Learning Swedish in Stockholm

Learning Swedish in Stockholm

Experiential Voyageur rounds up some of the best resources for learning Swedish in Stockholm.

All photos by Lola Akinmade Åkerström

Just because “everyone in Sweden speaks English”, it isn’t true that Swedish isn’t worth learning! Particularly if you’re interested in being competitive for work in Sweden or for Swedish-related work in another country, learning Swedish can be an excellent way to connect with the culture on a deeper level and pick up on cultural nuances in communication.

But where to begin?

You can start by selecting Swedish on your Duolingo app before you arrive, or for a more immersive online option, you can enroll online in a learningswedish.se course. This requires only a simple registration, and it’s also something you can get into even before you’re in Sweden or use in conjunction with whatever other coursework or practice you have lined up. Both of these digital options are free and can get you off to a good start in vocabulary building, pronunciation and the introductory basics.

If you’ve already begun and you have some working knowledge of the language, you might think to dive into språkcafé right away. This is a language-over-coffee meet up where you can practice with other learners. If you already speak another Nordic language like Norwegian or Danish, you may be off to a stronger start and be beyond the introductory level when you arrive. These språkcafés are all around Stockholm, including at most local libraries. Keep your eyes out for flyers posted around the city advertising these meet ups in cafes, libraries and all around Stockholm. Again, these are free!

If you prefer to meet with someone one-on-one or the larger group setting of a språkcafé overwhelms you, Kompisbyrån will pair you with an individual who shares similar interests, geographically convenient to where you live to practice Swedish together. This involves three options for Swedish practice: meeting in a café for fika, meeting to discuss or play music together, or an hour-long walking adventure in certain neighborhoods where you get out and about and explore Stockholm together through language.

This one is also free, as a nonprofit organization funded through partnerships with cities and private companies.

If you have a residence permit and you want to go all-in on your language learning, you can immerse in SFI or Swedish for Immigrants. If you’re a basic beginner with little-to-no initial knowledge, there’s no introductory test, however, you can also take a three-hour examination to be sure you’re starting off on the right level. The best part about all of this – it’s entirely free! The catch is of course you have to qualify by having a residence permit.

If you don’t hold that elusive residence permit and the national registration number, the personnummer, the go-to university for study is Folkuniversitetet. Language course options vary from intensive five-day-a-week-meetings for a one-month period to truly immerse, all the way down to weekly meetings on Saturdays if you just want to dip your toes in and are mainly about self-study. Two and three-day per week meetings are also options, with all schedules varying depending upon the time of year.

Of all the options here, Folkuniversitetet is the only one you have to pay for. Still, if you don’t qualify for SFI, attending Folkuniversitetet can be a great jumping point to gain some momentum  before returning to self-study or språkcafé-ing.

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Author: Experiential Voyageur

Experiential Voyageur is a Stockholm-based curious and creative writer who explores life by simply living it and contemplating the realities of the world. In her life beyond the pen and paper, she learns new languages, travels to unexpected locations, and often can be found in a yoga position at some point during a given day. Some of her ideas and feelings are captured here in her blog.

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