Customer Reviews

Below, you can find what others say about my courses. There is a section in English, in German and in Dutch.

 What customers say about Learn Dutch Fast

English Reviews

Valerie Sheppard - Total Immersion 1 and Total Immersion 2, 2013

Coleena, Total Immersion 1, 2013

Posted on

Excuse writing in English but I did want you to know that my spoken Dutch has been moving on in leaps and bounds - maybe not grammatically correct but I have argued with the bank and obtained a bankverklaring, established a new company and argued with the CWI all in Dutch recently!

Syl, endorsements in this business are pretty key as it lets other people see just how good you are. I am sure you will get a lot more endorsement but I hope that I can be the first. What I have said is 100% true and fully deserved:

"I cannot praise Syl's effectiveness, teaching methods and enthusiasm enough. Since attending Syl's course I am much more confident and fluent in my Dutch. Her courses are fun, original and extremely well organised. I would recommend anyone wanting to learn Dutch to try Stand By Bussum first. You will never want to sit in a language studio again!"

Richard, Kohnsulting (After 3 day Immersion 2 course, 2004)


Posted on, November 18, 2006:

"Sylvia's course "Social Adventures Project" I took at ROC, Nijmegen, in 2002 has been the best guide for integrating to the Dutch culture I have had. She is extremely creative and understands the different learning styles of each of her students. I recommend her instruction because of the excellent results she delivers."

Top qualities: Great Results, High Integrity, Creative

Ana (hired Sylvia as a Career Coach in 2002)

I have lived in the Netherlands for the past two years and have tried various people and methods to learn Nederlands. Sylvia is clearly the best; with a relaxed but very practical approach to learning a new language. I only wish I had started to use her when I first arrived. I know several others who have used her and they too were very impressed.

Succes, Groetjes

Andy (After some private sessions and a Total Immersion 2)

To tell you the truth I have never come across such a talented teacher like Syl. She is fun, enthusiastic and dedicated in teaching you everything you would want to learn about the Dutch language.

I have now (I have lived here for only two years now) passed my "inburgering" exams with flying colours and not only that, I had level 3, going now for level 4. I will not hesitate to recommend this lady to anybody who would like to learn and understand the Dutch language.

To cut a long story short, she is a genius in the field. When I started I knew nothing and all the compliments go to Syl because of her dedication.

Wishing you all the best and hope to hear from you soon in Dutch.

"VEEL SUCCES". Yours sincerely,

Kebba (English Language Teacher from Gambia, after Total Immersion 1, Total Immersion 2 and some Dutch Mornings)

Dutch lessons with Sylvia are very pleasant. Without noticing it, it is already 16:30 and I have covered a lot of subjects. It is done by explanation, cards, games, speech exercises, walking and talking, watching movies, reading and discussing what I've read.

When I returned home I've realized that I was completely exhausted, meaning that I was actually working hard. Sylvia gave me also suggestions how to continue exercising at home in an affective and pleasant way. 

After these lessons I can speak better, I can correct myself faster when I make mistakes and I can understand better other people.

My son took also lessons with Sylvia and I could see that he made a real progress.

Best regards,

Orly (From Israel, after a Total Immersion 2)

For me, Sylvia is one of the best teachers for Dutch language. I have spent 1 whole year to study Dutch at James Boswell Institute; at the end I still was not be able to speak confidently. And my purpose was to have my further master study (in Dutch) at Utrecht University, Communication study. So I decided to invest more in Dutch and with, I came across her name and website with very good references from different people. I called her and immediately took one first course level 2.
 I myself was a teacher of Vietnamese language, and I was very impressed with the way to give her lessons. The students do not have any stress, but a lot of enjoyment, and at the same time, study a lot. I increased my vocabulary amazingly after 3 intensive days with her, and my confidence in speaking was back to me. I do have this confidence in English but never in Dutch!
 After this intensive 3 days course, I did pass my oral intake with the coordinator from my study. I took another weekend Dutch speaking only with her three months later, and had confidence enough to do all my study and presentations in Dutch.
After having 15 different teachers for language courses, I would very much recommend Sylvia, very motivating and commitment teacher. She will help you to amaze yourself. That is what I had from her. I feel very lucky that I have found her, that sounds maybe a little bit too much to say, but I do mean it.


Van Anh (From Vietnam, after Immersion 2 and two Ladies Only Weekends)

In my opinion, Sylvia is first and foremost a teacher in the best sense of the word. Perhaps not surprisingly she has also found a solid language teaching methodology. The overall effect for me is that after nearly four years of listening to spoken Dutch and wishing that I could speak it naturally and easily, after the Sylvia's Beginner's Immersion week, I am now using the Dutch language on a daily basis. 

Dank je wel, Sylvia, Bart, Tommy en de poesen, heel success!

Mark (After Total Immersion 1.5)

I promise all my e-mails after this will be in Dutch but I just wanted to tell you what an excellent week I had.
I've never done very well in classroom situations which was one of the reasons I wanted to do your course.
I cannot believe how much I learned in just one week.
Thank you so much.

