EDIT: I changed the title of this thread on 15/03/2020 after deciding to drop Norwegian (at least for a good while, ? years?). See page 3 of this blog for details
A BRIEF BACKGROUND
Early 40s, male, nurse, married to another nurse, Australian, Dutch heritage, raising our children in French only (my wife in English -i.e. one parent, one language at the moment), very keen to live in Europe (but also keeping stong ties to Australia) which has become a family objective, no longer have faith in the accepted norms of society An obsession with West European languages.
To live and work as a nurse in Europe with my family - targeting 2022.
Targeting Belgium initially, potentially Luxembourg, Netherlands, Switzerland, Norway, France (New Caledonia even?) later, who knows.
Spent considerable time in the Netherlands and other parts of Europe with my wife in 2011. Not since returned to Europe.
OBTACLES TO LIVING AND BEING EMPLOYED IN EUROPE
Languages - French B2 certified (and since gone much beyond B2), no longer an obstacle, can always improve/refine
Dutch - needs much revival, reached B1+ in 2011
Norwegian - currently A0
Obstacles - Visas
Hold EU passport.
Obstacles - Work qualifications/ nursing.
Australian nursing degree not recognised in continental Europe.
Flatly not recognised in France (but can be after working in another EU country)
Initally wanted to target nursing in France, have gradually discovered would rather stab myself in both feet repeatedly and deal with the consequences, as it would likely lead to less frustration and depression than nursing in France.
May need to work in ONE EU country for 3 years continuously before being permitted to move and work as a nurse in another EU country (yet to clarify this).
Belgium puts their nurses through 4 years university education now (was 3 years up until 2018?). Australia 3 years. I'm considering post graduate qualifications here in Australia before going to EU as will diminish risks of being deemed grossly unequal to Belgian standards requring several costly months of education = financially unsustainable (I have to have my Aussie nursing qualifications assessed via Belgian authorities).
Age discrimination - however, nurses are in great shortage in many countries, so hopefully age won't matter.
High school German (learned little, but loved it. Had to move high schools due to family relocating).
High school French (learned literally a few words because I hated it).
Dabled on and off in French, Spanish, German and Dutch in my 20s and 30s with Dutch reaching highest level followed by FR/ES/DE in that order.
Came to love French, which I once despised and ironically I dind't like Dutch much either when I first heard it spoken.
Ah beloved French. Once detested by Mr PM Mollenburg for a good duration of my adolescence, now reveered with much adoration. I take pride in the fact for having trained myself to attain an accent as close as possible to native French (Parisian), but of course it's not perfect and I probably still retain a small accent, as well as having my children consistently communicate with me in French (my daughter 100% of the time). For me, I feel I will improve on my accent further once surrounded by native speakers, as I adapt my production to my input, especially when I'm hearing it spoken in the living home of the language. I will pinpoint the differences in my speach and iron them out. Anyway, I passed B2 at over 80% in 2017 (I think?) and failed C2 a couple of months ago with a pretty abyssmal score (due to my writing predominantly)...
On that note, I went to a French festival yesterday with my family. French music (concert) with some well known French artists, face painting and arts and crafts for kids, French cheese, wine and other such things. In a beautiful big park with large tress, big lawn areas, little ponds etc. A fun day. There, I ran into some Alliance Française teachers. One of them I was inquiring about 2020 childrens classes (in French), said I had a little accent, but she couldn't quite pick it. I said I was Australian. She said, 'No!' and shook my hand and said 'Bravo'. I took this positively, despite my perfectionism wanting to eliminate any trace of non-French accent from my voice box. I then said I wasn't that great, as I failed the C2 in November. She said herself, and pointed out two other French teachers (native speakers) have C1 level, and said, no, C2 is like waaayyyy up there, in terms of academic writing and don't beat yourself up over it. It made me feel better and realise I perhaps should have indeed sat the C1. Of course C2 is possible, but, yeah it made me feel better. Ah, well. No plans to sit any French exam again soon, but you never know. In the meantime, some grammar and vocab study, as well as a good amount of reading, listening and watching on a regular basis.
Although my father was born in NL, as relationships were not great between some family members while I was a child and growing up, I never had any exposure to the language. I started to teach myself some perhaps around 2003 at a guess, perhaps reached A2/B1 and stopped. I started again five or six years later and continued with my wife in 2011 in NL. I think I was a solid B1. I'm trying to bring it back now and introduce my children to the language as well.
In line with some of our philosophy behind home schooling, I'm going with my daughter's interest here. She has been keen to learn Norwegian for some time now. Admittedly this marries nicely with my curiousity with the language and appreciation of a democracy that seemingly runs closer to the true definition of a democracy than many other countries throughout the world. Since I'm keen on attempting to get my nursing up and running in Europe, the situation in Norway looks much better than the vast majority of other European countries in terms of working conditions.
My wanderlust went into overdrive in the new year. I opted to study not only French, Dutch and Norwegian, but added Spanish and Arabic as well. It didn't take too long for me to feel like this was too much and cut it back again to FR, NL and NO.
Focused Grammar/vocab study
Well, I will aim for regular desk study time each day, working my way through courses, word lists and the like. I will share that time between the three languages.
Outside of that, I read regularly in French and Dutch to my kids (I have found French still takes the prize for most time here, as we have many more resources and it's more tiring to read in a language that isn't as transparent yet). I am not up to reading competency yet in NO, but it will feature eventually with the kids.
We are not too keen to use TV too often with the children, but it is present. French will likely also remain the most frequently watched langauge with an aim to increasing Dutch and later Norwegian exposure.
Speaking with the children
It's always been French up to now. I'm trying to introduce Dutch but I"m struggling. I guess it's not such a bad thing to say that I keep reverting to French Honestly though, my Dutch is not that great yet and it was easier to start with French when my first born was only a baby (I didn't need to explain complex things), and I was studying only French, nothing else.
My entertainment and other activities
French dominates, Dutch second place, Norwegian comes last and as it should as there is little benefit me watching a NO series for example when I struggle to pick out any words. Although, when it comes to listening, I'm currently way ahead in Norwegian over the other two langauges, as it makes sense to work on Pimsleur Norwegian while having a shower, preparing breakfast etc when I cannot really get much out of TV and other more speedier listening styles.