One of the things that I was worried about before I moved to Stockholm was if I could fit in the society not knowing the language. I am sure many of you might have similar concerns. It has been a little over a year in Stockholm and I can very proudly state that I am now reading Swedish novels 🙂 …..If I can do it, so can you.
I must add that it is not necessary to learn swedish but it is always nice to know the local language. Almost everyone speaks very fluent english.
1) Karolinska Institutet provides swedish language courses to all masters students. Make use of this opportunity.
2) Talk, listen, observe and read – Once you know some basics, make it a point to talk in swedish. Remember that you will make mistakes, sound funny and use the wrong words in the wrong context or even sound like a complete idiot. For ex : During one of my early swedish classes, this guy walks in late for the first time and the teacher said “God Morgon!” which means good morning and this poor chap got all flustered and confused, simply because he thought that the teacher said ” Go moron”….We all had a good laugh though….
Watch swedish TV shows and listen to the radio. I am a big theatre addict and loved watching plays and improvs and that helped me a lot. Observe the posters and signs everywhere. Read the local newspapers, start with advertisements and headlines and you will notice the change.
3) Language cafe – KI has a student driven language cafe where students who are native speakers can help you with your language.
Most libraries in Stockholm have language cafes once a week. The Red Cross has a language cafe.
The website meetup.com, has a group on language exchange where you can learn swedish and in return teach someone another language.
There are NGOs that can help you with your language needs.
4) You can borrow audio guides and books free of cost from the local libraries.
5) There are several resources available on the internet that can help you practice pronunciation.
6) SFI are swedish language classes provided free of cost by the commune. These can be beginner or intensive level classes. Some are even distance learning.
7) Download a swedish- english dictionary app .
Hope this helps. If you have any questions, feel free to contact me.