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Okay, well, it wasn't an unexpected test... but it WAS unexpectedly hard for a placement exam. The city of Haarlem offers, or will offer until the governmental changes getting rid of the program kick in, a language course free* to all immigrants. In five years, if and when I'm ready to integrate into Dutch society and become a citizen, I have to take an integration exam, part of which consists of speaking to the Queen to declare my loyalty or something like that. They say on the immigration site that this is a very big deal, and they take it very seriously. So anyway, in the meantime, Arno and I had decided that as long as this was still offered, I should take it, because we still speak English at home, and mostly with his parents as well. He translates things on TV for me, and I'm generally not getting enough immersion to pick it up quickly, and have kind of been slacking on my Rosetta Stone lessons. Bad me.
*Free, as in Arno pays 280e for me to take the course, and then I pass, it's refunded to him.

When we spoke to someone at the city, she put me in the highest test group... I think this may have been a mistake, or that she read too much into what Arno's mother said about my ability to say that the chicken was yummy. I was told repeatedly not to worry, that this was only a placement test, and there were no passsing or failing grades or anything like that. For the most part, I was not worried, but the constant reminder from people telling me not to worry probaby got to me after a while.

I think that this test was geared for people who already knew a bit of Dutch. There were four sections: reading and writing, speaking, listening, and what I can only define as pattern recognition. While I could pretty much parse what was being asked of me, I did not know enough Dutch to answer the reading or speaking questions asked of me. I probably did a little better on the listening comprehension, in which a conversation about a doctor prescribing medication to a patient was played, and I was then asked questions about it. At least that part contained some words I had encountered before... though I could barely remember them at that point, I was so shook up from doing so poorly on the other parts of the test. I only did really well on the pattern-recognition part of the test. THAT I aced, at least. It involved completing pattens in text congugation, numeric patterns, and picture completion. So they'll probably figure that I'm smart even if I don't know Dutch at all. (Rather, I've learned quite a bit from Rosetta Stone, but that just wasn't the kind of thing they were looking for.)

I was pretty upset about the whole thing, and cried on Joke and Tom, who took me and picked me up from the test, and afterward had me over at their place for tea. Joke complained to Arno that even the building seemed very emotionally cold when she dropped me off there, and what kind of stupid test was that anyway, when they already knew that I don't speak the language?! I'm with Joke on this one. I've had a bad experience with my Spanish placement in college, where I knew too much to be put in a lower level, even though I would have preferred it in order to pick up a form I had never learned in high school. (My high school prof was Mexican, and apparantly the 'vosotros' verb form is not used there.. this caused me a LOT of grief in college-level Spanish, which is why I opted for Japanese rather than take more Spanish for my language requirement. Trauma.) I'm rather hoping they put me in at a beginner's level this time. I think anything higher would be a disaster.

Since I wasn't there for the entire event, I don't have much to add to this. I think Beedoo! will do great learning the language, since she's smart and seems to have a good knack for languages. I am kind of disappointed that the experience they gave her was not exactly the most positive one. I hope the course will be better.

If not, I'll just have to glare at them a lot! After extracting them from Beedoo!'s jaws, of course.