YES! we need to prepare for it in order to maximize the learning.. In fact, most of my friends in the Dutch summer class did study by themselves. But some might did less because of time management.
How can I prepare for the Dutch summer school?
Do not learn the grammar in the summer school!
It sounds strange. It does not mean you should not learn the grammar at all. What I want emphasize here is you better go through all basic Dutch grammar before the summer course. A teacher still explains grammatical rules but these time would be minimized in order to secure the time for the speaking practice. A teacher assumes you have studies these before.
Do memorize vocabularies as much as possible
Memorize vocabularies as much as possible. Especially beginner needs to memorize at least 500 words. My smartphone application indicate number of vocabularies based on the level of learner. In other way to say, if a learner claims s/he reaches A2 level, s/he must know around 1200 words.
A1 (Beginner) 500 words level
A2 (Elementary) 501-1250
B1 (Lower Intermediate) 1251-2250
B2 (Upper Intermediate) 2251-3500
C1 (advanced) 3501-5000
Once learner reach certain level, some says we can guess from the context. I disagree with this idea. This must be the last resort. So, we, learner must lesser unknown vocabularies.
Question here is how we can memorize these number of words? If most of Dutch language leaner have already experienced to study the second language, we may have own our ways to do so.
Based on my experience learning English, until reaching certain words level, it will be easy to memorize with a sample sentence. But once I reached certain level, it does not work that much. When I need to know certain jargon, I may need to memorize the vocabularies.
Well, some people might say doing workbook is ineffective because it makes us bored and it eventually lowers our motivation. I do disagree with this. I still think it is very helpful because Doing workbook helps us to aware the grammatical rule. And if you include speaking practice at the same time when you check the answer, you can learn and practice both the grammar and speaking.
Another point I want to raise is the learner feel his or her achievement if s/he finishes one workbook. I believe a sense of achievement is important.
Do watch or listen Dutch
Watch or listen Dutch TV, Youtube video, familiarize the sounds is important to avoid the situation a learner being overwhelmed by unknown foreign sounds. My level of Dutch proficiency is not high enough to enjoy these options yet but I nowadays start watching strange Dutch TV programs anything under RTL5 TV such as Adam Zkt. Eva. These TV shows made me surprised a lot... (but it is more on learning something Dutch people not language...)
However, for the beginner, I cannot recommend it that much. Beginner has to know more vocabularies. So, for beginner, better read around books for children rather than youtube contents.
Do speak with Dutch friend
Oh, if you have such a friend or someone, you may think you do not need to go to school. I do not think so. They are your (boy or girl) friends or husband and wife. So they do not want to correct your grammatical mistakes and pronunciation.
Rome was not built in a day
Several websites mentioned how to measure our progress looking at numbers of hours.
Here is the table which is mention the relation between level of proficiency and number of hours.
A1 proficiency: 60-100 hours
A2 proficiency: 180-200 hours
B1 proficiency: 350-400 hours
B2 proficiency: 500-650 hours
C1 proficiency: 700-900 hours
C2 proficiency: 1.000-1.200 hours
But this is just an indication. If learner's mother tongue or official language is close to Dutch, such as German and English, they may learn faster than other language group. I am a Japanese, so I have to give myself bit generous time to reach certain level.
Well, A journey of a thousand miles begins with a single step.
Other articles - Dutch summer school 2016 -
1. Why I need to learn Dutch?
12. Preparation-MUST do! before joining Dutch summer school
14. Epilogue: After the camp - what remains