Anna, 2004

I attended the Beginners Course after being in The Netherlands for 2 weeks. The course was aimed at many learning styles and, to my surprise, I finished the week with the ability to speak many phrases, an underpinning understanding of grammar and tools (cd-rom, audio cd and cards etc.)  to further develop my knowledge. Sylvia's skill, as well as teaching & encouragement, is the ability to reduce the 'fear' of speaking another language. The process is complex but the course was fun, engaging, never boring. Two months later,  I attended an intensive 3-day Intermediate course which challenged my reluctance to speak Dutch freely.  Again, it re-iterated and reminded me of the grammatical rules (and easy techniques for remembering them) as well as games, songs, activities to reinforce different aspects of the Dutch language. Another thing, being new to the country I have met some really nice people on the courses. Thank you Sylvia for your professional style and the brilliance in which you teach and understand the learning of Dutch. 

Helena, Previous Literacy Consultant  (After Total Immersion 1)

Our Dutch is good! I do feel very confident speaking it at the market and shops and making appointments.  And, this basic level was my main goal. Please keep sending a list of your offerings as I'm very interested in

taking a "level 2" course if one is again offered during a weekend.

All my best,

Amy (After Total Immersion 1 with her husband, 2004)

To the best of my knowledge, there is no-one in the Netherlands, with the exception of Sylvain Lelarge (who teaches French) and Sylvia Clements (who teaches Dutch) who is competent to work the way I do.

(From letter of Colleague Lonny Gold, suggestopedic Teacher in Sweden, 2004)

I found the course useful - the different teaching styles and the focus on a few simple messages really helped to get the point home. I'm trying hard to keep my verbs in the right place! It was great just to get the chance to speak Dutch - that doesn't really happen very much in everyday life!

Nigel B. (Telelogic, after weekend course level 2, 2004)

(Sylvia Clements from Learn Dutch Fast  is also 1 of the 4 teachers from the platform Talen voor Talent, and took part in the project mentioned below)

Dear Mr Xavier Rosy,

It is a great pleasure to hear that the language training for citizens and youngsters in Almere, The Netherlands, provided by Sylvain Lelarge and his team of Talen voor Talent can become selected as one of the best practices in language training by European citizens.

In my role as project designer and project leader of a large scale project on developing a new knowledge infrastructure in Almere, the fastest growing New Town in Western Europe, located 25 km from Amsterdam, I wanted to involve the citizens in the design of this new knowledge infrastructure. We have chosen for a concept that puts Almere in a European context. Also from other projects I knew the qualities of Talen voor Talent. They are exceptionally gifted language trainers who can work with a broad range of people, from highly professional board room executives to teachers in schools, youngsters and very diverse groups of citizens. It is not only their methodology, but particularly their very enthousiastic spirit that makes that learners in their classes (which sometimes look more like mini-theatres or cosy living rooms) feel that they are seduced to speak a different language without any constraints. The learners feel at ease when they listen, speak, sing, play theatre of make assignments. In the meantime the learning of the new language goes extremely fast.

We can see that one week of Talen voor Talent does more than half a year following classes elsewhere. It's the magic of their spirit, intrinsic knowledge about 'new learning techniques' and bringing pleasure back in the learning that make this group so successful. During the Language Week in Almere more than 200 citizens followed language classes (French, German, English, Dutch for foreigners) and this was rated the most successful part of the project Verbindend Vernieuwen (Connecting Innovations) in Almere. Afterwards language teachers asked the Talen voor Talent group for additional training in the techniques and also in this respect this group is great, because teaching new things to teachers is almost the hardest thing to do!

Talen voor Talent is a jewel in the world of language training and their innovative approach is unique. In Almere we experienced this to the full and it would be a good idea when more cities would stimulate their citizens to learn European languages.

Hoping to have informed you over Talen voor Talent and their contribution in Almere with the Language Week,

With kindest regards,

Yours sincerely,

Annemieke Roobeek


Mrs Prof. dr. Annemieke J.M. Roobeek

Chair for Strategy and Transformation Management, Universiteit Nyenrode, The Netherlands

Hello Sylvia,

Firstly I want to thank you for your time over the two nights.

Then I want to say how enjoyable I found the whole course, it was innovative, and I felt it was a better way for me to learn. Got your e-mails, and appreciate your efforts greatly.

Thanks again.

 Alan (After 2 private sessions)

hallo,,,,super amiga,, I want to write you in some language but I don't know which English,, Spanish,, Nederland,, E.T,,Chinnese, the better for me is spanish,, but I don't want to loos this opportunity to thank you remembering us between all the persons you now.... In this days,, we were speaking about the interesting course of your organisation...... I hope that we can keep in touch,,, thank again for the CD............

Francisco & Beatriz (After Special Project in Almere)

Hi Sylvia

Just a quick e-mail to say thanks for the great week. I learnt loads, my head was totally fried, and it was difficult to think and speak English by Friday because my head was so crammed with Dutch.

Take care

Doug (After Total Immersion 1)


P.S. Ik gebruik mijn Nederlands maar ik wil graag meer oefenen.

Excellent course! After living here for quite a few years, and realising my Dutch is nowhere near as good as it should be, I tried to do something about it. I had tried a couple of beginners courses in the past, but they were the occasional 1-hour per week course, and not very well taught, and it is certainly difficult to keep up interest. I felt an intensive immersion-like course would be more suitable for me, as I would be forced to focus on learning Dutch, and only Dutch. The only intensive Dutch course I was aware of was pretty expensive, but a friend of mine recommended Learn Dutch Fast in Bussum as a possible compromise. 

