I can speak Dutch!

Dear fellows readers, 
after four months of intensive study (at home) I am able to speak Dutch!!! 
Best of all: I didn't spend any money on it! 

I have already tried to study Dutch on my own in 2013, reading a book called Teach yourself, Dutch by Gerdi Quist & Dennis Strik but it didn't really work. Indeed I didn't have the audio CD! 
Anyway it was very useful to figure out that the Dutch grammar is not as difficult as I was expecting. I improved my reading skills and I expanded my vocabulary but I was far away from being able to speak the language.

Since I have been unemployed I had plenty of time to focus on this challenge.
Here are all the materials I have used:

- Duolingo.com for Dutch: it is a website where you can learn languages for free, it works like a game and every correct answer is a point gained. You have to translate, repeat, listen and write. I have completed the whole program in the beginning of February but I was not immediately ready to start speaking the language. Every day I am using it in the morning to refresh my knowledge and I set my daily goal to 50 points (therefore 50 correct answer);

- Oefenen.nl: every day I do a couple of chapters. It is a tool developed to help immigrants to learn to speak Dutch in everyday context: work, communication between family and school, health, accounting, ecc...I find it extremely helpful because there are many explicative video in Dutch, thus you can improve your listening skill.
- Contact, Nederlands voor anderstaligen 1: it is a book that I have found in my house. There is a textbook, a workbook and audio CDs. It helped me to reach the level A2. My vocabulary became much wider, I made a lot of exercises and I improved my writing skills. Still my speaking skill was poor.

- Intertaal Taal Vitaal: another book that I have found in my house. I am just doing all the exercises in the workbook because there is the CD with it. The textbook doesn't have it. I think it's good to refresh the knowledge that I have acquired with the other book. Indeed this book it's for the same beginners level  but there are different expressions which I didn't encounter before.

- Babbel.com: I have suscribed long time ago to learn Dutch, it was 2012. So I started when I first moved here. It helps you to memorize how to spell words but since they are all of them loose, with no context whatsoever, it's very difficult to remember in the everyday life. In 2012 I have learnt 1600 words but I couldn't use them! I was only able to read signs in the street...I am still using it everyday to refresh my pronunciation. (I have used Babbel from Italian to Dutch, the program from English to Dutch is much better).

- Michel Thomas method: I have download the whole program in mp3s at the end of 2012. I have listen to all the tracks but it didn't work. This method actually pushes you to speak, it gives you the tool to use the language. I was listening it while I was biking to go to work, that's why it didn't work. You should be very focus and stop the audio to provide your own answer, then you can press play again and check if it is correct. Also I thought it didn't work because I was not familiar with those words, I missed to see them written. My visual memory is much stronger than my audio memory. After the books and Duolingo I did it all over again, focusing on the tasks and then it worked.

- Attending Languages cafés: I have been so far to 4 meetings. February 6th, March 13th, April 17th and 29th. The first and the second meetings where organized by Katakura, a school of Dutch for expats. As soon as you step in, they ask you what is your level and then you can practice in a small group with the supervision of a Dutch teacher. The third event was a sort of language party. Everyone could practice every language. I have met some people who are really willing to practice and I am gonna meet them for social activities like going out for dinners or clubbing. The last event was small but very useful. I was in a small group with a Dutch person who was supervising and we were asked to formulate some questions and a pitch for something that we wanted to do or to experience. I really loved these languages cafés! A good chance to practice and to make new friends.

A week ago I have met my Dutch ex-boyfriend and I could speak with him in Dutch for a whole hour!