PM’s French Adventures in the Matrix

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Elsa Maria
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Re: PM’s French Adventures in the Matrix

Postby Elsa Maria » Fri Jul 26, 2019 1:39 pm

I like your plan, PM. In fact, I am taking notes since my current plan is the pursuit of five languages.
And I will soon be joining you with prioritizing Dutch.
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Re: PM’s French Adventures in the Matrix

Postby PeterMollenburg » Fri Jul 26, 2019 6:22 pm

Elsa Maria wrote:I like your plan, PM. In fact, I am taking notes since my current plan is the pursuit of five languages.
And I will soon be joining you with prioritizing Dutch.


Thank you, Elsa Maria. I’ll be curious to see how we both go. A reminder though, I’m not commencing this plan until late November (after the date of the French exam). I’m keen to know which five languages you’re going to study, so I’ll watch your log for details.

It’s a bit after 4am here. I was sleeping on a futon and all of a sudden in the middle of being fast asleep, I felt a falling sensation... I was sleeping right on one side and unbalanced the futon causing it to tip (it’s quite light), and so I fell out of bed. No, I’m not overweight.

I have a long day ahead of me now, and unfortunately too much to do today on a day off. And speaking of such, managing my sleep better needs to be a priority if I’m to successfully complete 3 hours of language learning per day and still get everything else done... I know that sounds less than ideal and a little dubious, but truth be told, managing my sleep properly, eating healthily and staying fit will be my main priorities in that order if I’m to stay on top of it all and not fall apart. I am determined, though :evil: What better excuse than thinking that learning five languages is a good way to improve my health, right! ;)
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Re: PM’s French Adventures in the Matrix

Postby PeterMollenburg » Sun Jul 28, 2019 10:06 pm

PeterMollenburg wrote:
Lianne wrote:Looks like fun!! I like it. Now for the hard part: not changing your mind between now and November. ;)


You must have read my mind, I was just thinking the same ;)


As predicted, I’ve already been considering other options. I contemplated adding more languages (particularly keen on a long journey with Arabic, Russian to a lesser extent), but at only 219 hours per year with 5 languages, I think reducing that number would not be wise. I didn’t want to reduce the number of languages either, so it remains unchanged at 5.

Another question I continue to ponder, is whether or not I should skip the French exam in November and go straight for the 5 language mission in the coming days. I mean I cannot seem to gather the energy and summon the best frame of mind to focus on the exams in November - I seem to be rejecting it internally.

I think I’m burned out, and have been for a long time with just doing French alone. I don’t mind watching, reading or choosing a course that I like, but the idea of doing a lot of tough French day in day out for the coming few months then sitting the exam, doesn’t really tickle my fancy. I’m definitely not ruling out doing the exam just yet, but the alternative would mean that, were I to leave for Europe on the 1st of January 2022, the total hours studied for each of the 5 languages would increase from 462 hours, to 529 hours. And since I already have a B2 in French, and French will continue to remain a part of my daily life with my family (and hopefully I’d gradually improve), I’m wondering if time and energy might be better spent starting this mission sooner rather than later.

In theory, after arrival in Europe 1st Jan 2022 (this date is also theory and def not fixed), I am likely to have less time to study day in day out, again theory.

I know I could be a source of frustration for some of those who follow my journey, and so perhaps, here I am again, frustrating some. Still, I think these are very logical ponderings, all things considered. A final note, of course it would be great to have a C1 or C2 in my back pocket, but despite what some people think of my French level, it would take a LOT of work to get me familiar with and ready for the exam itself and what is expected by November. I just don’t know if I have that energy, nor if I want to spend it doing just that. Wanderlust is speaking logic!
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Re: PM’s French Adventures in the Matrix

Postby rdearman » Sun Jul 28, 2019 10:24 pm

If you don't know where you want to go, any road will do. If you had to make a decision based on a coin toss, which side would you hope it lands on?

Conversely, 67 extra hours divided by 5 is about 13 hours. How much extra would you really learn in 13 hours.
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Re: PM’s French Adventures in the Matrix

Postby PeterMollenburg » Sun Jul 28, 2019 10:55 pm

rdearman wrote:If you don't know where you want to go, any road will do. If you had to make a decision based on a coin toss, which side would you hope it lands on?

Conversely, 67 extra hours divided by 5 is about 13 hours. How much extra would you really learn in 13 hours.



Well, I don’t know. I like (and dislike) both sides of the coin, honestly, for different reasons.

No, 67 extra hours has already been divided (it was an extra 335 hours).
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Re: PM’s French Adventures in the Matrix

Postby trui » Mon Jul 29, 2019 12:15 pm

Do whatever keeps you learning! :D

As for Dutch and German, there are a fair few false friends and other things to watch out for. There's also a lot that's the same, but if you start both at the same time, you'll still have trouble with the differences and receive less benefits from the similarities.

