VB is a good language; TONS of people use it. I happen to prefer curly braces, but not everyone does
As to arduino: you can’t really just remove an arduino AVR and use it elsewhere; it’s still an arduino. What you want is an AVR (or PIC) development board with an in-system programmer OR a dedicated programmer. The board I had is just for prototyping, as that specific chip isn’t available in DIP.
Check out the other things that MikroElektronika has on their site. You’ll probably find a dev board that works for you.
It’s a whole other world, and not as beginner-friendly as Gadgeteer/NETMF.