It can always be challenging to branch out from your comfort zone and strike out on your own to experience new activities. Up to this point, I must say I have been a little hesitant when it came to exploring activities that were in Swedish. However, since passing my level 2 exam, I have realized that the only way to truly improve my level is to immerse myself in Swedish speaking activities.
One of my New Years Resolutions was to improve my Swedish and to take advantage of the tools offered by the University. I have been challenging myself to order coffees, lunches and other small things in Swedish at places like Espresso House, the local sushi restaurant near my apartment and at the grocery stores. Swedes are excellent at English, so there is nothing to be nervous about if you can’t complete a thought in Swedish. While I make some mistakes, I am gaining confidence in expressing myself in a new language which is the main goal!
In one of my older posts, I mentioned that I was joining a gym. I decided that this would be a fun way to begin to try Swedish activities, so I decided to join a group exercise class. These classes are taught completely in Swedish, and definitely use some challenging vocabulary! While I was a little stressed at first, after about 10 minutes, I started to get into the routine and repetition. As expected, I did not understand everything, but it felt good at the end of the class to have put the effort in, both physically and intellectually! I will continue to join this group for classes, since I was able to partner with another participant who clarified any instructions I could not understand. This is also a great way to meet new people.
On a less physical level, I have also subscribed to Netflix here in Sweden, and have access to many cartoons, movies and television shows that have subtitles! I have enjoyed watching Swedish cartoons in the mornings to improve my vocabulary. I can personally recommend: Smurfarna (The Smurfs), Krambjörnarna (The Care Bears) and Mästerkattens Äventyr (Puss n’ Boots) to name a few. As I get more confident and develop my listening skills, I can also switch to more advanced programs. I am becoming more familiar with how sentences are constructed and improving my listening skills every day.
I am also hoping to participate in some of the language cafés that Frank-Paul spoke about last semester, and am looking to get a group of friends together to participate with me.
Swedish classes (levels 1-6) are starting early February for International Students, and registration is on January 30th, so don’t miss the chance to register. Remember, you need to bring a valid student ID card so they can check to see that you passed the previous exam if you are registering for levels 2-6)!
For students who want to go the extra mile with Swedish, SFI offers municipal Swedish courses that are available for internationals looking to learn Swedish as a foreign language! At SFI, there is a placement test, so study up a little on your verbs, grammar, sentence structure and listening skills. Make sure you register at the SFI office in your municipality, even if you want or need to study in another facility. You will have to give reasons why you want to study in another location. These reasons can include: work related schedule problems, school schedule problems and so on.
All in all, I have found the Swedish community to be very accepting, and as I gain more confidence from these experiences, I try even harder to continue learning. The only way to full gain skills in a new language is to surround yourself by native or near-native speakers. Good luck with your Swedish studies!