Some things that trip me up:

False friends. (Schlimm ist kein "slim"! "Eine Tafel" is geen tafel.)
The ch in sch and g. (I keep pronouncing both like ch on its own, since that's how it is in Dutch.)
The eu in neu (I keep forgetting that it's pronounced like noi.)
Word order is slightly different.

There's been lots of benefits though. I've been able to jump straight into reading after learning only a couple hundred words. It's still a struggle, but thanks to my intermediate Dutch knowledge, it hasn't been a fools errand. This has helped a lot with motivation, as being able to read German (the news, books, etc) is one of my main motivations for learning it. :)

Starting German has also rekindled my motivation for Dutch. I started learning Dutch when I met my fiancé, nearly five years ago, but I've become less motivated than I was during the first couple years since any progress I make now takes longer to show any clear improvement. German has helped get me excited about language learning in general again, and that includes Dutch.

So I definitely think you'll enjoy getting back into Dutch again, and I'm sure it'll be a pleasure to learn. Dutch and German at once-- well, the answer depends on what motivates you more. Focusing on one first is certainty the more textbook choice, so if you have trouble juggling both, then like you said, you can just drop it, but if doing both motivates you more, then go for it!
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Re: PM’s French Adventures in the Matrix

Postby Lawyer&Mom » Mon Jul 29, 2019 3:05 pm

Would a C1 make you more employable than a B2?
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Re: PM’s French Adventures in the Matrix

Postby PeterMollenburg » Tue Jul 30, 2019 11:24 am

trui wrote:Do whatever keeps you learning! :D

As for Dutch and German, there are a fair few false friends and other things to watch out for. There's also a lot that's the same, but if you start both at the same time, you'll still have trouble with the differences and receive less benefits from the similarities.

Some things that trip me up:

False friends. (Schlimm ist kein "slim"! "Eine Tafel" is geen tafel.)
The ch in sch and g. (I keep pronouncing both like ch on its own, since that's how it is in Dutch.)
The eu in neu (I keep forgetting that it's pronounced like noi.)
Word order is slightly different.

There's been lots of benefits though. I've been able to jump straight into reading after learning only a couple hundred words. It's still a struggle, but thanks to my intermediate Dutch knowledge, it hasn't been a fools errand. This has helped a lot with motivation, as being able to read German (the news, books, etc) is one of my main motivations for learning it. :)

Starting German has also rekindled my motivation for Dutch. I started learning Dutch when I met my fiancé, nearly five years ago, but I've become less motivated than I was during the first couple years since any progress I make now takes longer to show any clear improvement. German has helped get me excited about language learning in general again, and that includes Dutch.

So I definitely think you'll enjoy getting back into Dutch again, and I'm sure it'll be a pleasure to learn. Dutch and German at once-- well, the answer depends on what motivates you more. Focusing on one first is certainty the more textbook choice, so if you have trouble juggling both, then like you said, you can just drop it, but if doing both motivates you more, then go for it!


Lawyer&Mom wrote:Would a C1 make you more employable than a B2?


Hi Lawyer&Mom,
C1 would make me more employable....

German and Dutch, thanks for the comparisons, trui. I’d like to mention that in the past my Dutch has reached B1 at least and my German perhaps A2. I remember hearing German people speak once my Dutch was at it’s peak and I was able to discern what was being discussed when speech was clearly enunciated and not too fast.

It don’t think it’s going to take much for me to renounce German if I run into some real issues, however, once learning it, I could fall in love again and find it just too hard to give up :?

I think one thing that saves me a lot from getting my wires crossed across languages is that I tend to put on a French suit for French, a Spanish one for Spanish etc. In doing so, my pronunciation varies greatly, as I make every attempt to eliminate my accent. This helps compartmentalise or differentiate my languages, since when speaking German, I sound rather German (I believe) and with Dutch and sound Dutch. Where the problems might arise are in grammatical differences (and perhaps some vocab) that are slight, but noticeable. Time will tell.

For now, I’ve ticked off day number 1 of serious exam prep... One day is easy, three and a half months, well that’s another story! Good luck to me :lol:
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Re: PM’s French Adventures in the Matrix

Postby rdearman » Tue Jul 30, 2019 12:55 pm

I am curious if having an actual certificate makes you more employable? Do healthcare employers in France or Holland require it on the CV, or do they just do an interview in language. I suppose you don't know since you've not done it, but maybe you've researched it? I looked and found this Compentency-guideline and it was interesting about EuroPass which is an online assessment for European languages.
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Re: PM’s French Adventures in the Matrix

Postby PeterMollenburg » Wed Jul 31, 2019 2:38 am

rdearman wrote:I am curious if having an actual certificate makes you more employable? Do healthcare employers in France or Holland require it on the CV, or do they just do an interview in language. I suppose you don't know since you've not done it, but maybe you've researched it? I looked and found this Compentency-guideline and it was interesting about EuroPass which is an online assessment for European languages.


