The purpose of the new Hoi Holland! app is to help international students master the Dutch language. The editorial staff of Punt had the app tested by students to find out what they think of it.
Hi Holland! is a game that focuses on students who have only recently arrived in the Netherlands. The game is intended to help them become familiar with the Dutch language and culture. Using Hoi Holland! players get to practise simple dialogues in realistic situations, ranging from the purchase of a public transport chip card at Schiphol Airport to ordering a cup of coffee.
Students’ opinions on the use of the application differ greatly. Giancarlo Angela, fourth-year student of International Business and Management Studies in Breda, finds the game difficult to understand. He comes from Aruba and has been learning Dutch since primary school. His command of the language, however, has not proven to be very helpful when playing the game. ‘When you first start you don’t really know what to do, this only becomes apparent as the game progresses. I think it would be better for the intro to be in English.’
Wenou Cai, first-year student of International Business and Management Studies in Breda, came to the Netherlands from Germany. He does not think that the use of the app will help people speak the language better. ‘It depends on your level of proficiency. Apart from that, different people have different ways of learning. Some people find it easiest to pick up things by reading text, while others prefer to hear it. The game could do with a little more variety.’
The main feature that distinguishes the app from a Dutch dictionary are the lessons on culture. Students learn to order a portion of ‘bitterballen’ (a typical Dutch snack) and get to know all there is to know about cycling. In addition, they get information about Dutch customs such as the King’s Birthday or going to the pub for a beer. Giancarlo thinks this is the smart way to get people acquainted with Dutch culture. Giancarlo: ‘You learn about typically Dutch things that really come in handy when living here.’
Max Rebers from Germany is studying International Business and Management in the Netherlands. He is not overly excited about the app, apart from the feature that helps you learn numbers. Max: ‘That’s a pretty nifty feature, especially when you travel a lot by train.’ Max does not know yet whether he would recommend the Hoi Holland! app to his friends. ‘Were I asked to grade the app, I’d give it a pass mark’, Max said.
Should we have sparked your curiosity, the game is available for free download for iOS and Android devices.