Buddying Up to Learn Dutch (1)

Just over a month ago, Bucket Buddies set off on its very first user adventure towards helping 100,000 people reach their goals in 2015.

Time, money, energy… There are so many obstacles that we stumble across when on the journey to learning a new language. To combat these barriers to language learning success, we have created a community of foreign learners and helpful Dutch locals who are passionate about inspiring each other to learn and teach Dutch. Our ‘learning Dutch community’ has rapidly grown to over 600 members: people who are just as excited as us to Buddy Up so as to overcome obstacles and reach their goals!

Meet Loeki!

One of our community’s keenest contributors is Loeki, a mum of four (plus two dogs) and a language enthusiast who lives in Zeist (in the Netherlands). In spite of being made redundant and having had a bit of a tough time in recent years, Loeki hasn’t lost her passion for helping others and regularly volunteers for Humanitas. What’s more, coming from a family that is spread across the Netherlands, the USA and France, Loeki truly appreciates the value of connecting with others to make the language learning journey both more efficient and more enjoyable!

You’ve been a great contributor to the Facebook group “Bucket Buddies learn Dutch”! What motivated you to join the group?

Loeki is an active contributor in our Learning Dutch community.

I have liked languages, and particularly English, ever since I was a young child. By the time I was 12, my sisters and I already spoke a bit of English: we had American neighbours (with children of our age), who didn’t speak any Dutch when they arrived. They learned Dutch and we learned English, just by playing with each other.

Many years later, after my parents divorced, my father met a very sweet American lady, who emigrated to the Netherlands out of love for my dad, and she’s been family ever since. My dad worked at the university, in the languages department of all places, so there were lots of resources. But what helped her most were people who actually spoke Dutch with her, who were willing to help and correct her, and I’ve always tried to help her in that way.

Unfortunately, my dad passed away in 2010, and my stepmother moved back to the United States a year later to live closer to her own children, so I am a bit of an orphan now. I joined the group with my dear stepmother in mind: everyone learning a second language needs people who are willing to kindly correct and patiently repeat over and over again “how it’s actually said”.

Have you made any connections through the group?

No connections yet, but then, I’ve only been in the group a few weeks.

At Bucket Buddies, we believe that a great way to learn and to reach our goals is to connect with people to share motivation, resources and support. What have you done in the past to reach your goals and overcome obstacles and frustrations? Do you have your own success story of achieving something in life that you would like to share?

I am afraid I am not a great example of setting or reaching goals. The past years have been more about “surviving” than about bucket lists. I have just turned 55 and have little to show for it: in the past year I have lost my job and my house.

I DID manage to become completely debt-free, and that does feel like freedom. Also, I joined a choir and started singing lessons, and love that thoroughly.

[Bucket Buddies: To become debt free is one of THE big goals for millions. But, for us at Bucket Buddies, we like to view riches in terms of experiences shared rather than bank balance. Having dogs and a family are perfect examples.]

Are there any other goals and aspirations on your bucket list that you would like to share? Anything that you could use a little help with? Or an aspiration that you’re looking for cool friends to join in the fun?

I would love to find a new job, and a new relationship (preferably a man who likes to dance, ballroom or salsa). Also, I would love to be a performing singer: I really like to be on stage (I sang with bands before). All sounds pretty silly, huh, at 55?!

[Bucket Buddies: Not to us! We aim to turn dreams into SMART goals into reality! Anything can happen if you ardently desire, vividly imagine and enthusiastically act upon it.]

Do you have any advice or recommendations for other people who want to reach their goals and learn Dutch?

  • Practice, practice, practice! Go to places where people don’t speak your language (like old peoples homes or little kids).
  • Teach the people around you to speak Dutch with you (unless you’re really tired..).
  • Read good quality children’s books (like Thea Beckman, Jan Terlouw etc.).
  • Watch Dutch TV with subtitles for the deaf. (I still do that — out of laziness — whenever watching the BBC).

Great tips Loeki! Thank you for sharing your story with us and for showing that it’s never too late to work towards your dreams — today is just as great as yesterday!

Do you have any stories about reaching your goals and fulfilling your dreams that you’d like to share with us? Leave a comment on our blog or get in touch with us!

Author: Becky Cachia for Bucket Buddies

Website: www.bucket-buddies.com

Originally published at bucket-buddies.com on December 12, 2014.

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