I went on a 3-day intermediate course in April 2003, and have to say I was very impressed. The course was indeed taught in an informal environment, and given that the class was small - 3 students - enabled our teacher, Syl, to design the course on-the-fly on our particular requirements and weaknesses she had identified in us the students during the course. I learned a heck of a lot, and my confidence in speaking Dutch improved enormously!

I'm hoping to go on another 3-day course, and perhaps attend a few of the Dutch morning informal sessions, work permitting. My major regret is not being aware of this school when I first arrived in Holland, and attended the Total Immersion beginner's course at the outset instead of the beginner's courses I had ended up going to - there was one student who was also attending the same intermediate course I was attending in Bussum, who had went on the Learn Dutch Fast Total Immersion course previously - her Dutch was as good - if not better - then my Dutch after 6 years of being here! (Is that a compliment to Syl, or an insult to me, I wonder..?)

Oh, and the homemade food was also excellent!

Hartelijk bedankt voor de cursus, Syl!

Hassan, European Space Agency & Vega

I have been striving to learn Dutch for six months, and having attended various language schools I can safely say that Learn Dutch Fast towers above the rest. If you want impersonal, unspecific, cold and expensive Dutch lessons than I can recommend a number of language schools in the Netherlands. However, if you want personal, specific lessons in a warm and welcoming environment with people that care more about results than their bank balance - then Learn Dutch Fast is the one for you. Having discovered Learn Dutch Fast via the web-site, I have attended more than 40 hours of private and group lessons. From social life to the business world, the lessons are enjoyable, interactive, proactive and above all informative, covering many different aspects of Dutch life. If you choose for Learn Dutch Fast you're on to a winner! Ontzettend Bedankt Syl! Last but not least. the food. I was lucky to get a glass of water at other schools I've attended. At Learn Dutch Fast, Ada cooks up a storm. It's not just your brain-cells, but also your taste buds that are in for a treat!

Tim (Nuon) 

This is great Syl! And I'm really looking forward to doing a Refreshers Course - I have to say my Dutch has improved enormously since I started having lessons with you - bedankt - en tot ziens!


Hi there,
I attended the Total Immersion July 2001 and I can only recommend it! I have learned a lot in only one week. I am very surprised that I learned this much. In the beginning of the course you think "this will never work"... but after only two days you feel like you have been there for a week and you are just amazed of how much your brain can do in such short time. The process of learning was fun and very rewarding!

(And to Learn Dutch Fast and my pal-students from the Total Immersion for Beginners):

Hello beste vrienden,

Hou gaat het met jullie. Praten jullie Nederlands morgen, middag een avond? Ik spreak Nederlands (at) mijn werk, en het gaat erg goed! Ik find dat die Standby-kursus war erg goed een ik find ook dat jullie waren erg gezellig en slim:-)

Hope you all are doing great and giving the Dutch a fair chance - even though it is a very funny language...

I had a great time and I learned a lot. Now the hard part is to dare to use it... but I am doing okay - I make mistakes all the time but I learn from them and people here are very willing to help as long as I just try.
I look forward to see you all in the near future.

And Ada - I miss your food!

Morten (Starcom, After Total Immersion 1)


This website is very user-friendly and informative about all the exciting things going on in Total Immersion classes. Your classes are innovative, creative and fun for all of those who spend the week with you learning Dutch. Great job, Syl!

Peter HARVEY (The Language Business, UK, client of Sylvia Clements)



Joined: 13 Jan 2004

Posts: 36


Posted: Thu May 12, 2005 11:59 am    Post subject: Stand By Bussum/ Learn Dutch Fast


Has anybody had any experience with this language school?

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Joined: 29 Feb 2004

Posts: 16


Posted: Thu Jun 22, 2006 4:58 pm    Post subject: Standby Bussum


Yes, I have taken a day-long course in Bussum where I used to live. Syl is a very capable language teacher with many creative programmes (walks, workshops) etc to help you learn Dutch fast. It's different from the courses I've taken at James Boswell and ROC Hilversum. There were just two other people taking that one day course with me. Methods to learn included visual, audio (music), and physical (movement) -- as well as the usual reading, writing, speaking.

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Joined: 25 May 2004

Posts: 44


Posted: Wed Mar 21, 2007 2:31 am    Post subject:


Has anybody taken any trainings lately at this school? Could you share your experience?


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Joined: 04 Feb 2005

Posts: 54


Posted: Tue May 29, 2007 7:08 pm    Post subject:

After living in the Netherlands for 3 years, I decided that it was time to work on my Dutch. In the past I had a few lessons at work but this was not enough to give me the confidence to speak in front of native speakers. I was looking for a fast way to learn as much Dutch as possible and I found that with Learn Dutch Fast.

I had my first week immersion course last week and I came back so enthousiastic that I am ready to sign up for another week. We were a small group of 4 students and our teacher was Sylvia. From day 1, we had to speak Dutch and it was not easy but the way the courses were structure with a lot of funny games, songs, films, walks, interaction with Dutch people made it awfully interesting and a great learning experience for me.

Being an HR professional, I understand a little about learning and found Sylvia to be extremely experienced Dutch teacher able to taylor each days our course to individual needs which was of course even more powerful.

I must admit that if I had had to spend a week in a class learning grammar, I would have had enough very quickly but singing to learn grammar is much more fun.

On top of that when going back to work this morning, my colleagues tested my Dutch and they were quite impressed by the progress I made in such a short period of time, so am I!!

