Study Abroad Student Handbook
Netherlands Netherlands
Center for Global Education

Why Learn a Language?

The Netherlands has two official languages. Dutch is the most widely spoken throughout the country, but many Americans traveling to the Netherlands comment that it is easy to get around by speaking English in the country. English is widely understood by most Dutch under 65 and classes are available in English. However, learning Dutch will enhance your experience in the Netherlands. You will get to know your Dutch classmates better by communicating with them in Dutch. Dutch is also one of the official languages in Belgium, so if you decide to travel to Brussels, you will have no trouble communicating with people.

Dutch is also the official language in some of the world’s favorite vacation destinations like the Caribbean, Aruba, and Netherlands Antilles which includes the islands of Curaçao, Bonaire, St. Maarten, Saba and St. Eustatius. It is also the official language of the South American country, Suriname.

Frisian is the other official language, and it is spoken in the province of Friesland in the Netherlands by roughly 400,000 people. It is only spoken in the Netherlands. It is described as being a cross between English and Dutch and has many similarities to English.

If you take the opportunity to learn Dutch, you will find that your Dutch classmates will be excited that you are taking the initiative to learn their language. You will also find that other Dutch people you meet will be very happy to see that you are making an effort to speak their language. You may find that you warm up to the culture faster and visa versa. Learning Dutch would be the best way to experience a true cultural immersion in the Netherlands.

Read on – Why Study Abroad and find answers how study abroad can affect your personal growth and career path.

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