To be alive or to live?

To be alive or to live? An English-speaking fish in the Dutch sea.

If you are an expat living in the Netherlands you have probably noticed so far that yes, Dutch people speak English. But how long do you want to stick to that? Why not trying something new? Let me tell you a story.

A story of survival

There was once a fish that was put straight in a glass full of water. The fish was as big as the glass and there was just enough water in it. While it could barely move, it lived there for so many years. The owner of the fish really loved it and changed the water regularly and fed it on time. One day the owner decided to go on a sail trip. She took the fish with her since she loved it dearly.

On the sail trip, the fish in the glass saw many other companions in the open sea. They asked their friend ‘Why don’t you join us in the sea?’ The poor fish responded ‘I am alive and safe here. Nobody can harm me.’ But the other fish in the sea encouraged her more and told her many nice stories of living in the real society of the fish. But the fish in the glass insisted on her life in the glass and never tasted true life with other friends.

To be alive or to live?

To me as an expat, learning Dutch in the Netherlands and speaking with people is like jumping in the sea. Of course, sometimes I prefer the glass of water. But you know, it is about escaping your comfort zone being limitless and going beyond.

Now, I don’t want to be cocky and preach you. I know. Learning a foreign language is easier said than done. You will feel lost, miserable and weak. However, we must also be aware of the possible positive points.

Engaging with people in their own language is rewarding. You will feel confident after a while. You will see that you make sense and people encourage you. That’s how brave you are. That’s my point about writing this post. Social life is about survival. Not like in the jungle, of course, but you tend to communicate in English because you want to be understood. Because you want to survive. However, survival in not living. TO BE ALIVE DOESN’T MEAN YOU’RE LIVING.

Why should I care?

If you are interested in improving your social status in the Netherlands, try communicating in Dutch. See how far you can go. People are supportive and you will pull yourself together after a while. Also, if you want to experience actual Dutch life and fit the society, you should start learning. You know Dutch people speak English but try speaking Dutch and see their reaction.

The solution

Try to speak as much Dutch as you can with as many people as you can. Dip your toe in the water and see how much you can do.

Moreover, take a look at our Dutch courses. There are many experienced trainers who can help you achieve your goals.

Make contact today. Let the professionals help you achieve your goals.

More about my language journey

Watch me jumping in the sea of learning Dutch. These videos are on TaalTV and you can see what I do to learn Dutch.

Article Written by Sina Afshar

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