3rd May, 2016 came up as one the most exciting day for me. At one hand I had the curiosity of my results of the first stage of Swedish course, the other I had my first interview in Sweden to get an internship with one of the largest organizations of this country.
But why did I needed to learn this language being a fluent English speaker?
All know that Swedes are on of those best English speakers who do not have English as a mother tongue. This was one solid reason for me to presume that I will sail through easily in the local job market.This bubble of assumption got burst soon after coming here when I talked to Arbetsförmedlingen (Employment office) and local recruiters.
While Swedish is an official language of working for most of local companies, it is preferable as all MNCs are dealing with local Nordic clients.
So here I go, joined SFI (svenska för invandrare – Swedish for Immigrants) and took the fist leap of faith.
What is SFI ?
As the name says SFI (svenska för invandrare – Swedish for Immigrants), it is an educational course for all new immigrants in Sweden to learn basic level Swedish and start integrating in the local society. It is a free education offered by kommun (local municipality) with A, B, C and D levels depending upon educational background and language knowledge we have from our home country. click here for more information.
I have mixed emotions in my heart when I am writing this as I just came back from my last class at SFI school. It was not only a language education but a whole new experience for me that made me much more adaptive and flexible person.
After a week of introduction, I was directly moved to C level as I had higher education from India. I joined C level students some 2 months late and I felt completely clueless in first few lectures. However, with some extra efforts I could catch up with them.
While reading, understanding went fast, talking in correct accent was a certain challenge, especially with the new vowels Ä, Ö and Å.
Probably, I still need practice to pronounce all words correct. It was also a new set to remember that letter ‘j’ sounds like ‘y’ in English. Swedish has many words influenced from English, German and few from French. However, their spellings and pronunciations are different, which created so much confusion in my head during hearing and writing exercises. It took me less than 6 months to clear SFI as I was going to classes 4 hours a day, proactively tried to speak and use it in daily life and of-course I already know one Latin language.
This is just a 60% of what I have gained through this program. Moreover, I got hell lot of information about social, cultural and work life in Sweden. Thanks to my skillful teacher, who brought up so many different ways like watching Swedish movie, news and theater to even debating on sensitive topics like family, relationships and politics. I got to know about lifestyles and opinions of people coming from different countries and cultures. It is exciting to see how we all will grow here in this new country.
Today, I feel confident and proud of myself, to be able to speak one more language, to be able to confidently talk and handle situation in daily affairs and of course I get a smile when I get compliment from almost every new person that I meet ! A big thank you to Swedish government, my teacher and my new friends 🙂