Learning Dutch in an environment where you feel at home
In the Easter holidays of 1991 we (two Dutch teachers) started with a class of 4 French-speaking students in an apartment in Antwerp. We had prepared ourselves so well and even looked into the smallest of detail and I think we were just as nervous as our students.
But it was a great success. The students, who were here for two weeks, had learned a great deal and were very enthusiastic about their stay.
In the summer holidays we had about 6 students almost every week. They came because they had heard from others how nice it was in Antwerp and how much progress they could make in just two weeks. It was not really profitable, and we both had a second job.
A few years later we were contacted by Forem with the question whether we wanted to cooperate with them in the framework of the Plan Marshall. We wanted to take on the challenge and this was the beginning of a great adventure. As the only partner school in Flanders, the number of students increased from 6 to 30 students per week. We had to find a new building that was big enough – more teachers needed to come, a secretary, someone to organize the activities, more host families. The Forem wanted us to be able to hire more students, we just wanted less.
After about 20 years, now we can say that the circle is complete. Thanks to the smaller scholarships, the number of participants has fallen dramatically. Some weeks we are back with 6 students, usually there are 15, the maximum is 25. That is a very nice feeling. Fear of speaking is almost non-existent in such a small group. And outside the lessons, all sorts of activities are done together.
Antwerp is a multicultural city, and that is also the case at cosmocollege. Last year there were students from Spain, Italy, Germany, Sweden, England, Ireland, Portugal, Poland, Austria, …
Cosmocollege is a school for 18-year-olds who are motivated and looking for a school where every student is personally guided and where they feel “at home”.