I have finally been able to catch my breath this weekend. Two exams for the first two courses this semester, countless assignments, endless group tasks
and after scanning through endless bout of scholarly articles, I am finally relaxed. The first ordeal is finally over. But then as someone who has been living here for little over a year, is that it? Getting good grades in courses, earning your degree and landing yourself a plush job? Maybe, but what about getting acquainted yourself with the language? Most people feel that they should do their Master’s or (bachelors) first and then go to Swedish classes. I somehow feel that it should go hand in hand. It is very important to learn Swedish and on top of that, Sweden is THE country in the world that gives you an opportunity to learn its language, for free, well almost!
That is why I am studying Swedish here as soon as I landed here:)
Here are 12 reasons why you should learn Swedish now. If you haven’t:
1. Because it is important.
Yes it is. By this time studying in Sweden you would have realized that. It is important as ranging from a website page, to a menu, to a tax office (skattaverket) paper to library (bibliotek), everything is in Swedish. There are English versions of course, but not always. So instead of always running to your Swedish friend with the letter from your tax office or invitation for a company’s visit to your campus, learn it yourself!
2. Because Google translate acts funny.
As much as you feel that you can get away without learning Swedish and can manage with Google translate, it acts funny. Most of the words, tenses and some unique Swedish words (jobbit for eg) don’t have perfect alike words in English or your languages, needless to say. So Google translate might not be the perfect key to your survival in Sweden.
3. Because it gives you that extra edge.
Admit it or not, booking a table at a restaurant, renting a house or maybe just hearing the announcements on the tram earns you brownie points if you speak Swedish. Maybe you hear the English versions if you are lucky, but if you are ‘armed’ with your Swedish, even though broken, you gain an edge. Maybe not just because of the knowledge of the local language, but more because the efforts that you show while trying to master it.
4. Because it is free.
At least the SFI( Svenska för Invandrare) is free. Join the evening or weekend classes and uplift yourself. You might end up in making friends from other lands, get free Swedish CV making techniques, visit to nearby places and even an internship (Praktik) opportunity here. And absolutely no pressure to ‘perform’ here. Take it as you go.
5. Because you get to add a new language in your CV.
Yes it adds value even if tomorrow you decide you want to move out of Sweden. Every employer needs a multi lingual person and you never know when you might need it in future as Swedish is similar to Norwegian and little to Danish too.
6. Because it helps you to win more friends.
Learning Swedish will help you land so many friends. Naturally if you happen to speak someone’s mother tongue, it would get you closer to them as learning a language means knowing a lot about their culture. It would be easier for you to strike conversations and in turn makes you more acceptable.
7. Because it makes you feel good about yourself.
It is very important to be ‘willing’ to learn Swedish or any other language. Almost everyday conversations in the bus, grocery store, reading the local newspaper seems like an accomplishment. By the end of the day, you end up feeling quite good about yourself.
8. Because you are in Sweden!
The most important reason. You are in Sweden and you NEED to know Swedish after some extent even if you are here for short term. So pull up your socks…now!
9. Because the earlier the better.
No one learns a language faster than kids do. So the younger you are, the faster your brain works in adapting to a different tongue. Of course it doesn’t mean that if you are a middle aged person you cannot learn Swedish but the excitement of learning something is still better off in your younger years.
10. Because you never know when it can be of use.
I have heard some internationals cribbing, why should I take the effort of learning Swedish?, I am not going to be here forever. I tend to have a different view. No knowledge is ever wasted. Especially something useful like language skills. You never know where life can take you tomorrow so it is better to learn today rather than make amends tomorrow.
11. Because it is so much closer to English.
When I began learning Swedish, I found it easy and difficult at the same time as it was similar to English. Easy because I could understand many words, conversations as they bore a striking resemblance to English. Difficult because I had the ‘advantage’ of knowing English so I thought in English before converting it to Swedish , which at times was helpful, at times not. But still in the long run, it pays off well.
12. Because it is fun.
Finally, Swedish is THE first foreign language that I am learning and I intend to continue to do so. Not just because it is important, for job and for living in Sweden because I enjoy it to the fullest.
So I would like to advise all the international students that study in Sweden, have fun, do fikas, gobble away Kannelbullars and Meatballs, drink all the coffee you want but learn Swedish while you are here, especially at the same time that you are studying. This is one boat you wouldn’t want to miss in your life. Lycka till!
Photo credits of Featured Image : http://sd.keepcalm-o-matic.co.uk/i/keep-calm-and-learn-swedish-1.png