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Inburgeringscursus

Work, School, and Inburgering Updates

May is shaping up to be my busiest month since moving abroad! I have a lot going on, which is sort of a relief from the nothing I have been doing with a lot of my time since coming to The Netherlands. I like to think of this month as my preparation month, as that pretty much is what it is shaping up to be. There are some big things to prepare before September comes and my days will be anything but my own. This is what is going on right now in three major areas of my life. 

Work- After not having so much as an interview for months, I had three in the past week. All of them went well, but a few just would not work out for me in the long term. I am happy to say that I seemed to have found the perfect part time job working with kids one day a week, starting at the end of this month. That being said, if anyone in the Utrecht or Amsterdam Area knows of anyone who needs a babysitter or tutor, please pass along my name. 

School- I plan on writing a post next Tuesday about the application process to go to school in your new country. I have the last little bit to do before I am officially enrolled in a HBO program come September. On Monday, I have to take a test that seems to be a little bit like the SAT and have an interview before I am officially accepted into my program. I'm not too worried about it, but there is a math portion and I haven't thought about SAT math in about 7 years! Wish me luck!

Inburgering- I go in on the 22nd to find out how I did on the placement tests, and when I will start my classes! I am really excited about this, even though I have heard and read all the horror stories! I am just ready to get serious about learning Nederlands. 

As you can see, there is a lot going on this month! But it is nothing compared to how busy I will be come September, when I'll be trying to balance a full class schedule, inburgering, a job, spending time with The Verlo- and friends! It will be stressful, but I know I can do it, because I have to! 

What is going on in your life? And if anyone has any balancing act tips, they are more than welcome! 

Image: dan / FreeDigitalPhotos.net

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Inburgering! I Got My Letter

For those of you who are non-expats, allow me to take a minute to first explain what Inburgering means here in The Netherlands. For those of you in The Netherlands, feel free to skip this paragraph! Basically, when you move to The Netherlands and are a non-EU citizen, you are required to take an exam. This exam is about both the Dutch language and living in society here. There are a lot of different tracks you can take, you can also opt to do a portfolio in place, or in addition to the exam. To prepare you for this, the Gemeente (think Province) will provide classes for you. According to the Utrecht Gemeente website, this can be anywhere from 2 to 4 times a week. According to most expat blogs I've read, the trend seems to be 3 lessons a week, 3 hours each time, for a year. You are required to go to at least 80% of these classes or you have to pay all the money back. I'll probably have more information on this after Monday.

Most people are called for their initial interview after living here a lot longer than I have. I actually volunteered to start early. (I'll hold a second for your gasps). While most expats I know try to avoid this like the plague, I wanted to go ahead and start as soon as possible for a multitude of reasons. First, it is really time intensive and I would rather do it now when I have the time to devote to studying. Secondly, I am in the process of applying for Universities here, so I want to get more of a part time job to work during the next four years that I am hopefully in school. Part-time positions are more likely to require a working knowledge of Nederlands. In addition, rumors are that in a few years inburgering will still be required but not necessarily financed, do it while it is free is my attitude. Finally, the cultural part is probably a lot more useful if you are brand new than if you have been in the country awhile. A lot of people complain about this part because you should know it after you have lived here for a bit. I tend to not pay attention in class to stuff I already know, so this is another safe guard I have for myself. 

When you read up about the process, almost everyone unanimously agrees that working with the Gemeente is one of the hard parts. There are a ton of stories of people being switched between different workers or not being contacted. I can already attest to this. I filled out the form to volunteer on March 1st, when I received an automatic email response telling me I would be emailed my initial appointment time in a max of two days. A week later and no such email, I called to see what was going on. After explaining my inquiry to three different people, I was told my information would be passed on to a colleague and hung up on. Last Friday, I called again and was informed that the office is closed on Fridays. Lovely! So, you can imagine my surprise when I got a letter in the mail yesterday telling me that my appointment is next Monday. Less than a week's notice! After my talk, I am required to take a placement test. I'm guessing I am still at the beginning level. Wish me luck! 

*Also, I would like to apologize in advance for the numerous amount of Inburgering posts that will probably take over my blog since the Inburgeringscursus is about to take over my life! 

Flickr photo by: COCOEN daily photos

 

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