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Last updated: 12/7/2022, 3:49 PM

Published at: 9/15/2022, 4:13 PM

Learn Dutch with Juf NaTAALka

For love, Natasha Kolbeek moved from Ukraine to the Netherlands nineteen years ago. She is an NT2 teacher, which means she teaches Dutch to people who speak another language. Since Russia invaded Ukraine last spring, she has been giving online lessons - in Ukrainian - about the Dutch language and culture. With this, she wants to help refugees from Ukraine understand the Netherlands better.

"After the war broke out, I became a teaching assistant for Ukrainian children that fled to the Netherlands," Natasha says. "After the war broke out, I became a teaching assistant for refugee Ukrainian children," Natasha says. "Of course, this led me to interact with their parents too, many of whom asked many questions about the Netherlands. That's how I got the idea to make videos for YouTube."

According to Natasha, learning the Dutch language is essential to "participate" in the Netherlands. That's why she makes videos about the pronunciation of letters and Dutch grammar. "But you also live in a country with its own history and culture. I also discuss that in my videos." She also talks about other topics that are very obvious to Dutch people, but not to people from Ukraine.

"Take the air raid siren for example. It goes off at noon on the first Monday of every month. At that time they check that all the alarms are working properly. Dutch people know this and shrug their shoulders. For refugees from Ukraine, for example, an air alert means that bombs are falling. They can become very anxious because of this. I try to explain these kinds of things in my videos, and hope to take away their fear by doing so."

For these videos Natasha benefited a lot from her own experiences after she came to live in the Netherlands. "That's how I found out that you have to practice well on the pronunciation of certain sounds, for example. Especially the 'oe', 'uu', 'ui' and 'ng' sounds are difficult. But it's incredibly helpful later on if you do your best to pronounce those correctly from the beginning."

She can also understand people from Ukraine well through her own experiences: "People who come here often have a good education. But because they don't speak the language yet, it's difficult for them to get a job here. I think that's a waste of talent and I know all about that," she says. "But there is always hope and I want to remind people of that. You have to have a goal and keep going. Sharing that message, I hope to give them some positivity and strength."

Are you curious about Natasha's online language lessons? Watch the videos on her YouTube channel at Juf NaTAALka.

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