It’s not always easy moving to a foreign country for work. Therefore, at Link2Europe, we try and help you as much as possible by providing you with housing and transportation to your place of employment. But we can also help you to find the right education to make sure that the language doesn’t form a barrier between you and your new colleagues. Whether you want to brush up on your English or master that strange language Dutch, in Belgium there are plenty of opportunities to learn! And, good to know, you do not always have to pay (a lot) for this yourself.
Let’s list the 4 reasons why language shouldn’t be a barrier when working in a foreign country:
Reason 1: You’re never too old to learn
In Flanders, there are several schools where non-native speakers can take Dutch language courses:
- One of them is Atlas in Antwerp: https://www.atlas-antwerpen.be/en/dutch. Together with an Atlas staff member, you look at what language level you have (maybe you already know a little bit of Dutch), and when to follow which course.
- Syntra training centres also have courses where you can learn Dutch, specifically to be used in professional environments: https://www.syntra-ab.be/opleidingen/professioneel-nederlands-voor-anderstaligen
- The Centrum voor Avondonderwijs (CVO) www.centrumvooravondonderwijs.be offers courses that teach you the basics in Dutch in 3 to 6 months. ‘Avondonderwijs’ means evening school, so the courses are perfectly compatible with a full-time job. After graduation, you can always opt for additional modules.
Reason 2: Where and whenever it suits you
Are you unable to attend classes at fixed times or are evening courses not possible due to working in shifts? No problem, there are also apps that allow you to learn Dutch at your own pace. Because every app is different, below you will find an overview of the most well-known language apps. Pick and choose the one that suits you best.
- Duolingo is one of the most well-known applications: https://en.duolingo.com. You start with a few basic words and as your language improves, you start with the grammar. Through this app, you can create a group in which you motivate and challenge each other on a weekly basis to win a title.
- Memrise is a playful app in which you can learn different languages by playing a game: https://www.memrise.com/. As the game progresses, your language advances and you can outsmart the enemy.
- Simya has a whole range of apps. Do you mainly want to learn to speak? Or do you mainly want to be able to write correctly? You choose what suits you best: https://simyasolutions.com/apps-overview/#LearnLanguages
- Busuu is an app where you are taught by experts and can join a community of native speakers: https://www.busuu.com/
- With Babbel, you can choose what topic you want to talk about and thus learn a very specific vocabulary. Handy to start with the words you need in your business: https://www.babbel.com/
- Tandem: an app where you find conversation partners to help you learn the language: https://www.tandem.net/
- Drops is part of the Kahoot company and is based on 5 minutes of learning per day. The app uses playful elements that make learning a new language easier: https://languagedrops.com/
- Google Translate: this app allows you to easily translate texts from one language to another. Be careful, though, because Google Translate cannot always interpret which meaning of a word you want to use: https://translate.google.com/intl/eng/about/
Reason 3: Costs & available grants
But what does it cost to take a Dutch language course? With the apps, there is usually an option to start with a free version and then possibly purchase a paying component afterward. Know that with most apps, the free options can already get you very far!
When you actually take lessons, physically or online, there are different rates depending on the different schools. Some are free, others are not. Before you call your preferred organization to get an update on the cost, it is best to contact your employer’s human resources department first. A lot of companies have established partnerships with certain training centres and therefore they can offer you very high discounts or package deals.
In many cases, you are also entitled to career cheques, which allow you to receive a grant for a paid training course. It is best to ask the specific training centre whether you are eligible for career cheques for a particular training course. They can also help you on your way to applying for the cheques and grants.
In Belgium, employees working in the private sector who want to partake in a recognized training course are entitled to leave with pay. Be sure to check with your employer whether you qualify for this.
Reason 4: The Link2Europe communities
Link2Europe has many online communities where people help each other with the most diverse questions. Working for us immediately lets you get in touch with other foreigners so you can quickly make Belgium your second home. Don’t forget, many of the employees working for Link2Europe are foreign themselves. So they know exactly the road you are traveling because they travelled it themselves.
What are you waiting for? Apply today for your ideal job!