Swedish is an official language in Finland and a number of Finns speak it as their native language, however, I wasn’t one of them, yet I had to learn it. Finland was a part of Sweden hundreds of years ago and we still need to learn the language for at least three years, since it is considered a part of our culture. Before moving to Sweden I was able to read and understand Finnish-Swedish quite well. It took some weeks to get used to the accent of Swedish people, though there are regional differences and for instance people from Skåne region are more difficult to understand.
My university only offers Swedish courses on a basic level, so I’ve have to come up with creative ways to learn the language on my own. Here are my tips! Note, this works only if you know the basics already.1. Tinder
Create a Tinder profile, but don’t write there which country you come from. Start discussions with Swedes and see how long you are able to keep up with the language. They might end up being either impressed or confused.
2. Group work at school
If you have group assignments at school, try to pair up with the Swedes and tell them that it’s not necessary to take everything in English. I tried this and by the end of the course I understood a lot more Swedish than at the beginning of it.
If you go to gym, go to the group training classes and don’t tell the instructor that you’re a foreigner. So far I’ve been able to survive, unless someone comes to talk to me. I recommend to start with BodyPump for the beginning, since the instructions are simple and you do the exercises alone.
4. Games (board games & online)
There are plenty of smartphone applications that can help you to learn Swedish, a really popular one is Duolingo. You can also try board games, for instance Trivial Pursuit in Swedish, though the questions are often related to Sweden and without extensive knowledge about Swedish politics, literature, etc. you’re likely to lose, but that’s the way to learn!
5. Pay attention to signs
Every time you see signs that have an English translation, read it and try to memorize.
I’m getting better and better with my Swedish, but speaking is still a challenge. Swedes often laugh when I speak because of my accent, though if a Swede tries to speak Finnish it makes me laugh too. Win-win, speaking different languages makes everyone happy! 🙂