“Six months ago I had this crazy idea to start my own language school. I have always wanted to be an entrepreneur and since I was already teaching Dutch to expats I thought why not open up my own school. There are many language schools in Amsterdam but instead of just creating a place where people come to learn the language I wanted to build a community, a place where people can feel a sense of belonging. My students come from all over the world, Brazil, Mexico, North America but there are also students who left their country because of war and terror. In my school everyone is equal and we are all learning from each other, no matter if you are a student or a teacher. When I was living abroad in Mexico I noticed it was very hard to meet local people when you are a foreigner. That is why I introduce all my students to my friends. I set each of my students up with a language buddy so its easier for them to practice. Whenever there is an event I invite them. For example, last week we went salsa dancing and everyone loved it. So far none of my students have left the school and they even come early to class just to hang out. When someone doesn’t show up I know they have a legit reason and I’m genuinely worried. The best part of my job is that I get to spend my time with awesome people. A few weeks ago it was my birthday. I tried to keep it a secret but they had already figured out it out because of Facebook. Each of my students had thought of my birthday. They bought me flowers, wrote me birthday cards and they sang ‘’Happy Birthday’’ to me in 10 different languages. I’m not going to lie, it made me cry.”
———————————————
I met Noémie at BenchesCollective – BankjesCollectief a really awesome initiative in Amsterdam which transforms public space into a meeting place for everyone. BenchesCollective is a movement that organizes the largest open-air café in the world consisting of ‘opened’ benches on the pavement in front of houses, in the park or on a city square.

A bench host decides what he or she wants to serve: a nice cup of coffee, home baked cake, a marble competition or dancing lesson. At the opened benches you meet your neighbours. From students, young families and chatty grannies to awesome people like Noémie. The next open-air café is on July 1st & 2nd. It’s a really nice way to meet new people so if you are in Amsterdam next weekend make sure to check it out.

More stories?

Your content goes here. Edit or remove this text inline or in the module Content settings. You can also style every aspect of this content in the module 

See more

3/3 “I always wanted to learn how to play basketball so I googled: How to play basketball? in Arabic. I only got English search results so that is when I realized I needed to learn English. Since I only had an education until the age of 9, a lot of basic things like...

2/3 ''My friend told me that my youngest brother got murdered. He got into trouble with a group of criminals in Aleppo and they killed him. I immediately packed my stuff and I went back to Aleppo for the funeral. The next day, after the funeral my father and...

(4/4) "Years later, we found out, through a reconstruction based on stories from different people, that Sadif was seen carrying Enesa through the forest while she was already dead. People had told him to leave her body behind. Sadif had told them that he wouldn’t...