If you’ve decided to branch outside of English and learn a foreign language, there are a number of helpful resources available. Many students want to know the best way to learn new languages, but this can be subjective based on a number of criteria.

While gaining any new skill requires a time commitment, learning new languages is an investment.

Cost is a really important factor in selecting a language program. There are many different ways to study a language and you can spend a lot of money or none at all.

Here is a look at the benefits and the costs of some of the most popular language-learning methods so you can make the best decision based on your budget.

Software Packages

There are several computer programs and software packages that can help students and children study foreign languages. These programs include casual game-like apps for smartphones and tablets, free online courses, and fully-loaded computer programs that include dictionaries, flashcards and other traditional materials to use.

While you do have to pay for most programs, many offer a free trial so you can get a feel for what to expect before you purchase it, or you can stick with a free version of the program.

Language programs are effective for those who want to study from home at their own pace. Here’s a look at some of the most popular programs you can use to simply enhance your Dutch proficiency or prepare for an upcoming trip to city in the Netherlands such as Eindhoven.

Rosetta Stone

  • Price: The price varies depending on how long you take a subscription for. The longer you subscribe for the cheaper it gets. Costs begin at approximately $18 a month for a 3 month subscription to around $15 a month for 24 month subscription.
  • CD-Rom and downloadable versions teach you to speak, read, write, and think in your Dutch on the go via mobile devices or at home on your PC
  • Access to a language-learning community with live tutoring sessions where you can practice speaking with a live coach
  • Trial before you buy: Rosetta Stone offers a free demo so you can trial out the entire first level of the program before purchasing.

You'll have definitely heard of Rosetta Stone. It is one of the most well-known, widely used language programs with many reviews. The program uses different approaches to help you learn anything from Dutch to French, so it is useful as a supplement for students or children to develop their skills between school lessons.

Learn more on the Rosetta Stone website.

Duolingo

  • Price: 100% free. No in-app purchases, no paid premium version
  • Practicing the language feels like a game. You have to log in every day to maintain streaks, gain experience points and level up. You can even compete with friends
  • View on the web, on apps, or both
  • Lessons in reading, writing, listening and speaking

Duolingo works by gradually building up your knowledge. Students work their way through levels each week and certain words will be repeated as you go throughout the levels. Repetition is a proven way of improving in a new language and Duolingo uses it to reinforce your ability to read, write, listen and speak. As the reviews say, it's really easy to use and doesn't feel like you're speaning hours and hours learning!

Learn more here.

Babbel

  • Price: Free to start with some subscription options
  • Practice Dutch in small bitesize lessons
  • The lessons are interactive and also allow people to practice speaking. The software has voice recognition so you can make sure that you are pronouncing the words correctly.

Babbel is another one that people have probably heard of over the years. Students and children can view on the website or use their smartphone. It's similar to Duolingo in that students use flashcards and repetition, but like Rosetta Stone, Babbel gives you access to an online community that lets you connect with native speakers of the language you are trying to learn each week, such as Dutch or French. You'll be improving your grammar in no time!

Instructor-lead Learning

You might find that you need some more guidance from a Dutch tutor rather than relying on apps, computer programs, or Facebook. There are many benefits to having a tutor or teacher when studying Dutch. A tutor can use their years of knowledge and experience during the lesson to help you really understand the language. They will keep you accountable, making sure you put the work in, and will be able to give you feedback on how you're doing.

It's best to contact a native Dutch teacher for your course, so you can really hear how the language should sound! Here are some different ways in which you can improve with a teacher:

Group Lessons

Many language centres and university extension programs offer group lessons. As you view these, you'll see the price varies depending on the reputation of the school, as well as the size of the classes themselves. A community class might have cheaper options, while a well-known university extension program will be a bit pricier.

Besides the difference in price for these lessons, you must take your learning style into account. If you work better in a smaller environment, it might be worth the extra cost for the course. You may also be able to get a better feel for the program if you contact a representative, read reviews, or look through a course syllabus prior to signing up for private tutoring.

Group lessons offer poeple the benefit of face-to-face accessibility with a native speaker. If you have questions or are confused about a topic, you can ask your teacher for help. Keep in mind, however, that teaching styles vary, and some school students respond better than others to certain teaching methods. Be sure to read the teacher's reviews online.

When it comes to classes with a native speaker, remember that individuals process information at different speeds. If you fall behind in the lesson one week, you’ll still be expected to continue on at a certain pace. On the other hand, if you are a quick learner or have prior experience with Dutch, you may be bored with repetitive lessons each week.

learning a language in a group is more fun
Practicing grammar and how to speak or write Dutch in a private lesson each week has many benefits (Source: Pexels)

Online Classes

There are many schools and academic programs that allow you to improve your Dutch online. There are some free classes available to view online, as well as language courses for University credit.

Some courses use microphones, audio, and webcams with an instructor to help you practice comprehension and conversation skills. If getting to class is an issue, online teaching sessions may be a better option to fit around your schedule.

Similar to live lessons, online courses move at a certain pace. If you’re confused by grammar or vocabulary elements when stepping outside of English, you may struggle as the class continues to advance. Depending on the course format, you may be able to schedule an extra private lesson with the instructor, or start one-on-one tutoring outside of class each week at an additional cost.

Immersive Language Learning

Unlike traditional courses, traveling to another city like Eindhoven or Amsterdam to learn how to speak a foreign language other than English can be very expensive and there are many costs to take into account. Consider the basic travel expenses for the Netherlands, and transportation for the duration of your stay. The price of housing will also vary depending on the city (Eindhoven versus Amsterdam).

Of course, there’s the additional cost of lessons in Eindhoven and Amsterdam, whether in a group setting or one-on-one tutoring. These fees do not cover food, travel insurance, shopping/spending money etc.

Since intensive Dutch lessons generally run for a few weeks to several months, these programs in Eindhoven and Amsterdam also require a time commitment. Despite the time and money, however, immersion in the Netherlands forces you to practice your Dutch skills daily in real-life situations, which makes it one of the best ways to improve your skills in a foreign language as you will be forced to use Dutch daily in real-life situations.

Traveling to Eindhoven or Amsterdam in the Netherlands is an unforgettable opportunity, and immersion is one of the most powerful ways to gain proficiency and in-depth of vocabulary. If you have the time and money to book in a study abroad or immersion program, definitely do your research and determine if Eindhoven or Amsterdam is a feasible option.

How can you improve your Dutch language skills?
Book in a trip to Eindhoven or Amsterdam in the Netherlands to immerse yourself and enhance your ability to speak Dutch (Source: Pexels)

Private Tutoring

Online or in-person Dutch lessons with a private tutor offer the advantage of face-to-face instruction. Depending on your goals and learning style, your teacher will be able to adapt lessons to suit you.

When you book a private lesson, you will see prices vary based on how many hours are in the lesson and the teacher’s rate; there may also be bulk lesson packages available.

While private Dutch lessons do require a certain level of contact hours and commitment, you can find an instructor that fits your price range and your schedule. If you book a private language tutor, you will have real-time feedback, and can adjust the teaching pace of the lessons to accommodate you.

Even if there are not be many teachers in your area, when you contact tutors ask if they would be able to offer online lessons using platforms like Skype or Facebook.

Some foreign language other than English take years and years of practice. However if you want to speak Dutch, there are a number of teaching methods to choose from and several things to consider. Consider a trip to Eindhoven or start with a combination of learning tools, like a private lesson, course or a software programs for example.

Need a Dutch teacher?

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Daniel

A student by trade, Daniel spends most of his time working on that essay that's due in a couple of days' time. When he's not working, he can be found working on his salsa steps, or in bed.