Skip to content

Road of Hope

Breaking language barriers – A volunteer’s experience of teaching

Eva van der Wal

Not being able to speak a language properly when trying to settle into a new country as a refugee can be a huge obstacle towards integration, employment and overall happiness. That’s why learning Dutch has been one of the pillars of the Road of Hope’s activities for the last three years. “Learning the Dutch language is one of the key aspects of integration. Everything starts with language: from following a course, to finding a job, to fully engaging in society”, says Eva van der Wal, a 22 years old volunteer teacher for Road of Hope. She is teaching the basics of dutch in a very accessible way and practices with everyday conversations – from making an appointment at the doctor’s to asking a question in the supermarket. 

For Eva, providing a contribution to refugees and help them find their way in the dutch society means a lot. “I think it is wonderful to see how everyone is incredibly motivated and eager to learn the Dutch language. This really keeps me motivated to give the classes. What I love most about giving the Dutch classes is seeing how everyone is having fun with each other and how we were able to create a space where no one is afraid to make mistakes and help each other. I don’t speak Arabic myself, so I’m not able to translate certain explanations which sometimes makes it harder for the message to come across. I therefore love to see how they translate things to each other so everyone can keep up”, says Eva. She is currently studying International Refugee and Migration Law, volunteers as a legal advisor in migration law and has been giving classes at Road of Hope since November 2020. Mostly of her students are Arabic-speakers.

Each period, there are about 10 to 15 students joining the Dutch classes. During this time of the pandemic, the classes are given through Zoom. After the break, Eva’s Dutch classes start on April 5th. Road of Hope Foundation is thankful to the volunteers, like Eva, who are helping us to help others.