Sometimes the best thing you can do to learn a language is fully and intensely immerse yourself in it. But does immersion actually work? What’s the best way to do it? And is it really possible to be speaking Dutch in just one week?
Dutch language teacher, Albert Both, uses the “Brainwash technique” to get his students speaking Dutch in just seven days — but put those tinfoil hats away, there’s no actual brainwashing, 5G, or computer chips involved, just the tools you need to learn Dutch fast. 😉
An intensive Dutch language course in Amsterdam
Learning Dutch can be a challenge in the Netherlands, not just because of the language itself (although it certainly has its moments) but also because it’s just so easy to rely on English. As a result, many Dutch learners find themselves struggling to fully submerge themselves in Nederlands.
Have you ever felt the need to get down on your knees and beg your well-intentioned barista to not switch to English for you? We feel you. That’s why Albert’s workshop fully surrounds its students with Dutch. The Dutch Brainwash offers an intensive, seven-day Dutch language course in the hustle and bustle of Amsterdam.
Coronavirus update: Dutch Brainwash usually consists of eight participants but for safety reasons during coronavirus, this number has been brought down to five.
Is it possible to learn Dutch in seven days?
Let’s answer the all important question first. Is it to learn Dutch in seven days? We posed this question to Albert who keeps it real from the get-go.
“Yes and no. Of course, you can’t learn everything about a language within seven days. However, just like with any other skill, you can learn a tremendous amount!” For Albert, the key to this this is instilling a sense of excitement and confidence in his students.
“I want you to discover for yourself how much Dutch has in common with English and all the other languages that you already speak,” Albert explains. “Dutch has a consistent system that has clear logic and is quite funny!”
Albert offers us a fun example: “Read the following words in English: take – trip – tower – demonstration – nation.
Did you notice that ‘t’ sounds different in words that end with ‘ation’? In Dutch a similar thing happens. You pronounce the ‘t’ in words that end with ‘tie’ more like ‘ts.’ For example, the ‘t’ in ‘natie’ sounds like ‘ts’ or ‘tz’ in tzatziki (Greek dish.)”
Over the seven days of the course, Albert equips his students with the tools they need to continue to learn Dutch — namely the right mindset and the right learning method.
The right teacher
But of course, all of this starts with the right teacher. So who is Albert? Allow us to introduce the man of the hour. Albert Both, a.k.a, Mr Dutch Brainwash, is the founder of Dutch language school Talencoach. While teaching at the school, Albert used his experience to craft his own intensive Dutch language course — Dutch Brainwash.
Albert decided this aspect was just as important as grammar and vocab and could make the challenge of learning Dutch easier for his students. “Ideally a great teacher inspires you and also meets you at the place where you are,” he tells us.
In order to prepare for the feat of developing his very own language course, Albert took courses in coaching, NLP (neuro-linguistic programming), hypnotherapy and read up on accelerated learning. He found that one key element to an intensive Dutch language course is the right mindset.
The right mindset
“What is most important is that many students get really excited about Dutch and they genuinely want to know much more,” Albert tells us. “The right mindset is very important. How you think about Dutch and yourself makes all the difference.”
He also doesn’t shy away from keeping things light with his students. For example, one prerequisite for the course is that you are “interested in learning Dutch humour” — a topic that I’m sure many of us would be happy to have a bit more insight into (are Sinterklaas poems actually that funny? Just asking.)
Albert also adds an element of self-reflection to his teaching method, encouraging his students to rethink the way they think about learning Dutch. “Once you understand what really stands in the way, then you can get rid of it. All you need is a certain way of thinking, a clear understanding of the Dutch structure, and awareness of other things that play a role, such as your own beliefs about yourself and learning,” he says.
The right method
The magic is found in Albert’s teaching method. So what does Brainwash refer to? Let’s clarify that no, you will not find yourself sitting in a room with a ticking pocket watch dangling in front of your face — it’s actually much more methodical than that.
“In the Dutch Brainwash we focus on two things. One is a logical system. We develop a system of understanding Dutch,” Albert explains. “You’ll learn to work almost like a computer programmer. You learn how to understand and apply a certain code.”
Albert asks that his students reflect on their own skills and realise how many could be applied to learning Dutch. Take English speakers: according to Albert, English speakers start with 50% in their pockets before the first lesson. “The trick is that you start with everything that is logical for you and everything that makes sense. Then step-by-step you can take it to whole new levels fast.”
“At the same time, creativity and intuition are extremely important,” Albert points out. Once you combine logical thinking with creativity, intuition, fun and humour, and out-of-the-box thinking, you’ll reach a highly enhanced form of learning.”
Continue to learn with Brainwash
Learning doesn’t stop after seven days, of course. Students can continue to make use of the free learning tools from the Brainwash technique. In fact, even if you are not a student of Dutch Brainwash, there are some free tools that you can make use of!
On top of this, Albert wanted to create a space in which his previous students could continue to interact and practice their Dutch. Every month there is a free conversational Zoom Call and students can join in for as many months as they want! Past students are also added to a Facebook group where they can continue to interact and practice their Dutch.
Want to be Brainwashed into speaking Dutch?
Before you embark in your Brainwash journey there are a few things you need to consider, namely — are you really ready for an intensive Dutch language course? While you may have the spirit, there are some practical things you need to consider.
- How is your English? Dutch Brainwash is taught (partially of course) through English so this is a language requirement!
- How long have you lived in the Netherlands? It is preferred that you have lived at least four months in the land of clogs, cheese and windmills — namely so that you know a little bit more about the Dutch and their language than just a handful of stereotypes. 😉
- Speaking of the language, how familiar are you with it? It’s not required that you have previously taken another course but it does help if it looks and sounds familiar to you. And lastly, you should love to talk about many different topics in Dutch, you like to experiment, and you are willing to make mistakes!
- Almost there… one extra requirement: you love to talk about many different topics in Dutch, you like to experiment and you are willing to make mistakes
Sign up for Dutch Brainwash!
Ready to dive in for seven days of Nederlands? Fabulous! Here’s what you need to know.
Lessons are everyday, starting at 10 AM and lasting until 16:45 PM. The current available starting dates are:
- June 26
- July 5
- September 18.
A seven day Dutch Brainwash course costs €1,495.
Would you try the Brainwash technique? Tell us in the comments below!
Feature Image: Sanu A S/Pixabay