Sylvia is also a very nice person who enjoys people and this made a great difference.

Hi Sylvia,

Thank you for your "Get over your fear to speak Dutch day."

Actually, I gave it try on vridag na de les bij de boekwinkel. "Gode middag. Kunt U me helpen? Hebt U de Harry Potter boeken op CD?"

Well, she answered in Dutch that I should ask her colleague on the second floor. So I did and I got the first book. I have had several other experiences like that and, you are correct, the response has been very positive.

En ja, ik ben met mijn collegen in Nederlands spreeken. :)


Mark (KLM)

Hoi Syl,

I would like to thank you for the class today I had so much fun!

I am also doing my flash cards while watching Goede Tijden Slechte tijden (during commercials)

Anyway I hope to see you soon!

Groetjes naar Tommy & Kitty's


Sylvia is brilliant, entertaining, challenging, innovative, personable and most importantly of all effective. No, this is not a joke or something that Syl has put me up to - she is an excellent trainer and really manages to get the best out of her students so that after the course you can talk, in Dutch and use the language day to day.

OK, I am not by any means fluent, but I can listen to the news and understand pretty much what's going on, read SPITS on the train in the morning and do a lot more than buy my groceries in the stores without having to resort to English. I do not know of training method that is better than that used by Syl.

If you want to sit in a language school repeating words into a computer, Syl's course is not for you. If you want to attend a course where the learning is easy because you don't really know you are learning, or you learn because the triggers that are supplied are clever, then this is the course for you.



If I were you, I'd have no worries about the intensive Dutch course you're about to take with Syl. She is an amazing teacher with boundless energy, enthusiasm and creativity. If you play your part, you'll be amazed what you'll be able to achieve in just one week. Learning Dutch has never been such fun!...

Good luck with your course,

Vardit, Natural Nutritionist


Perhaps you can let me know when you next do the course as I am very interested. Joseph has got promoted to the advance group for Dutch. His teacher said that his progress was "spectacular".


Carole (mother of Joseph, who was in a children's course)

Hi Syl,

sorry for not writing in Dutch but I'm too tired from a long day of speaking only in Dutch. we had a promotion day in the "natuurwinkel" Bussum. I did it all in Dutch and got a lot of complements from people for my language so I guess it does work after all what you're doing. the last weekend was a major breakthrough for me. thanks again.

big hug from me



We were all women and we were all foreigners.  Most of us were fairly young and one of us was older.  But we all wanted to improve our Dutch, and having the chance to do it at a sea-side hotel with an excellent teacher was too good an opportunity to be missed.

So we practiced our verbs while marching through the nearby woods, learned useful idioms while having lunch by the sea, and increased our vocabulary and practiced speaking as we got to know each other.   We had a light listening exercise while learning about natural cosmetics, and a very serious one while watching a movie in Dutch.  We all went home not only knowing a lot more Dutch, but also with more friends.  All in all, a very satisfying weekend indeed.

Eva (after Ladies Only Weekend)

Feel you have no time for yourself let alone learn Dutch?

Join the LADIES ONLY WEEK-END! You will truly relax during three days in a hotel lost somewhere in the Dutch landscape, and as unbelievable as it may seem, you are learning Dutch while you go for long walks in the woods, visit windmills and other Dutch delights, have a facial, indulge in a massage, watch a film and get the energy and the push to express yourself in the language.

Coached by award-winning teacher Sylvia Clements, a group of women carefully selected by level and interests gather together for a nice week-end away from the daily chores of family and work. An intensive course that is indeed worthwhile.

Edwina (after Ladies Only Weekend)


Sylvia mentioned that you were researching your options for learning Dutch, so I thought I would pass on my own impressions to you.

I thought you were very open and thoughtful about your concerns regarding the most effective ways for you to learn Dutch. You are quite right to be reaching your options, its a big investment - an investment of your hopes and energy not just of your time and money!

I have had the opportunity to attend intensive language programs in three countries, and I can say unreservedly that I found the course run by Sylvia Clements the most effective of all the courses I have attended.

She uses the most modern teaching techniques, which enable you to learn without being aware of how much you are absorbing as you work. She does this in a way that makes you feel that you are not working so much as enjoying yourself, and hence your mind is tricked into taking in far more information than traditional intensive cramming courses can achieve. Sylvia is also highly attuned to the differences between people's learning styles, and is able to simultaneously present the same learning point in different ways according to the leaning style of the individual.

Olwen (to new client, after Total Immersion 2)


Language Training Vacation

I recently had the opportunity to take Total Immersion @ Standby in Bussum. I was so impressed with Sylvia's training/ teaching that one week turned into a month! I am a fligh attendant in the USA and I was subject to layoffs. My company said if I learned one of 7 possible languages that I would be secure, and I could keep my job. Dutch was one of those languages. I flew to Holland and by word of mouth found Sylvia @Standby!

I enrolled in her Total immersion 1 week course. Sylvia knew my situation and custom tailored the course to suit me. She was very aware at how I learned and changed her lessons to accommodate me. We did many activities in "class", such a wonderful concept for learning! I didn't even realize how much I was learning! I find that learning in a traditional way didn't work for me. Sylvia's approach to teaching is fresh and innovative. You never get bored, never sit for too long, and the concepts change often so you're always interested in what she might be presenting.

