International residents can get paired with local Groningers to practice their Dutch and make friends
By Margery Didier
There are many internationals that have settled in Groningen and are looking for more opportunities to integrate with local Groningers, but it can seem awkward to know how to approach someone. My Local Friend is a volunteer organisation in Groningen that was formed two and a half year ago, to help with this. The purpose of the organisation is to provide internationals residing in Groningen with language support by pairing them up for one- on- one meeting with native Dutch speakers, young and old.
Besides offering language support, the locals also take their new pal on walks around the city, so giving them a personal introduction of Groningen. During a thirty minute introduction meeting, My Local Friend finds the right match based on personal preferences, hobbies and interests, and away you go!
Participants that are interested should be able to hold a simple conversation in Dutch at a minimum A2 level to participate. The organisation has already matched around 200 pairs, and Eva Magnuskova, the project manager at City Central behind the project, says that it benefits people “not only from speaking some Dutch on a regular basis, but developing a friendship over time and getting to know the city through the eyes of the locals and internationals’’.
Some locals really enjoy this concept, and have chosen to be matched with more than one international. This opportunity is available to anyone that is interested, with internationals paying a one time fee of 15 euros. If this programme sounds like something you could be interested in, visit their website and register.
Image via My Local Friend