Let's admit it: the Dutch language is complex. Hearing "simple" conversations on the street and learning that there are "no rules" between the two definite articles "de" and "het." Let's not forget the most challenging one, noticing when people switch to English when you are trying to speak Dutch, just because they want you to stay in your comfort zone. As non-native Dutch speakers, we are having a hard time! Learning is complex, but in order to learn, you need to be pushed outside of your comfort zone.
At Rebels, we have many highly-skilled international employees interested in the Dutch language but struggling to find a fun and practical way to learn and practice the language. We were first looking for a dutch teacher to host private lessons classes for all Rebels interested. A group was created, and employees were hyped, but that initial idea has evolved into something else now.
In the meantime, I attended language "meet-up" events in Den Haag and Leiden, where you can meet people while practicing your Dutch. It was very informative and motivational, which was why I proposed to host the same activity at Rebels. That is how Rebels TaalQafe came to life.
The goal of the TaalQafe is to make space for our non-native colleagues to practice speaking Dutch in an informal and supportive environment. Dutch-native volunteers who want to teach Dutch and international employees eager to learn or practice the language spend one hour talking with each other.
Not to be confused with traditional courses, the TaalQafe is a cozy hour, planned for every other Thursday, where we can talk about our daily lives, play communicative games, and come up with any topic to discuss. All while trying to speak as much Dutch as possible.
Here's what happens at TaalQafe:
    Before a session starts, the host or a volunteer chooses a topic and prepares 1-2 activities.
    At the beginning of a session, we get drinks and prepare the topic with an opening question. This acts as an ice-breaker, and it sometimes extends itself until the end of the session.
    Once the topic has been introduced and the conversation starts flowing, we continue with the proposed activities until the end of the session.
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Activities at the TaalQafe often vary. One lesson can go from a simple "guess the drawing" game to a complete theatrical improvisation with given scenarios. We always try to propose different activities for every session and keep it compliant with the topic. For example, if the topic is regarding animals, a memory game has proven to be an excellent fit. 
Since the beginning of TaalQafe in January 2022, positive feedback has been provided, and progress from our Rebels is apparent! I hear our participants asking questions and practicing outside of the sessions, proving their interest in the Dutch language. They get less shy when interacting in the office and in supermarkets, cinemas, and other places in their daily lives. 
Of course, some Rebels can't always attend a session or are shyer than others, but participants always try to make the best out of themselves and attend as much as possible. Patience and motivation are what keep the TaalQafe alive! 
    Author's experience: Fabien Diaz, Frontend developer
At Rebels, we have many highly-skilled international employees interested in the Dutch language...
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