We took walks every day, games were played often, music was played and we worked on the computer also.

Never a dull day @ Standby! Thanks to Sylvia my requirement at having to learn Dutch turned into a wonderful experience! It was a working vacation for me but I never felt I was working! At the end of our month of lessons I returned to the USA took my Dutch test and passed!! Thanks to Sylvia I still have my job and a new friend in her! I highly recommend for any situation you may have groups or singles if you need to learn Dutch, do it @ Standby and you will not be disappointed.

Naomi Ruiz (Delta Airlines)


Best language teacher I have ever come across. And I speak 4 almost!!

Sevin, 2006

I studied Dutch with Sylvia Clements, over whose services you, I believe, seek a reference. Quite honestly, you will not find a better Dutch teacher than Syl however hard you look. Within a much shorter time span than I had expected I was able to use Dutch daily, and every subsequent course or lesson brought about advances by leaps and bounds. Syl is an incredibly talented teacher and is totally committed and focused. She tailors the lessons to the individual and uses creative and fun learning methods, which means you learn non-stop whilst enjoying yourself. I couldn't recommend her or her school highly enough.

Good luck,


From a Blog of one of my students:

Saturday, 29 September 2007

The Businessman, The Politician, and The Housewife

What an amazing week. I spent 6 hours each day learning Dutch in an intensive language course, and almost feel like I've come out the other side as a different person. Last night, after Little Cub was in bed, I was watching TV and Daddy Big Chief got up to get a drink from the kitchen. As he walked away asking if I'd like anything as well, my brain immediately began calculating my response in Dutch. In the grocery store today, the little voice in my head reading the prices was saying the numbers in Dutch. And when I speak with Little Cub, I'm doing my best to make sure it's all in Dutch. Interestingly, he tends to reply to me in whichever language I speak to him.

So my week was spent in a Dutch woman's house, with her big beautiful dog, cuddly cat, and two other students. We learned vocabulary, grammar, figures of speech, etc, all while using techniques almost completely opposite from traditional teaching methods. This woman has won the European 'Innovation in Teaching' award, and approaches language learning from a totally different perspective from any other type of school I've ever seen. It was a small group, almost completely conversation-based, virtually no writing, we were specifically told not to try to remember anything she taught us, there were no tests... and yet at the end of the week, I feel almost as confident in Dutch as I was after 2 years in high school and 2 or 3 classes in college with my French. Amazing. I don't know if the others students feel the same, but they most definitely walked out on Friday speaking a heck of a lot more Dutch than when we all walked in on Monday!

Oh yeah, and have I mentioned that one of the students is a bigshot within the world of major international sports companies (big enough to have his name mentioned on CNN), and the other is a member of the German parliament? Aaarrrrggghhhh! How much did I feel like 'just a wife and mother'?! BUT, having said all that, I absolutely kicked the pants off those guys when it came to going out and doing the shopping at the local fruit/veg markets and cheese vendor. Bless them, they were struggling, and I swooped down to rescue, saying 'Stand back, boys, this is where The Housewife comes into her own.' I may not make multi-million dollar business decisions or influence national policy, but I can purchase food like none other. Hey, it may seem like a minor victory, but everyone's gotta eat, right?

On the final day, we spent the morning at an artist's studio taking a drawing class (in Dutch, of course).

When I get some pictures downloaded, I'll include them later. For now, I'll just say that I'm pretty darn proud of the language I've picked up this past week, even when I end up saying ridiculus things like 'I writed a letter', 'Don't smile me at when I do an mistake', and 'Please I can your bathroom use?' At least I can give people something to laugh at behind my back, and maybe brighten their day a little.

Jill (After Total Immersion 1)

"It was a bit sad to finish today - I really enjoyed this week - Syl, you are awesome."

Maria (After Total Immersion 1)

My husband and I did the total immersion together. We had a thoroughly enjoyable week and found it a great way to learn a language. The Thursday mornings have really got my Dutch going and are invaluable. Highly recommended!

Kathrin (After Total Immersion 1 and some Dutch Mornings)


Thanks so much for all your help.  I will forward an address as soon as we have one.  We will miss you and your fun classes.  Maybe you can visit in the US.

Groetjes, Linda and Joe Bothwell

This is great Syl! And I'm really looking forward to doing a Refreshers Course - I have to say my Dutch has improved enormously since I started having lessons with you - bedankt - en tot ziens!

Julia (After some private sessions)


Hi there I attended the Total Immersion July 2001 and I can only recommend it! I have learned a lot in only one week. I am very surprised that I learned this much. In the beginning of the course you think "this will never work"... but after only two days you feel like you have been there for a week and you are just amazed of how much your brain can do in such short time. The process of learning was fun and very rewarding!


This is a really impressive site - well done Syl. The total immersion is a really good (and enjoyable) course in itself but I think what makes it invaluable is that you can keep coming back for more when you're ready/if you need it - and it's always fun!


Dutch immersion course

Donderdag is markt dag. Thursday is market day.

I look forward to Thursdays because I get to cycle to the outdoor market to buy fresh produce and fish. Yesterday, however, I had to sacrifice the hours between 10 am and 4 pm to learning Dutch.

I wasn't exactly reluctant about going to this course because I knew I needed it badly. I did, however, express my reservations when I booked it. Better words to describe how I feel might be hesitant, anxious, and afraid.

I mean, after blowing my performance on Wednesday night, my self confidence was at an all-time low. Am I going to make a fool of myself again?

I don't speak Dutch. I've been tongue-tied. Sure, I've been studying it on my own. But progress has been slow. Very slow.

How am I supposed to learn Dutch if I keep flying back to London every month?

I read in the "Teach Yourself Dutch" book that Dutch is the native language of approximately 20 million people. Even Greater London has 10 million people. So if I learn it, the maximum number of people I can speak to is 20 million. Twice the size of London.

After all, I had failed miserably learning Japanese, French, German, and Spanish. What could be different now?

Dutch doesn't sound beautiful like French or Italian. The gutteral sounds aren't easy to make either.

The first thing my teacher asked me to do was to write a sentence about each picture in a set of five. Aghast, I replied, "But I've never written any Dutch in my life!"

"Go on. Try it. I have to know what level you are."

What level? What do you mean what level? I'm a beginning beginner.

In the next six hours, my Dutch teacher coached me and my two classmates. We played games. We sang. We walked. We didn't speak much English. We learned to tell a story. We wrote. We spoke.

It's what I call "nonlinear learning", that is, learn by doing. In contrast, books that teach you Dutch are too linear, too one-dimensional. Stimulating the senses, or rather, using all the senses plus body movement on top of it helps you learn faster and better.

At the end of the day, my teacher gave me her diagnosis:

"You're a fast learner. You can already put together sentences. You just need more vocabulary. You need a thousand before you can speak freely. Three thousand to read the newspaper."

I suppose, it helps that I'm Chinese, for memorising new words is the foundation of learning the Chinese language.

The problem lies in something else. The German words I learned so many years ago have been awakened by my attempt to learn Dutch. These skeletons in the closet are rushing out to confuse me or perhaps to deter me?

"Don't worry. That happens," said my teacher. "After awhile, the German will go away. Can you practise Dutch with your friend?"

"It's hard to. He's from Brabant," I replied. Brabant is a southern province of Holland.

"So am I," she said.

"Errr, but you speak so clearly," I added another foot in my mouth.

I smiled as I cycled home. I learned a new secret. I discovered that Dutch is actually easier than German. And believe it or not, it's easier than English too. You just have to get past the gutteral sounds that camouflage it.

Anne (from her Blog)

Bedankt voor vorige week - het was hele mooi!

We went to Vondelpark in Amsterdam for Queen's day and saw two little girls playing accordions... while we were standing there we played "Tulpen in Amsterdam" & we sang along and thought of you!!!

Dank u wel,

John and Kathryne (Shell, after course at Shell &  Total Immersion 2, April 2005)

If you are looking for a Dutch teacher, look no further. You have found the perfect one in Sylvia Clements. Sylvia makes learning fun, and when you're having fun - you learn. She has the knack to make her lessons and courses creative, original, different - no one time is like another. You will find yourself speaking Dutch faster than you ever thought possible, and you'll have Syl to thank for that. I certainly have!

Vardit, (Natural Nutritionist, 2005)


German Reviews


Hoi Syl,

ich habe gerade mit ABN Amro am Telefon nur auf niederländisch gesprochen. Juchhu, sie haben alles verstanden und auf niederländisch geantwortet.

Kompliment noch einmal an dich.

Alles Liebe,


Von null auf 40 in einer Woche


Bussum: Niederländisch effizient und mit viel Spaß gelernt

Niederländisch ist nicht einfacher nur weil es nah mit dem Deutschen verwandt ist. Vor allem Aussprache und die so genannten "falschen Freunde" (das sind Wörter die in beiden Sprachen ähnlich aussehen, aber unterschiedliche Bedeutungen haben) machen Probleme. Nederlands spreken? Das ist möglich, schnell, gut und mit viel Freude in Bussum mit Sylvia Clements.

Ich selbst habe kein Wort Niederländisch gesprochen, als ich ankam. Nach zwei Tagen konnte ich einfache Sätze bilden und Dinge benennen.

Fehlerhaft natürlich. Viele Fehler! Aber Fehler sind erlaubt, oft wichtig.

Niemand erwartet Wunder. Es geht nicht um das intellektuelle  Beherrschen des Niederländischen, sondern um das unmittelbare Sprachbedürfnis des Menschen.

Gemeinsam kochen, lange Spaziergänge, Filme, Musik, Spiele, Gespräche über persönliche Dinge... all das lässt die Sprache wachsen aus sich selbst heraus. Und was ich einmal sagen konnte, das kann ich immer sagen, ohne die Vokabeln vom Papier gelernt zu haben. Diese Methode macht Spaß, bringt schnell kleine Erfolge und führt behutsam und unmittelbar in die Sprache und damit in die Denk-, Fühl- und Lebensweise der Niederländer. Und nach einer Woche kann man tatsächlich

Niederländisch für die alltäglichen Dinge... das macht stolz!

Viel Spaß in Bussum wünscht Mark (February 2005, after Journalist Program)


Beste vrienden!


