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: