Something Swedish

Swedish for Immigrants: “svenskundervisning för invandrare”


Finally, the time has come! Kind of. I went to the “Vuxenutbildningen,” the school for adult education, to sign up for  SFI classes so I can start my journey into Svenska (Swedish). Thankfully I have a friend who is familiar with the school and accompanied me. As I suspected, classes did start yesterday. What I didn’t expect is that they were full. I was only eligible to start SFI a few days ago, so there’s nothing I could do. I guess you never really think about how many people are new to a country and need to learn the language at any one time. Thankfully the next class starts either the first week in March or the last week of February, which isn’t bad at all. I’ll get a letter in the mail when the class is formed, it will be five days a week for four hours a day, the time is to be determines but it is either 8:00 – 12:00 or 12:15 – 4:15. Not sure which one I would prefer, honestly. It’s about a 20 minute walk, maybe I’ll get a bike.

The meeting was simple enough, basic information and a signature. I didn’t understand why they needed the number of  years I’ve spent in school and what job position I held in America, but then it became clear. There are different levers of immigrants ranging from having never gone to school, to well educated. The fact of  the matter is you can’t learn a language if you don’t have any, or very little, formal education. There are more things that they need to learn aside from how to order food at a restaurant. I guess that’s something else I had never thought of. So, the class I will be in is “C,” being the more ‘advanced’ class, you can say. That level requires 490 hours of work to finish, which equates  to about 25 weeks of 20 hours a week.

On top of finally learning the language that will open up lots of doors and break down lots of barriers, it is free. And as if that isn’t good enough…that’s not all. Since I am married and have family here and am living here instead of only here to work or go to school, I am qualified to receive a “bonus” for learning Swedish. If I finish the required coursework and pass the exams within 12 months of the first day, I will get a bonus of 12000 SEK ($1,800) – tax free. I couldn’t believe it. I know that universities pay towards student educations in Sweden, but that is different. I didn’t expect it to apply to SFI, talk about extra motivation!

So, in the meantime while I wait until March crawls closer I do have a new way of studying Swedish. The SFI coordinator shared a website to use, which is very similar to Rosetta Stone, but since it is only Swedish it deals with more than just language, such as currency and geography. I have always highly recommended Rosetta Stone as a great way to start learning a new language, and I still do- however it is a bit expensive. They do have demos on the website which I recommend checking out. I took a few screen shots of each program to show you and to compare. Both only use Swedish (or the language you choose in Rosetta Stone), meaning not only are the actual activieties in Swedish but also all menus and questions. Rosetta Stone teaches by slowly introducing new words into the equation, Digitalasparet seems to focus more on learning vocabulary and then placing it in context, but I haven’t used it enough yet to say. Each have a large number of levels, in each one there is another selection of type of exercise or topic. On the left is Rosetta Stone and on the right is Digitalasparet.

So, for the next month I will be studying  using these two programs, I’m excited to explore the new one since I have gone through my first CD (the only one  I have, out of three) of Rosetta Stone and am pretty familiar with the questions and answers in 2 out of 5 of the learning methods. (Reading & reading/listening… I haven’t explored much of the speech and writing aspects yet). Aside from computer programs I always have my trusty books:

22 thoughts on “Swedish for Immigrants: “svenskundervisning för invandrare”

  1. I started in B as I knew so little Swedish. But was done within a month, C done in 3 months and D in a month. There weren’t any bonuses for 12 months completion time when I did it. I has been put in place because many are there just ti get the monthly money and not interested in learning the language. Some have been there for years and just mess about in school, hardly turn up etc. This i know fron experience.

    It’s such a shame but reality I’m afraid. However SFI is a great tool to use. I learned the basics then went on to do Svenska A, B & C which go into more depth. I still think living around Swedes, listening and speaking Swedish as much as possible is the best way to learn properly and advance. So you have a great start!

    Good luck!

  2. Thank you! Its a shame when people don’t try to learn and take advantage of the system and wasting peoples time. I don’t know why they would want to live somewhere when they can’t understand the things around them. I always have the radio on so to be listening to Swedish none stop whenever ‘m in the house alone. And we will be getting cable soon so that I can listen to Swedish TV, or English shows with Swedish subtitles- I think that will help the most. 🙂

  3. Hi Meg, Thanks so much for your nice comment you left on my blog and for including me in your blogroll!! I’m so glad to have found your blog in return and looking forward to following along.

    Just want to say, you are one brave woman…. it’s a hard thing to uproot from everything that’s familiar and move your entire life to a foreign country. It was a difficult transition for me, and I moved to England where everyone speaks my same language (once you get past the accents, of course!) I can’t imagine moving to a country where I can’t understand the anyone. I totally admire you for this! Good luck with your Swedish language lessons. Looking forward to updates along the way!

    • Hi Kristy! I think both moves are brave, one might just be a little scarier than the other! You seem to have adjusted in well, and that’s always something nice to see. Thanks a lot! I will be keeping everyone updated on the Swedish progress!

  4. Hey Meg,

    I am self-studying Swedish at the minute and I was wondering: ‘vill du prata Svenska med mig?’ 🙂

    We could do either chat or Skype.

