So, all of you have probably realized by now that “Hej” means something like “Hi”. But when you study here in Stockholm for two years you might consider to expand your Swedish knowledge a bit more…
Do I really need to learn Swedish?
No, it is not “necessary”, or let me put it like this: You will easily find your way without knowing any Swedish. Courses are in English, the cinema is in English and almost every Swede speaks English very well.
Why do I study Swedish anyway?
For me it is a matter of integration and independence. There are situations where it is helpful or just nice to know Swedish: Understanding “Do you need a bag?” at the cashier, knowing why the train does not arrive in the subway station, chatting with the old neighbor in the elevator or impressing and amusing Swedes at a party. Yes, you can ask for help and you will always get help but I personally prefer not outing myself as a “foreigner” all the time. I also chose to study in Sweden because I like the country, culture and people. To get the “whole” experience, I want to learn at least the basics of the language, too.
Where can I study Swedish?
Stockholm university offers free Swedish classes for all levels. When you arrive without any prior knowledge, as I did, you will first need to take the beginners class. In my course there were 300 (yes, 300) other students, many of them on exchange. This is not ideal since you do not really get to practice your speaking and cannot receive any individual feedback. However, it is also understandable that with such a high demand, it would be impossible to offer smaller classes. The course does give you quite a broad basis and ends with a final exam. If you pass the exam you can precede to the next course, which is then much, much smaller (around 20 students). That’s why, if you are really serious about learning Swedish, I would recommend you to study a bit in beforehand so that you can immediately enter the second course.
I must say, I can understand quite a bit already after three months now. However, my own vocabulary and speaking skills are not that great yet. The problem is mainly that I am usually busy with my management courses and therefore only have a very limited time to concentrate on Swedish. But as long as I can see that I am progressing – I am satisfied!