Feedback van Enzo van der Heijden, Nyenrode Business Universiteit

Het is altijd heel bijzonder om te zien wat onze klanten doen met de taalkennis die zij bij ons hebben opgedaan. Met veel plezier delen wij het volgende blogartikel van Enzo van der Heijden, student aan de Nyenrode Business Universiteit.

The second term of our first academic year at Nyenrode Business University has ended. In this term, we dealt with many courses and English was definitely one of the most important in my opinion. In term one we started with Academic English which primarily focused on academic writing. These classes differ completely in comparison with the ones of Victoria Laws. In her class, we focused on improving our knowledge, and verbal skills with business & cultural perspective in mind.

Every week on Wednesday we had a session of Victoria Laws from Taleninstituut Nederland. Since she is a native and has worked with people from all over the world, she was perfectly suited to teach us about the English language. She had a great understanding of the cultural differences which are essential if you want to teach students like us about the English language. In our class are about nine nationalities, that is a lot if you take into consideration that we are only with 34 students in our class. Previously I experienced that our speech patterns differ. We use language in a different way because of our background and mother tongue. For example, the Dutch are extremely direct in communicating. The British however are the opposite. They tend to take a less direct approach and circle around what they actually mean. To understand each other, you have to know about one’s culture recognize the linguistic behaviours. This is what Victoria emphasized very well.

The course forced us to step out of our comfort zone. It dealt with role-playing, debating, giving a TED-talk presentation etc. You could tell that we all had difficulties and felt awkward doing these exercises. However, afterwards we received critical feedback on how we could improve not only our English, but also our pitch, hand gesture, tempo… This personal approach definitely helped me and many others. We even got filmed when we had to present, with the intention to have visual extracts to analyze. 

Previously I had no idea that language had such an impact on the way we communicate. After taking the voluntary sessions, I became more conscious of it. In the classes, we learned to use language as a tool to efficiently communicate with anyone around the world. In our academic curriculum with such an international scope, it is essential to have these classes.

Lastly, I would like to thank Victoria for all the patience and passion for teaching that she showed us. Not only I enjoyed her course, but also my classmates loved it.

Enzo van der Heijden
Nyenrode Business Universiteit

Foto: Kasteel Nijenrode; Madurodam