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European Languages, Culture and Society


Summer course Dutch (language, culture & career)

By Christine E Sas, on 6 September 2021

Posted on behalf of Nitya Raghava, BA Dutch and Spanish

This August, I had the chance to participate in the Taalunie Zomercursus, an intensive two-week course, with other students of Dutch hailing from all around the globe. We had our choice of four themes – media and politics, literature and culture (my choice), commercial and literary translation, and finally linguistics and teaching. We explored these through workshops with our course leaders, Nikki and Tom, and then in an independent group project which involved compiling and presenting research.

Our workshops ranged from street poetry to art history, which expanded on our themes and always added something interesting and new to discussions. My group’s project centred around the Middle Dutch epic Van den vos Reynaerde. One stand-out part was meeting Rik van Daele, a researcher and ‘tamer’ of the eponymous wily fox – his expertise and enthusiasm were truly inspiring! Other high points were meeting the author Jente Posthuma after a brief introduction to her work, the chance to quiz her about her jumper collection and literary recommendations, as well as the lovely virtual evening we spent with our would-be hosts in Ghent.

I was absolutely bowled over by their friendliness and humour – the hosts and course leaders made the whole experience feel so warm and personal despite the unconventional online format. Overall, I found the Zomercursus to be a unique and imaginative way to improve my language skills, a great way to meet other students and a useful window into Flemish and Dutch culture. I’d recommend it without hesitation!

Nitya Raghava (BA Dutch and Spanish)


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