02 Jan Student Noa speaking
“My favourite books are comics, in Dutch and in English. And I also watch Ketnet a lot.” (Noa, 10 years old, Philadelphia)
Noa is 10 years old, lives in Philadelphia (USA) and has a Belgian mother. Noa has been taking lessons with D-Teach for years. She started reading and writing in the first grade with teacher Lieselot and is now, five years later, already in the sixth grade. Now she is being taught by teacher Steffi.
“In the lessons we start with a word package. Then we do ‘four in a row’ or another game, I have to explain the words and make sentences and we practice the spelling.
The easiest thing about Dutch? Verb and subject! At first, I didn’t understand anything about that, but now I do. Steffi explained that I have to make a yes/no question and then the verb is always at the beginning. We learned that last year and now we repeat it every now and then. This year we are just starting to learn that at my American school. I can do that very well and the rest finds that difficult. So, I learned it first in Dutch and then in English.”
In Dutch lessons, Noa works at the level of the sixth grade. In her American school she is in the fifth grade. Despite the fact that she only gets half an hour of lessons a week, she can make a lot of progress. The lessons are always individual and therefore completely tailor made. Sometimes we have to make time to solidify the basics and sometimes we can go faster.
“You know what I find most difficult? Reading out loud. I can read faster if I can read quietly. At school, the teachers take a reading test to see what level I have, and then I have to read out loud. On the test, I have a lower level than I actually have. That’s annoying because then I’m only allowed to read the easy texts.”
Noa doesn’t only feel like she’s American, she also feels like she’s a real Belgian. For example, she is crazy about Ketnet, the children’s and youth channel of VRT.
“Too bad my darling series has stopped: ‘de vijver’. Now there’s ‘4ever’ in its place. I’ve also watched the Gala of the Golden K’s”.
Noa goes to Belgium twice a year: once in winter for the holidays and once in summer. Then she goes with the whole family to the Ardennes.
“We have a very big family and we have to rent a very big house. I have 14 cousins on one side. My mum even has more than forty! My Belgian grandmother and grandfather also come to Philadelphia twice a year: in autumn and spring.”
Noa’s mommy’s family lives in Belgium and her daddy is American.
“Since I was born, my mama’s been talking Flemish to me. My daddy doesn’t know Dutch at all. He can only say ‘tafel’ and ‘rap’. And ‘het eten is klaar’. But he can’t roll his /r/ and then that sounds a little weird.”
Visual artist, that’s what Noa wants to be later! She enjoys making movies, programming and making music videos. Together with some friends she started a band. Noa plays the drums and can also sing well. She already made a music clip of one of their songs. “Later I want my own YouTube channel. Now mommy doesn’t let me,” she says.
“Noa, is there anything other D-Teach kids should know?”
“Three words: It. Is. Great.”