Although I don’t have any links to share with you (i’m in a hurry as per usual, there are plenty out there), nurses having trained outside the EU wanting to work in continental Europe in which English is not the first language, in countries I have investigated (including non EU countries Switzerland and Norway), require at least a B2 level of the local language. Providing evidence of this saves one from having to sit an exam at a set date after arrival and delaying the process of finding a job once on location (I can legally arrive without a job, since I hold a Dutch passport, but I wouldn’t want to do this anyway).

I also know this from actual experience. While in the Netherlands with my wife in 2011 she was offered a job (as a nurse) in a Rotterdam hospital. They wanted to hire her, but could not. Her qualifications were more than adequate, but she had no evidence of Dutch language skills (on paper). Since she’d trained outside the EU, she had to prove a B2 level of Dutch. She couldn’t, so no job, despite the fact that they (the manager of the unit and other staff) even stated that they were happy to communicate with her in English until her Dutch improved- they were keen given her experience. Due to the language law (the B2 level for non EU trained nurses), she could not be given the job in the end.

On our return to Australia, my wife and I vowed that were we to ever return to Europe, I (or her, but more likely to be me given my love of languages) must pass a B2 language test (in whichever language) before attempting to work in Europe as a nurse in future. I opted this time for French, and achieved that some time ago, as you know.

I think it goes without saying that if you have a few candidates for a job, say in a French speaking country, one candidate with French as a mother tongue, another with French at B1 and another with French at C1 (let’s say that’s me at C1), then I’d at least be likely to nudge out the B1 candidate (based on language ability) depending on their experience of course. What goes in my favour (or any nurse) is that there is a desperate shortage of nurses throughout much of the OECD (Spain I think is one exception), but I know they are short in France, Belgium, the Netherlands and Germany and foresee it only getting worse over the course of the next decade.

As for nurses within the EU, the B2 rule does not apply. I have seen jobs advertised requesting B2 in French in Wallonia, while as low as A2 level of Dutch in Flanders. This is due to desperation, since they are so short on nursing staff. Were I to apply in Flanders, regardless of the advertised A2 level that I have seen on occasion, since I am not trained in the EU, I would still have to show a B2 certified level of Dutch anyway.

Having said that...
I also know of one nurse from New Zealand working in Brussels. As she initially worked in the UK, she then went to Brussels to work as a nurse without needing a B2 level of French. This is because once you are accepted in one country of the EU (regardless of the language used in the work environment, in her case, English), you then get treated like an EU citizen (in terms of language level required) and can go an work in any non-English speaking EU country without (official) evidence of the local language to B2 or otherwise. Of course the employer may request it for the job, but it’s not subject to EU/the individual country’s law, despite the candidate originally training outside the EU.

So, were I to work in UK (pre Brexit) or Ireland, I could in theory go and work in Belgium (or another EU country) without needing that B2 AND I wouldn’t have to get my nursing qualifications assessed as well (that can take around 9 months for Belgium). My wife and I have discussed this path but it seems that perhaps the UK will have left the EU by then, and Ireland... the state of the working conditions there are awful (I’ve heard it first hand from Irish nurses here), so no thanks. May as well go directly to Belgium, hopefully with a C1 in French which might improve my chances of getting a job.

On another note, so desperate are they in parts of NL and Flanders, I know they run courses for Spanish trained nurses to learn Dutch for a number of weeks in Barcelona before sending them to NL/Flanders for work. I’d imagine the courses. Approaching nursing recruitment agencies, at least if I can spare them that expense (of sending me away for language training) they might be more willing to overlook the work my Australian qualifications will take to gain equivalency, in order to find me suitable work. A C1 can only make me look more inviting. And more nursing studies here (I’m considering a one year critical care post grad certificate here) will help my case there as well when it comes to assessing whether I am deemed equivalent to the locals in training and expertise. I don’t want to be told my qualfications are rubbish, I need to do a year of training in BE. That’s simply not possible (unless I was paid a decent wage - but no, I’d have to pay for the course).

Should I ever make it into BE, I will be chasing this:
Carte Professionnelle Européenne
It will streamline the process of obtaining employment in other EU countries, enabling a smoother transition from one country to the next in terms of having to get my nursing qualifications assessed and so on. I’ll basically only have to do it in depth the first time. But that is the nursing qualifications, not the language necessarily.
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