Thank you Albert for taking the time from your schedule to answer our Q&A, giving us great insights into learning Dutch and your teaching methods.
1 Tell us about your products and services
I am Albert Both from Talencoach and people also know me as Mr. Dutch Brainwash. I help people to reach a place that I like to call Dutch Flow, where learning and speaking Dutch is fun and easy. Too many people find Dutch a very difficult language to learn, but the opposite can also be true, if you are willing to change your mind… I share free eBooks, give free workshops and for those who would really like a huge change in their Dutch, I give a course for 7 days in a row that is called the Dutch Brainwash
2 How long have you been in business and why did you choose this sector?
It all started in 2003, almost 15 years ago. I had a bike and a laptop and went to the houses of different people to teach them a new language. At that time I was doing many languages like English, Spanish and French and now, my main focus is Dutch
I am a very creative person and I am not very patient in organizations. I don’t like to discuss for hours about company policies etc. That is why I love to work for myself, because now I can work according to my own insights and implement new things really fast. I chose to be a language coach, because I both like languages and coaching. The only thing is that I wanted to create something new. I wanted to remix language teaching with strong coaching components
3 What is the thing that you like most about your work?
I love languages, different people, interaction and humor. I love the positive vibe that I get when I meet my students, because they are all very motivated and willing to play. Whenever I teach, if feels like that I am just having a great time with my friends.
At the same time, I also learn a lot from my students. I learn more about their languages and their cultures and it is great to feel that we can work together on something that is really important for all of us. We want to feel at home and at ease with the people around us
4 Which different nationalities are your clients?
Most of my clients come from an English speaking country, such as the UK, USA, Australia, New Zealand and from other countries of Europe, such as Spain, Italy, Russia. Every group that I work with however is different… My groups are never the same!
5 What do you think they love the best about living in Amsterdam?
I think that Amsterdam is quite a relaxed city. It is not too big, not too crowded and yet, all you need is there. It is also close to other European cities, so if you like to go to Paris, London or Berlin you can easily take a train or a plane.
And then, Amsterdam by itself is really beautiful… Just have a look at the canals and the beautiful houses. It really has a very special atmosphere
6 What do you like to do in your time off?
As I told you, I really love languages. That is why now and then I go to Greece for learning Greek. The only thing is, right now my Greek is far away from perfect, so I need to go back many times
I also love nature a lot, I love to walk on the beach and you can also find me at Toast Masters and The Dutch Debating Club
7 What is my fondest memory of work or proudest moment?
In my work there is a lot of interaction and it seems that somehow synchronicity takes place a lot. Somehow all my students ask all the questions at the right moment and then they can learn in a very natural flow.
What I also love to see is that speaking Dutch can really have a positive impact on the life of my students. Once I worked with John from the UK and somehow he had resisted Dutch for more than 25 years. But… once I got invited to his birthday party and.. he was speaking to his guests in Dutch!
8 What do you think that expats think of the Dutch people?
I can imagine that it takes some time for expats to really know Dutch people. First we have Dutch of course and then, Dutch people may be a bit reserved sometimes, certainly in the beginning. I can imagine that in other countries it is easier to meet new friends. My tip is always: be patient if you like to make Dutch friends!
Then, if you are an expat you’ll probably discover that there is such a thing as a Dutch world. Most expats may miss it, certainly if they only speak English. At the same time I do believe that if you are really curious, you can discover many great things there.
9 Which product is my best seller and why?
My main product is the Dutch Brainwash. It is a 7 day course that helps you to create thousands of sentences, double or triple your vocabulary within minutes, greatly expand your passive understanding and make you feel at ease while speaking Dutch
In a way, 7 days is really a lot of time. It allows you to really focus and to find Dutch Flow more easily. Once you find out for yourself that Dutch is logical, consistent and even funny, then all of a sudden everything is a lot easier. Also, many students discover that somehow they have a tendency to make Dutch far more complicated than it really is. And one of the most important thing – I think – is that people can really have fun while learning new things ☺
The beauty of the course is that it is not just grammar and vocabulary. You will learn a lot about yourself and you’ll find new ways of learning and thinking. Most people work on a kind of autopilot in their normal jobs and a Brainwash helps people to get new ideas and perspectives, also for other areas life…
10 What good words should expats learn?
First of all, learn all the foods that you like, and also the foods that you dislike. Then words such as gezellig and handy are always handy of course…
Another Dutch word that I like a lot is leren, which means to learn and to teach. I think, it is a wonderful concept. If you teach, you’ll always learn and quite often, when you learn you are teaching yourself!
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