I was still in Spain when I heard about inburgering for the first time. A good friend of mine had to take a Dutch language exam before she moved to The Netherlands to live with her boyfriend. She followed a course with a Dutch professor in Colombia for more than two months, she passed the exam and then she was here, waiting to start the inburgering course. Inburgering means becoming a citizen (burger= citizen).
I come from Colombia, and before moving to The Netherlands I lived in Spain for 4 years together with my Dutch husband. Because I am married to a European Union national, I enjoy the freedom of transit within the Schengen territory for at least three months. That I knew. What I came to learn is that it would also change my status when entering the Netherlands. While still national of a third country (Non EU countries), I didn't need to present the exam or to follow a course once here. I did want though. That was my intention when I went to ROC Leiden and asked for a Dutch course. They told me about the different courses they offer, the inburgering process and the possibility that all these courses could be paid for by the municipality. They directed me to the social service office and then I was offered to attend a language course with my good performance as the only consideration.
Because of our previously residence in a European country following the inburgering procedure was not mandatory for me, but since I was interested in learning the language, I could attend the course which would be paid for by the local government. After checking out my academic background, they decided to give me the personal budget, which is no other thing than freedom to choose the school of my preference to follow a course, with the only condition to choose the best one. The language center at the University of Leiden was the best option.