I've been taking Dutch lessons for two straight years now. It's been a commitment to continue with my course, but it's been very important to me, mostly because I've felt that I needed to learn Dutch alongside the Little Man and share in that struggle (and joy) of his adjustment to life as a foreigner. Now, after two years, five textbooks, and endless patience from my fantastic instructor, it's time for me to put my new vocabulary where my mouth is: I've signed up for the Staatsexamen NT2 - the national exam for Dutch as a second language.
Up til now, taking the Staatsexamen has been a lovely little fairy of a daydream goal: nice to think about and work toward, but conveniently very far off in the future. But with having done so much work it's become clear that it's time to put all this practice into more concrete use, and hopefully pick up a snazzy official certificate while I'm at it. So, on Monday I registered for the exam taking place on the 22nd and 23rd of June.
On one hand, it's nice to know I have an official deadline to work towards. On the other hand, I. am. freaking. out. Sure, my instructor wouldn't have encouraged me to sign up if she didn't feel I was ready, and I wouldn't have registered if I didn't think I was able to do it. But, still. There's a 2-day test and time limits and people judging you while you fumble around with a number 2 pencil. The idea is flashing me back to sitting through the SAT, and thinking about high school is not exactly soothing my nerves. Like back then, I know that I've come a long way and I've learned quite a bit but I also know that there is so much work left to do and so much more to improve. It's hard to balance out in my head what's "good enough" for the exam versus my ideal. Working through that is just as much part of my preparation process as reviewing my sentence structure.
I have 10 weeks of prep time ahead of me, and I know I'll make it out on the other side of this test. I don't know what sort of shape I'll be in, but I know I'll come out of it. The other side of this promises a bit more confidence, but also knowing that I've accomplished something pretty big for myself and for Little Man. Wish me luck as I fall down the rabbit hole of studying in the coming weeks.