Learning Dutch in Downtown Burlington

Will Kelleher and Bob van Heeks, outside Onyx Tonics Coffee shop, Burlington, VT

By Will Kelleher

As the spring 2018 semester drew to a close, and with the chaos of finals weeks fast approaching, I was fortunate enough to schedule another meeting with Bob van Heeks, a Burlington resident from Amsterdam and a true gentleman.

I had reached out to Bob, after meeting him at a class information session, with the intention of learning more useful Dutch travel phrases before our departure in roughly three weeks. Learning languages as always been something I have been very excited to try and Dutch has proven to be no exception. I am a strong believer in making an effort to speak the native language of the country I am visiting, even if I butcher the pronunciation.

Our meeting was scheduled to be roughly an hour, but our conversation turned out to be closer to two hours long. We covered topics such as basic numbers, ordering food in a restaurant, interacting with store owners as well as other general Dutch culture. Spending time in downtown Burlington on a beautiful sunny day, practicing Dutch, with some coffee and pastries is not only a great study break, but a truly enjoyable experience.

While my knowledge of Dutch is still minimal, I do look forward to trying the words and phrases that Bob helped teach me.


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