    I know it is a bit of a crazy idea. lol

    • Hej! That would be fun (and helpful). I would certainly prefer chat- half my problem with new languages is anxiety and right now typing is the only way I can “say” anything. I think I need a few of weeks to study though, as I wouldn’t be much of a conversationalist yet! I will certainly set something up when I am ready- that will be great practice! 🙂

      • Hej! Det är fint. 🙂 I am feeling a bit lonely in my quest of learning Swedish on my own. I am actually not doing too badly. Today I wrote to one of my partner schools in Sweden and we exchanged a few emails in Swedish which was rather cool.

        Give me a shout when you feel ready and we can do Skype 😀

      • I understand it being lonely! I have finally been studying more these last days, I’m grasping more of what I read but still have issues when it comes to my side of things. The grammar is pretty confusing to me, but I’m trying to tackle it. I was just reading through your blog (I had looked at it before, just catching up- I’m not good at keeping track of Tumblr since there is no comment interaction) I think it would be a good idea to practice together, its hard to practice with native Swedish speakers on a casual basis (Because of anxiety and shyness and afraid of being wrong too much I guess?) I’ll get in touch with you in a week once I’ve gotten into the groove of my study habits again. 🙂

  5. I would recommend the following books also:
    Common Swedish Verbs by David Hensleigh IBSN 9789197422000
    It is much better than the 200 verb book
    Form i fokus del A by Cecilia Fasth and Anita Kannermark IBSN 9789174343977 with facit del A
    This is a book in grammar with exercises and the ‘facit’ is the answer key. This is great for practicing verb forms and noun forms and you have the answers.
    Good luck in SFI, I finished C and D in 10 months.

  6. It’s so neat reading your blog, as it throws me back in time! I ended up finishing SFI within 5 – 6 months. I applied for that 12.000kr bonus, and got it! So if you apply yourself, which you seem quite determined, you’ll make it too. =) And yes, doing Swedish for several hours a day every day is very draining at first, but once you start picking it up it’s not bad at all. Best of luck!

    P.S. – you’ll get over the talking barrier if you make yourself speak! The best way to learn is to, as they say “våga”, or dare. You may sound like a child to yourself at first, but so does everyone else around you! =)

    • Hej Jessica! Nice to hear from someone who received the bonus, that’s great! I forced myself to do Rosetta Stone 2 hours everyday in November and was very proud of that, so doubling that seems crazy! But I’ll be in a learning environment with other people struggling alongside me so it should make a world of difference.

      I hope so! I have to keep reminding myself of how many people I have known that were learning English or just not good at it when I was in NY, how I would understand what they meant and helped them say it without thinking anything embarrassing of it. Still makes me hyperventilate to think about, but I will get there! One step at a time (within 12 months!)

  7. You’re doing great Meg! In a few months I’ll stop speaking English (think I might even stop listening to English, haha!) so you’ll be forced into talking and listening to Swedish ;-). Soon time for school, that’s wonderful and you’ll do fine! Up for some lunch or fika soon?

    • Don’t stop listening! Oh that’s a scary thought 🙂 I will certainly need to transition into being forced, but it will help a lot! (Later, not now lol) I am ALWAYS up for lunch or fika. 🙂 Tell me when and where, We need to try to go to all the lunch spots in town! Thanks for helping so much and being supportive ❤

      • Charlotte and Jimmi were here a while ago, she goes to the same school you’re attending. She wants to meet you soon so that you both can chat and have lunches together at school! See if we can make it and gather all the girls some day next week or so? No need to thank me! Talk to you soon! I need a round to TGR when I get money next time..! ❤

      • That would be great! I would love to meet her and have a friend at the school!

  8. Just read some of the comments 🙂 I was so scared and felt like an idiot speaking swedish in front of swedes but actually they tend to appreciate that you are learning the language and trying especially when your mother tongue is english 🙂

  9. Megalagom, Thanks for subscribing to my blog. How did you find it, I am curious. Good luck with sfi. I started it in late August last year and from the sounds of it you will have no problems at all. I did a Rosetta Stone course before moving here and learned more in a week in sfi than the whole course. The digitalaspåret site is great. I also started in C and am in D now. They will give you a picture dictionary when you begin that is very helpful and exercise books along the way. English is the default second language so it is easier for us Americans (well, I am the only American I know of in sfi) as sometimes the teacher will translate a word på engelska. There are a lot of fun aspects of sfi which you will find out when you enroll, not the least of which is meeting people from all over the world. There are 500 students enrolled in sfi here in Halmstad alone. Look forward to running into you one of these days.

    • I received an anonymous suggestion to follow your blog because you are from the same area! It’s a relief to hear that SFI moved so quickly compared to Rosetta Stone! I know the big joke amount the Swedish people I know is that I am the first American immigrant ever from Sweden and that I will not meet anyone in class because of that. Nice to meet you! I look forward to reading your blog!

  10. Hi,

    I’ve just discovered your blog today and have enjoyed reading the comments, some have been very helpful with things I have been looking for. My wife is Swedish and we are moving with our two kids to Norrköping from Ireland this summer. The site I have been using to learn Swedish is and have found it very helpful. I am looking forward to reading more of your blog and the comments. Tack för hjälpen

    • Oh, how wonderful- Have you ever visited Sweden? I studied Swedish on my own for months, it is a whole new world to get here and start SFI to be surrounded by other people learning. The immersion outside of SFI is 50-50, you have to avoid letting people realize you speak English if you are looking to practice your Swedish! Anyway- best of luck and I hope to hear more from you and your future journey, I’m happy to help in anyway! I will def check out that website right now, always looking for new resources!! Trevlig att Traffas!

  11. Pingback: Being back in High School | Something Swedish

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