Learning to integrate - start with the langauge

You may find it amazing or ridiculous to hear that expats can live in Amsterdam city and never really integrate with Dutch culture. The Dutch are very willing to meet expats, particularly those who come from English speaking countries, on their own terms. In all the years I have been living here, I have never been forced to learn Dutch language until very recently. This has made me incredibly lazy at getting around to learning Dutch. I actually managed to dodge paid-for integration courses by the government, because they believed all the excuses I gave them for not doing it. That was until last year when they caught up with me and my 25 year old case officer put the hard word on me to get my integration certificate. That girl could teach professional salespeople a thing or two about negotiating. I first met her all cocky and arrogant that I was going to get out of doing any such thing as an integration certificate, only to have her break me down almost in tears, begging not to be thrown out of the country, and that I would do anything she wanted, including doing the integration certificate.

Though I have passed my integration exams and got my certificate, I am not yet fully conversationally fluent. That's this years goal. By the time we get to New Years Eve 2017, I am going to be speaking Dutch as my day to day language.

Success, eh!