Thursday, March 18, 2010

Inburgering

Inburgering translates to integration in English.

When you move to The Netherlands (unless you are EU) you are required to integrate yourself into the country by learning the language and how things work. I don't think it is an entirely unreasonable requirement, but it has it's own set of problems (which I won't go into here).

When you move to The Netherlands, you are required to go through some sort of inburgering. Some municipalities will pay for it and help you arrange your courses, while others will just pat you on the head and say "good luck." Unfortunately I fell into the second group of lucky immigrants. If we'd had a little more guidance I probably would've chosen to do things a little bit differently, but as the Dutch say- helaas (alas in English). You can also opt to self study, but I'm not convinced learning a language via self study is always productive.

Luckily (or unluckily depending on how you look at it), you can apply for a student loan to help with the costs. If you are self paying (or using the loan) then you are entitled to a 70% reimbursment of your course fees (up to a certain amount) as long as you go to an "approved" school. I had the choice of two different language schools to choose from. We ended up going with the more expensive one because they actually returned our phonecalls and requests for information. The only information we could pull out of the other school was the fact that I would "need to have some classes and need to do some tests." Well, okay... WHAT classes? WHAT tests? You would've thought we were asking them for state secrets or the location of buried treasure the way they held onto information!

Anyhow...

The school I went to split things into two. First you would do an intensive Dutch course two times a week for about 16 weeks. After that you would be thrown into the pits of hell start the actual "Knowledge of Dutch Society" part. The language course was absolutely wonderful and I actually feel like I learned a lot. The second part I still see as seven months of my life that I will never get back. My tormentor instructor had a grating personality that I (and apparently everyone else in my class) didn't get along with. That paired with a textbook that I thought came across as somewhat condescending in places made it really difficult for me to get through. I'll admit that part of it was attitude, but I did go into it kindof excited. As the weeks wore on my attitude got worse, but I did make an effort to begin with! If I'd known how awful it was going to be I would've opted to a different route. But again, helaas!

The "do some tests" part of the inburgering is pretty straight forward. There are four different tests you need to do. A test you do over the telephone so they can hear you speak, two tests on the computer, and a real life practical exam.

The practical exam (which I feel like I have been working on for the last 90 years) has you out and about in the world doing "Dutch" things and living to tell the tale. You must put together a portfolio of your bewijzen (proofs). I'm actually doing my volunteer work for my portfolio, though I think it's a nice thing to do anyways. Some other things include knowing how to read your electric meter, paying a bill (banking system here is totally different, but AWESOME), going to the city and registering yourself as a resident and so on and so forth. A MIRACLE fell into my lap a few weeks ago because they changed it from needing 30 proofs to just 20.

It is with great delight and joy that I announce that I'm 97%* DONE with my Inburgering! I've passed the telephone test and the two computer tests and I will be submitting my portfolio for the practical exam this weekend. Once it's accepted as being good and complete, they call me in for a test where I talk to them about some of the things I did and what I felt about doing it. I have a few interesting things to say about that, but right now I'm just going to bask in the happiness that I'm so so so close to being done!

Next step- citizenship!

*Approximately... I don't actually have an exact percentage, but I thought 97% sounds pretty close to done. I feel pretty close to done, thus the 97%. I know, I'm weird.

*****
I'm participating in Mrs. Matlock's Alphabe-Thursday! Click the link below to see what other iteresting things people have posted about.

Jenny Matlock

30 comments:

Amy said...

Can't you just defect? wouldn't it be easier? Just saying.
I think that integration plan is genius! And good for you for being also done. That is awesome.

Jo said...

wow ... i'm kind of speachless ... it sounds like an insanely difficult and expensive process ... Best of luck to you, it sounds as if you have really worked hard for this!

4 Lettre Words said...

How exciting, Kim! :o)

mub said...

Jo, it is kinda insanely difficult and expensive *L* I've been working really hard to get it done though so I'll qualify to get the reimbursement, which will still mean quite a bit will be owed but 70% is a BIG chunk of change.

American Cloggie said...

Might I ask where you are from originally? I'm also going through the inburgering process and I it seems as though we're going through 2 completely different situations. I totally support the Dutch wanting us to integrate and think it's a great idea - they just need to come up with one standard way to go about it. It seems like it's different for everyone depending on how the Dutch Gov't was feeling at the moment you signed up lol! Fantastic that you're almost done - good work!

Jenny said...

Oh my. American Cloggie took the words right out of my mouth.

Actually, probably not a popular sentiment but I think this is a wonderful idea.

I wish they would integrate this idea into the US instead of letting English be squeezed out as the primary language.

But teachers should not be political so I will stop with that comment just verging on!

And I will say...

What an amazing "I" post about something I didn't even know existed.

Fascinating.

I'm forward this along to my husband.

I know he will be intriqued!

A+

And that was 100% A+ - not even a 97% one! ha!

Noodle said...

I wish they had a intergartion process in the US... Maybe they do who knows... I'm glad your almost done we will have to throw you a dual citizenship party this summer when you come... We can eat bugers and fries and some kind of yummy dutch meal... It will be great =)

Betty (picture circa 1951) said...

Very interesting. I think I'd be in big trouble. I am not good at learning another language. I tried when we lived in Italy and I spoke broken (very broken) Italian. I knew basics. I could ask how much something cost. :) Good for you! You are well on your way.

sharonm said...