Ich muss meine schoene bescheidenheit heute fuer einen moment vergessen:

ich habe meine erste kleine geschichte in der Zeitung! Der Telegraaf,

Seite 3, rosa unterlegt, ueberschrift: Frankreich gegen neuen

Strafprozess in Sachen Mata Hari. Ich hab das gleich auf

niederlaendisch geschrieben! Und heute morgen

war das auch noch im radio, was der telegraaf (also ich!) ueber mata hari geschrieben hat!



ich gruess euch uebermuetig!

overmoedige groeten,

 Annika (journalist and German Teacher, after Journalist Exchange Project)

Sprachkurs Evaluation 2004:

1. Früher Höhepunkt des Austausches: rasend schneller und nachhaltiger Lernerfolg, absolut überzeugende Methode mit Herausforderungen für alle Sinne, sinnvoll gesetzte Schwerpunkte bei Themen, Wortschatz, Alltagssituationen (optimale Vorbereitung auf Arbeitsleben im journalistischen Bereich), hochkompetentes und sympathisches Lehrpersonal

2. Nach dem Kurs war ich in der Lage, meinen Beruf auf Niederländisch auszuüben, also zu recherchieren, Interviews zu führen, Texte zu verfassen und zu verstehen. Alle Übungen des Kurses haben mich darauf entsprechend sehr gut vorbereitet. Meine Lernziele habe ich erreicht. Vor allem war der Kurs sehr motivierend und hat Lust gemacht, sich in kurzer Zeit auf eine völlig fremde Sprache einzulassen. Fehler durften gemacht werden! Unterbringung und Verpflegung waren klasse.

3. Ich war begeistert. Methodik ungeheuer erfolgreich, Materialien und Betreuung mehr als genug. Idee mit Präsentation von deutschen/niederländischen und eigenen Filmen sehr schön.

5. Sehr gute, sehr gute Lehrer. Unterbringung in Bussum gut, gefallen hat mir die familiäre Atmosphäre der Stadt und des Kurses.

Collected by Katrin Arntz (Praaning Meines, Organiser of Dutch-German Journalist Exchange Program)

Liebe Syl,

hab vielen, vielen Dank für die Fotos, die Texte und auch den herzlichen Empfang bei euch. Die ganze Zeit über wurde ich behandelt wie eine Prinzessin. Das ist ein tolles Gefühl. Die Batterien sind voll für alles Kommende.

Hab nochmals vielen Dank - du bist eine Frau, die so viel gibt an alle, die sie umgeben. Lass dich umarmen und grüsse auch Karl-Heinz und Friedhelm ganz herzlich von mir.

Andrea (after Total Immersion 2 for German speakers, colleague for French and German, lives in France)



Dutch reviews


Ik vond de lessen heel leuk, hier zijn een paar zinnen voor je volgende advertentie als je ze wil gebruiken:

"Ik heb weinig vrije tijd dus is het moeilijk om een groepscursus te volgen. Ik vond de "distance learning" cursus een leuke methode om mijn Nederlands te verbeteren. Met Syl was het makkelijk om me op mijn zwakke punten te concentreren en ze te verbeteren. Ik ben erg blij met het resultaat."


Corran  (Na Distance Learning Course 2010)

Toen ik terug naar mijn land kwam wilde ik niet mijn Nederlands vergeten. Sylvia´s Distance Learning cursus was en is de beste manier om dit te doen"

Edwina, Barcelona  (Na Distance Learning Course 2010)


Dankzij jouw hulp ben ik geslaagd voor het CNaVT-examen! Constanze (Examentraining 2013)

Heel bedankt voor the cd met de sinterklaasliedjes. Vanavond hebben Alex en ik naar de cd geluisterd. Hij vond het zo leuk en hij danste in de keuken.
Dank je wel ook voor een leuke weekend in Giethoorn, nu heb ik veel meer zelf vertrouwen.
Tot ziens!

Justine (Na Ladies Only)

Beste Sylvia,

Door de taalworkshop van jou ben ik geïnspireerd doorgegaan met creatief taalonderwijs. De workshop had een echte motorfunctie.

Zelf heb ik ook al veel ideetjes omgezet in praktisch materiaal.

Hartelijk dank voor de gemailde ideeën.

Groeten van Rob uit Emmen (Na Teacher Training).

lieve syl,

ik ben ontroerd. je bent definitief de liefste lerares die ik ooit heb gehad (behalve m'n eigen vader ;-)).

ik heb heel erg van de tijd met jij genoten - zoveel geleerd, zoveel plezier gehad, zoveel gelachen, zoveel gezongen (wat ik erg graag doe), zoveel lekker gegeten (té veel), zoveel lekker gepraat...

ik zou blij zijn als ik je kan opzoeken als ik eens weer in nederland ben. en als jij eens zin hebt om naar duitsland te komen en het niet echt mooi maar bijzonder roergebied te zien: je bent hartelijk uitgenodigd!

misschien heb je een keer zin om een conversatie-cursus aan te bieden voor je ex-lerlingen. gewoon zo, om het nederlands niet weer te laten vergeten. daar zou ik meteen bij zijn!


heel veel liefs,


hoi sylvia,

ik vond de curses erg leuk en ik heb veel geleert.

ik was echt heel erg super vet moe.

en dan was ik ook meteen gaan slapen.

maar ik hoop dat jij het ook leuk vond.

groetjes maxime (na training Engels voor kinderen, Maxime is dyslectisch en zag er erg tegenop om Engels te gaan leren op school)


hoi sylvia,

bedankt voor de leuke ervaring die je maxime gegeven hebt.

ze vond het heel leuk.

en het geeft haar een kapstok om wat aan op te hangen.

helaas wordt er op school vooral uit boeken gewerkt, heel statisch.

maxime wil graag nog een keer als je een groepje bij elkaar kunt krijgen.

