One important thing to know and understand about Sweden is that knowing the language can help you a lot. Don’t get me wrong – Swedes are fluent in English and you won’t really need to speak Swedish much in day-to-day activities. But I have always believed that two ice-breakers exist to immerse yourself in any culture – food and language. I came to this country with the intention of finding work for myself, since I am not a full-time student like my husband. If you, like me, are a dependent and want to build a life for yourself here, please know that it helps immensely to learn Svenska.
And even if you’re not a dependent – the possibility of a part time job to earn something extra on the side doesn’t hurt, does it?!
Here are a few tips shared by Christiane Ederyd, who teaches Swedish I and II at Dalarna University. She is a German who fell in love with Sweden 8 years ago and chose to move here for good.
“I started learning Swedish in Germany, so I could already speak a little when I first came here. I think what helped me the most, was to ask Swedes to speak with me in Svenska only. I found that it was much easier to explore Sweden and get to know the people here, simply because I could speak their language. I felt more and more at home. Simple chores like buying groceries became so much easier!
For me as a German it was fairly easy to learn Swedish. The languages are really similar. I think the biggest tips I would give are to be curious and keep learning everyday. This is not like being forced to learn a foreign language in school – it has to be your decision and choice. As a practice method, read books in Swedish, watch TV/listen to the radio. Most importantly, keep practicing whenever you are around Swedes/people who can speak the language.” -Christiane Ederyd
Personally, I love learning languages and so it was an easy decision for me. I am hopeful that this will enable me to find work in Sweden so I can have a busy, packed routine each week! As my friend Eva said to me – nothing like financial stability and a routine to fight the (sometimes solemn) Swedish winters!
So I urge you to try and learn Svenska while you’re here. After all, it never hurts to know something new!