Way to go. Can you hear them? One, Two, Three.(My buttons popping off.)It's great having such an amazing grandaughter.

JanMary said...

Fascinating - I had no idea all this was required.

Congrats on persevering!

PS Glad I am in the EU - just in case I ever move to the Netherlands.

Julie Schuler said...

It all sounds very confusing and difficult! Good luck and I hope you will be finished soon.

jeff campbell said...

Such an interesting post for "I"...how cool...thanks for your visit with my Insects...skeeters?? Too important in the food chain of life...think of how many insects, birds, bats, and little baby fishes need them:-)

Wizardress said...

Kimmie can you also write off the classes on your taxes? I think it's insane that some cities will pay for the classes where others won't. I did know that some made you pay for it upfront but as long as you passed they would reimburse you, but that was becuase when I was there, they had so many from other non-english speaking cultures that were not really interested in doing the classes so they didn't try.

I have to say that I'm glad I didn't have to do the portfolio- but I had to take a writing- speaking- listening- reading exam and then also a computerized exam that was about dutch society- banking, govt, doctors etc...

The good thing is- that the process for gettign your citizenship is painless :)

You are almost there!! YIPEEEE! That calls for some appeltaart :)

Melinda Cornish said...

I loved this post a lot...especially the crossed out parts...they made me laugh...it sounds like you have done great! good for you miss Inbergerer...(inbergeree?)

mbkatc230 said...

Very interesting! I think it's a wonderful idea, but they really should make it a uniform process. I can't imagine living in another country and not wanting to learn the language, it has to make your life easier in the long run. But to make it so expensive seems rather off putting. Congratulations, it sounds like your hard work is paying off. Thanks for stopping by, I love Indy too! Kathy

Debbie said...

It will be so worth it! I give you a lot of credit for working so hard!~ Thanks for stopping over my ice cream post!

Riet said...

Now that is great to know how inburgering actually works because of course we stand on the other side. I believe you had the tough guys to help you. But to tell you the truth I thought this inburgering is for Maroccan and Turkish people who have been living here for ages and still don't speak a word of Dutch and don't know anything about our Dutch culture.Congratulations that you passed all your tests.

Spotted Sparrow said...

Wow, a speaking test over the telephone! That is tough. I always find it harder to understand people over the telephone.

Congrats on being almost done! That must be a huge relief.

Steph said...

Wow. This sounds intense and I'm so thrilled for you to be so close to completion. What a lot of hard work, time, and commitment you must have put in. I'm not sure I ever read how you ended up in the Netherlands in the first place. I'd love to hear the story. Inburgering... great word!

Steph said...

I did find your wedding pictures, however. :) But I want the whole story. And more related to your post above.... I wonder how all this compares with the citizenship test,etc. in the states?

Sarah said...

Congratulations on all of this. It is an amazing amount of work. I think it is a good idea that a country expects one to learn the language to become a citizen.

Sherrie said...

Oh my goodness. This post opened up a whole new world for me. Good for you to have the strength and courage to go through this, I don't think I could learn a new language. Nope I definitely know that I couldn't (I am remembering high school french - it wasn't pretty). So why in the United States we allow our language to almost be overtaken by other languages? Okay my political comment for the day. I just wanted to stop by and say hello and to thank you for becoming a follower. Don't worry if you win, I have no mail restrictions and I will ship to the Netherlands. Good luck.

Meal Planning with Connie said...

Thank you for sharing all this this information about life in The Netherlands! I find very interesting, and you make it so entertaining!
Congratulations on your achievement!!! Keep us posted!! Best wishes!!

Amanda said...

Wow! Congratulations on being so close to getting your citizenship! It is very obvious that you love your husband and your new home, because the requirements sound really difficult.

Tam said...

Congrats. I liked this post very much. It really had me laughing. I think the US should take notes and have requirements like that. I know they really don't...as my Husband is Korean. He lost his citizenship papers and it cost a small foturne to get new ones recently. We have moved alot...and they got lost in the move. ARGGH

Again Congrats

Invader_Stu said...

I'm so lucky that I am am member of the EU and didn't have to go through this. Most of my Dutch co-works think they would fail the test anyway.

Sarah said...

First of all, Congratulations on the 97% done! Second, this is awesome (unless, maybe, if you have to do it). What a great way to "become" Dutch. I have seen the US Citizenship test and I couldn't answer some of the questions, but it doens't mean it's a bad thing....just maybe I didn't retain much from high school. Sounds like a good program. We need something similar.

Personalized Sketches and Sentiments said...

This was amazing! I love the idea of knowing another language! I wish that my mom spoke with me in her language from the Philippines.

Continued success to you!
Blessings & Aloha!
(still trying to catch up on all the wonderful "I" posts!)

Ann Martin said...

Fascinating post! Sounds like you've really been put through the mill, but will be better off for it in the end. My Canadian sister-in-law just became a U.S. citizen and I was so impressed with all she had to learn before gaining citizenship. Am sure she knows more about U.S. history than most U.S. adults (how sad is that?!) Thanks for visiting my blog, btw. :-)

Mrs4444 said...

WooHoo! Your hard work has paid off!!!

Post a Comment

Related Posts with Thumbnails