“Studying Dutch opens the door, not only to the language and history of a small country, but to everywhere the Dutch have traveled and touched. As deeply rooted players in the global marketplace, the Dutch have made an impression on almost every continent. The small and accessible Dutch Studies Program at UC Berkeley welcomed me as a transfer student and supported me with both academics and community. I ended up with a major in Dutch Studies, an honors thesis, and research that I love on the seventeenth-century colony of New Netherland.”

Julie van den Hout, B.A. Dutch Studies, Class of 2015.

“I had always been a little curious to study Dutch. It interested me both because I hold some Dutch ancestry and because of the outsize influence the Dutch people have had on American culture, business, and technology. It wasn’t until the sixth year of my Ph.D. studies in chemistry, when I began applying to postdoctoral positions, that I finally got the opportunity. The Netherlands happens to have a thriving scientific community, and though knowledge of Dutch is by no means a prerequisite for working there, I wanted to learn the language of my host country in order to show respect. I took two semesters of Elementary Dutch and had a great time. It is a unique experience, in the truest since of the word– few U.S. universities offer any Dutch courses, and none has a program of the caliber of UC Berkeley. Class sizes were small, so there were plenty of opportunities for practicing pronunciation and no reason not to interrupt for clarification whenever I didn’t understand something. The Dutch community is friendly and close-knit, and they’re always excited to meet buitenlanders working on their speaking-skills. I learned a lot and had a lot of fun taking Dutch at Cal, and I’d recommend it to any student here considering a new language.”

Samuel Leachman, Graduate student in Chemistry, 2015

“It took studying abroad in the Netherlands to even realize it where it was on a map, but what I found when I went there was really special. I discovered a small, hidden gem tucked away between Germany and Belgium containing a the most refreshingly practical, open-minded, “gezellig” people and their charming, rich culture. I took beginning Dutch in the semester immediately following my semester abroad in the Netherlands as a way to keep in contact with a people and culture that I fell in love with. I was met with a fantastic instructor who was from the Netherlands herself and a rewarding class that I looked forward to attending every week. The class sizes were small and the class dynamic was fun and enriching. The course itself was not extremely demanding but I rarely left a class without laughing or feeling like my language level improved–and everyone else in the class felt the same way. Even though I majored in biochemistry, my Dutch classes were the classes I enjoyed the most. Whether you’ve been to the Netherlands or not, taking Dutch will not be a decision that you’ll regret.”

Renee Salz, B.A. Molecular and Cell Biology, Class of 2016