I was still in Spain when I heard for the first time about the inburgering. A good friend of mine had to do a Dutch language exam before she moved to The Netherlands to live with her boyfriend. She followed a course with a Dutch professor in Colombia for more than two months, she passed the exam and then she was here, waiting to start the inburgering course.
I come from Colombia, but I was living in Spain for the last 4 years together with my Dutch husband, thanks to it, I enjoy the freedom of movement within the Shengen territory for at least three months, and it also changed my status when enter the Netherlands. Even if I still national of a third country (Non EU countries), I didn't need to present the exam or to follow a course once here. I did want though. That was my intention when I went to ROC Leiden and ask for a Dutch course. They told me about the different courses they offer, the inburgering process and the possibility that all this courses could be paid by the city hall. The forwarded me to the social service office and then I was offer to do a language course with the only consideration of my good performance.
They explained me how I was not abide by the law to follow the inburgering procedure (because of our previously residence in an European country), but since I was interested in learn the language, they will pay it for me. After checking out my academic background, they decided to give me the personal budget, wchich means no other thing that I could choose the school of my preference to follow a course, with the only condition to choose the best one. Leiden University taalcentrum was the best option.
Since January I've been taking Dutch lessons twice a week, three hours a day, plus several hours of homework. And since April I will be doing it even more intensively (4 days a week).
One of my classmates is in the same position than me and she will be also doing the intensive course with me. We are more than pleased with the Government policy to support the foreigners to learn the language and even to make it mandatory for all the people living or willing to live here.
I must say, in honour to the truth, that not all the people is as lucky as I am, and not all the City Halls have the same inburgering policy as the Gemeente of Leiden. I've recently met a lovely girl from Russia who had to do 30 interviews for her inburgering course. She could make herself clear in Dutch, despite she was not happy at all about the way the inburgering course in her school is been developed. She agrees with the inburgering as a mandatory process for all the immigrants, but she thinks the whole idea must be reviewed. She told me how after only one month of learning the language they started to studying the political, health care and educational systems, amongst other topics. She didn't feel prepared enough to jump out from the “Indefinite article / Present tense” to discuss the political system in The Netherlands. She would like to study instead more vocabulary, grammar and pronunciation, so she can really feel an independent-user of the language.
Happily, the shiny star is still upon me and even when I have not been such lucky with my job hunting, I am following a plan to achieve the job of my dreams. And I am sure sooner or later I will do it.