Hoop dat met jou alles goed is.

Liefs, angela (de moeder van Maxime)

Syl, ik kwam terug en ontmoette Claudia, onze (nederlandse) babysitter, en ik sprak vluiend nederlands tegen haar, ze was zo verbaasd, wij doen het nooit... Vandaag was, zoals altijd, een super leerervaring met een super lerares. Echt, recommending you to other people comes so easily! douze points voor creativiteit en energie. Ik hoop het wel dat je een beetje rust krijgt na een lang dag, you deserve it.


Goed gedaan Sylvia, ik vind het fantastisch!! Syl, ik heb ervan genoten!


Hallo Sylvia!

Ik had een prima week.  Ik oefen nu elke dag met Marcel voor 1-2 uurs.  Dank je wel voor alles!!  Ik lerde een heleboel!

De reis was goed.  Ik reisde in eerste klas omdat de trein was vol.  Ik vond eerste klas leuker - heel stil!!!

Hoe was jouw weekend?  Hoe is  Bart? 


Nancy (Na Total Immersion 1, April 2005)

Kunnen we ons misschien eens zien, als ik in Nederland ben? Dat zou ik leuk vinden! De les met jou was zo geweldig! Groetjes,

Imke (Duitse Journalist na Stipendium Course in Kasteel Baarlo, 2005)

Hoi Syl,

nou, hoe gaat het met de nieuwe leerlingen? Is er iemand leuks bij?

Ik heb inmiddels mijn Nederland-album bijna klaar... Wat was dat toch grappig vorig jaar! Ik kan me bijna niet voorstellen dat het dit jaar weer zo leuk is...

Desondanks ben ik hartstikke benieuwd om de nieuwe studenten te leren

kennen en heb zin om jullie weer te zien. Ik bedacht me dus op dinsdag

avond naar Baarlo te komen, dan is het voor jullie nog niet de afscheidsavond en voor mij twee dagen voordat ik weer moet gaan werken, rustig genoeg dus.

Als het dan mogelijk is om voor een gast eten en slapen te regelen... Ik

heb niet veel nodig en breng ook graag mijn slaapzak mee (heet dat ding


Wat vinden jullie hiervan? Ik verheug me om van je te horen. En als er

ergens een probleem bestaat, niet aarzelen om het me te laten weten, dan kom ik gewoon een andere keer in Bussum op bezoek... Veel plezier daar!

Annika (Duitse Journalist na Baarlo Stupendium Course 2004, ze was het jaar daarop speciale gast en het beste nieuws is dat ze nu ook mijn fijne collega is voor Duitse les!)


Ik ben heel dankbaar dat ik heb jou ontmoet heb omdat je mji echt geholpen

heb met " some old bad habits".Ik ga door hopelijk om de gooi kant up!

Als je wil een keer over leren  problemen brain stormen, kan ik een proef

konein for je zijn.


Chris (dyslectic, after some private sessions and a Ladies Only)

Hallo Sylvia,

Ik wil alleen maar de groeten doen en dank je wel zeggen voor de adreslijst dat je me hebt gestuurd.

Ik vind dat we een "cadeautje" hebben gekregen de laatste dag van onze cursus, want jullie hebben ons verteld dat we nieuwe lessen van jullie gaan krijgen. Tot de volgende keer,

Neli (Na speciaal project voor werkzoekende hoogopgeleide vluchtelingen in Hoogeveen)

Hoi Sylvia,

Hoe is het? Ik hoop de he goed met jouw zaak gaat en dat je niet te gestrest bent...

Met mij gaat het steeds beter. Ik heb een nieuwe verblijf vergunning

gekregen (in verband met de baan van mijn vriendin) inclusieve vrije arbeidmogelijkheden (dus prima!). Ook heb ik mijn cursus Nederlands (bij het lokaal ROC) net afgemaakt en op het weekend zat ik voor de NT 2 examen. Ik weet niet zeker of ik ben geslaagd maar het ging ok.

Op school ging het met mij in vergelijking met de andere studenten echte

snel en de docenten waren verbaasd.  Wat mij betreft komt het van de goede begin die ik gekregen heb bij de 1 week intensieve cursus. Dus als je een getuigschrift of zo iets voor jouw cursus wilt, vraag maar.

Nigel H.

hoi syl,

mijne tulpen staan nog maar sommige laten wel hun hoofd hangen - wat jammer.

ik was trots vorige week. op vrijdag belde iemand van de uitzending "netwerk" op en vroeg naar de duitse andacht voor de huwelijk van prins frieso. dus zei ik, dat ik voor de kinderen programma werke en we gewoon niet uitzenden als zo een prins trouwt maar dat het zdf een live overtraging makt. met twee korte gesprijke kon ik hem de naam van de verantwoordelijke redactrice en de producent door geven. En dat alles in het Nederlands. Mijne collega's waren helemal beindrukkt en stonden met grote ogen naast me, hihi. dat was een gevoel van succes!

nu schijnt weer de zon zo lekker en ik ga ma weer naar huis. eigentlijk wilde ich naar de fitness-center gaan, zal ik het doen of niet??? ik heb manden niet gesport...

even kijken als ik thuis ben.

fijne avond nog, tot ziens

Jens (Na 9 dagen speciale training voor  journalisten)

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