teenager I read "silly" young adult series like the Sweet Valley Twins, Camp Sunnyside or Spooksville but I think they helped me better my English, I learnt slang, vocabulary... all of which proved very useful.
If you want tips of shows / movies / soap operas / literature in Spanish let me know and I can give you some tips, and like I said if you want to practice your conversational skills let me know too.

Amanda, thank you for all of your suggestions, they are really good! I would love it if you could suggest some Spanish movies and if we could get together and I could practice my terrible Spanish on you!