When I arrived in Sweden for the first time, I was a bit surprised to see that most of the people here are fluent in English. At the same time, Swedish language is prevalent everywhere. You don’t have to worry about studying in Sweden if you don’t know the language at all ( I know couple of words right now). But knowing Swedish can give you some competitive advantages. You might get a good summer job, you can easily know the Swedish way of living, you can get involved in the local community works – the possibilities are endless.
I came here for my graduate study with my spouse. Everything started so fast and I became busy with my study. In the meantime, I got surprised that my spouse started learning the language using a mobile app – Duolingo. Later he enrolled to SFI course, the elaboration is “Svenska För Invandrare (Swedish for immigrants)”. Here I am writing about his journey to learn Swedish.
Before coming to Sweden, it might be a good step to learn common phrases and words. There are many apps which can be a good resource for you. The most popular app is “Babbel”, but this is a paid app, which is kind of a bummer for many. Even though this is a fantastic app and if you are serious about learning Swedish, this is one of the best apps available out there.
Another good app for learning Swedish is “Duolingo”. My spouse uses it extensively and he recommends it for learning vocabulary. The best part of Duolingo is that it is a free app and it has a tremendously active user group who are helping each other. This app is not only good for leaning Swedish, it can be used to learn many other languages.
There are other free apps like memrise – which can be used as learning vocabulary.
There are so many websites which are rich with Swedish learning resources. “Learning Swedish” is one of them. SFIPodd is helpful if you know at least the most common words and construct basic sentences. There are so many YouTube channels. My spouse used Svenska Havet when he just started learning.
SFI and SAS
This is a Swedish learning platform if you have a personnumer (Swedish personal number- you can get it after applying to Swedish Tax Agency). This is the first step to get formal Swedish learning. It has four levels – A, B, C and D, all of them has some sub levels. If you have a college degree you will be considered as C level student. Then after passing C you have to enroll for D level. You can meet people from all over the world in SFI class. After completion of SFI you can enroll for advanced study like SAS(Svenska som andraspråk – Swedish as other language). Best thing about these courses is – you can get them without paying a buck.
This was a whole new concept for me. Språkcafé is a meeting place for language enthusiasts and there are tables for every language. For example – if you are enthusiast about French, you can sit on a table where you will invite people who are interested in learning French or you can join a table where people are having conversation in French. You can join people who are interested in Swedish and you can learn Swedish there. This is a good way to meet new people too. Språkcafé is a regular event in Dalarna University campus, at Borlänge biblioteket and at some churches.
Books and films
Sweden is rich with lots of libraries. Not only in big cities, but also you can find amazing libraries in small towns. You can borrow books written or translated in Swedish. Sweden is a country of film director like Ingmar Bergman. You can learn Swedish by watching his works. Contemporary sitcoms and tv shows can be a good resource to learn Swedish. There is an app to access Swedish tv programs which is called Svt. You can install it and watch Swedish television programs in your mobile or iPad with subtitle. My favorite Swedish program is “Moderna Tider (modern times)”
There are so many podcast channels targeted for Swedish language learners. You can subscribe to these channels. I recommend “Radio Sweden på lätt svenska (Radio Swedin in easy Swedish)”. There are other good channels, for example SFIpodd, P1 Dokumentär. If you are interested in IT, you can listen to IT bytes – which is a good Swedish IT podcast.
But the most important way to learn Swedish is to talk to people. Speak as much as possible, make new friends and read as much as possible. Learning a new language requires rigorous practice and effort.
Thanks for today.
Hej då (Goodbye in Swedish).