If you are going to do an internship in Curaçao, is it advisable to learn a few words of Papiamento?

It is really true, in Curaçao almost everyone speaks Dutch, whether or not fluent. From the friendly shop assistants behind the cash registers, the bartender at the best Happy Hours to the passers-by on the street, you can get along with your Dutch well everywhere. You can communicate perfectly in English with the small group of residents on Curaçao who do not speak Dutch.

Besides that local residents on Curaçao speak Dutch, the native language on Curaçao is actually Papiamentu; this is a mixture of various words and corruptions thereof from among others the Portuguese, Spanish, English and Dutch languages, necessarily originated around the 17th century by the slaves who then lived on Curaçao. These slaves were taken by, among others, the Dutch from all over the world and they invented the language Papiamento to communicate with each other.

Why would you speak Papiamento?

Despite the fact that Curaçao is an independent island within the Kingdom of the Netherlands and is in fact Dutch, you will really do an internship in a completely different (island) country, with its own customs and local customs.

How nice is it when you walk into your internship in the morning, still sleeping from your eyes, and say with a big smile on your face: "Bon dia, Bon dia!" (Good morning, good morning!). On Mondays we also add “Bon Siman” to it. With this we wish someone a pleasant week. In practice we then say “Bon dia i bon siman” (Good morning and good week).

Speaking Papiamentu is certainly not a requirement to be able to do an internship in Curaçao, let alone to succeed for your internship. But it is simply appreciated by the locals. How nice is it to be able to greet someone, wish them a good morning when you arrive at your internship and wish that same person a nice afternoon / evening (Felis a tardi / nochi) when you leave in Papiamento.

You too will soon say "Bon, Bon!"

Once you have found your internship on Curaçao, you will start looking for your accommodation in the form of a student house ore apartment. If you have not yet found an internship, we recommend it wholeheartedly internship agency CuraStage They always have great internship vacancies available and guide you from A to Z with, among other things, your permit application etc.

After a while you will notice that living and doing an internship in Curaçao is actually easy; always nice weather, a casual relaxed atmosphere and the “I don't have to do today what I can do tomorrow” vibe that hangs there.

The local word "Bon" (official pronunciation is more like bong) is used for the word, the sentence: "Good", "I understand", "Okay", "Fine", "Great!" etc. a telling word. If someone asks how you are doing, you can answer "Mi ta bon!" (I'm doing well). But even if someone asks you if you would like a beer, you of course say Bon, Bon !!

So we say take the trouble to learn a few words of Papiamento, it just takes some time and the appreciation you get in return is enormous. You will find common words on the CuraStage website.