Member Profile: Jenneke, from The Netherlands

Published on
July 12, 2021
Updated on
November 15, 2022
min read
This article may contain affiliate links
Written by
Alastair Budge

Meet Jenneke, a curious mind from The Netherlands. Discover how she started speaking "International" English, and why she decided to focus on activating her "passive" vocabulary.

Member Profile: Jenneke, from The Netherlands
Table of contents



Mother tongue


Lives in

The Netherlands

Can you tell me a bit about yourself?

38 years old, mother of two, advisor in Sustainable Agriculture

Can you tell me about your language learning journey?

As all Dutch people I came into contact with the English language at an early age, since our radio channels are full of English pop songs and movies are normally subtitled rather than dubbed. Studying English at school has led to a pretty good level of understanding of the language. During my university degree half of the courses were given in English and I was in contact with students from all over the world on a daily basis. But since most of us were non-native speaking, we ended up speaking a sort of ‘international english’ with a rather small vocabulary range.

What have you found the hardest thing about learning English?

To switch from my daily Dutch and Spanish speaking (our second language at home)-mode to English speaking mode for the occasional business meetings. I can read, listen and understand scientific articles, literary novels and movies with very little effort. And writing is also fine as I’ve got time to think about the wording. But when I have to answer questions or recap a discussion when facilitating a focus group, my speech is not as fluent as I would wish for... where are all those words hidden in my brain when I need them?

What's your main goal for improving your English?

To get more fluent in speech. Being able to activate my passive vocabulary.

Why did you decide to become a member of Leonardo English?

I love radio and podcasts as you can listen to them during household chores, walks etc. So I asked my employer to pay for a Leonardo English membership, which he readily accepted.

I am very content with the way Alastair has given me advice on what would be a more effective way of improving my English. Some days I only have time to do some Shadowing, which nonetheless helps me prepare for meetings. I hugely enjoyed a 30 Day Challenge in April where I recorded an audio every day.

What's your favourite English Learning for Curious Minds episode (and why)?

I particularly appreciate the episodes on Fair trade, Rare earths and other environmental issues. Besides, I love the ones on important historic movements like the Suffragettes and the Revolution series. And finally, a few editions on former epidemics and vaccines were very informative during the Corona outbreak!  

Alastair from Leonardo English says:

Jenneke has been such a great member of the community. The fact that she is continually working on "activating her passive vocabulary" is inspiring, and she is a great example of the fact that language learning is a lifelong journey.
I'm glad that she has such a forward-thinking employer, and that they were happy to invest in a Leonardo English membership for her.

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