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Trip Report After a Year Dutch, How Did Dutch Immersion in Haarlem/Amsterdam Go?

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**THE PLAN**
My goal was pretty straightforward. I’d studied Dutch for about a year and was hankering to practice my language skills. So, I’d booked my trip: KLM Montreal-Amsterdam June 17th- June 28th, staying in a B&B in Haarlem on the weekdays and a hotel in Amsterdam on the weekend. My first trip ever to the Netherlands, I saw it as kind of like that university “semester abroad” that I couldn’t do since I was a science major, only differences being are that now ONE I’m 40 and TWO I can’t afford that, so this was “eleven days abroad” instead :).

So, I’d completed “Living Languages: Dutch (with CDs)” which seemed to broach the language in a systematic manner. I had also listened to a number of Dutch songs and TV shows, in part thanks to some Fodorite suggestions. These didn’t give me any illusions that I would be able to always understand or have deep political or philosophical discussions. A few pleasant small talk conversations period I thought would be fantastic. I even thought that happiness would be me going in a restaurant, ordering, and mutual comprehension occurring.

Well, there was significant discouragement (and some derision) from a number of my friends about this trip. “Everyone speaks English; as soon as you open your mouth, they’ll speak to you in English.” “I’m sure you’ll be speaking in English only by day two.” Even Fodorites shed doubt on how well my plan would go, but I was determined to try anyway!

**Next Installment: How Did Practicing My Dutch Actually Go?**
**Then Trip Report including Haarlem, Amsterdam, Den Haag, Delft**

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