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Klanten aan het woord

Albert Sargsyan, a graduate of Taalbureau Maastricht, comes from the Republic of Armenia. In 2008, he was appointed to a management position at DSM. "I moved to the Netherlands with my family to live here for a longer period of time, perhaps permanently."

After a crash course, he started taking Dutch lessons with Nathalie de Schipper:

“‘What types of conversations do you want to be able to handle?’, she asked me. We then discussed various situations and topics from a role-playing prospective. Taalbureau Maastricht is very flexible and personalised, and Nathalie is good at tuning into the individual character of a person. As I need to coach people for my work, I wanted to learn more about the emotional content of language and the finer points of local culture. Fortunately, if I didn’t hit the right tone in that respect, Nathalie was always quick to come up with corrections and suggestions."

In an egalitarian country like the Netherlands, Albert soon discovered that authority could be a sensitive issue. Correct leadership became an important focus.

"I still sometimes inadvertently use verbs such as “must” and “have to” even though I know by now what kind of tone that strikes. In the Randstad, it’s less of an issue, but in Limburg “must” simply doesn’t work. Nathalie made me more aware of such cultural aspects. She would then say, “Look, if you say it this way, it basically means the same thing, but then you don’t rub people the wrong way.”

A culture that takes a critical approach towards authority agreed with him.

“A hierarchical system is not my cup of tea. During the lessons, there was always time for a bit of humour, but Nathalie also knew how to push me if we stayed at the same level for too long. Somehow, it always felt like we were on the same level playing field, and her drive and passion were just what I needed. The only way you can convince people that you really are there for them is to get your message through to them without overstepping certain boundaries. Simply doing your best is not always enough. Learning a new language requires discipline and guidance, and finding the right tone is more of an art than a science."

Dutch language courses for highly skilled workers in the knowledge and manufacturing sectors.