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Speaking Swedish… every day 2006 May 30

Posted by @jennyjenjen in Language, Pre-Departure.

One thing I’m nervous about when I arrive in Sweden is my Swedish skills. I’ve taken a few years of Swedish here at the University of Colorado, but I am unsure that I will be able to function very well when I get there. My teachers have recommended that I take the higher-level courses in Swedish, and that requires I take a placement exam when I arrive in Uppsala. Most students who take such courses are European students, and as an American student, they cannot tell from my course listings where I should be placed to best suit my needs.

Although many people in Sweden speak English, I am not going to let people speak to me in English very often; perhaps only when I get stuck. It’s an amazing thing to be able to speak more than one language fluently, and it’s been my goal to get at least three or four languages down. I have taken college-level courses in French and I studied German in high school, not to mention the fact that half of my ancestry is Filipino and I understand a lot of Tagalog. However, I’m nowhere near as close to fluent in those languages as I am in Swedish.

I am the only student going over from Colorado who has learned any Swedish in an academic setting. I’m going to help the others learn some Swedish over the summer so that they aren’t completely lost when they get there. One person is probably going to learn faster than the others, one does not seem to care to learn, and the third is going to be a great student. Since I’m not going to be teaching them more than a few basics, I’m not sure how much it’s going to help my own studying, so I am going to start an intensive online search for grammar-oriented books that will hopefully help me out a lot for the exam.

The good news is that I am not going to have many problems with going grocery shopping or filling out forms. I’ll be able to understand the majority of that kind of stuff. It will be kind of fun to be the American who speaks a language most Americans probably can’t fathom ever learning. That might blow away some stereotypes when I get there.



1. thescreamingpen - 2006 May 30

Hey Jen. Great site. I’m sure you will have an awesome time in Sweden and thanks for linking us in your blogroll. Thanks for reading!

Joe, http://www.thescreamingpen.com

2. jasonwrites - 2006 June 23

You’re braver than me; the thought of truly living in a foreign country seems frightening to me– even other English-speaking nations present their own challenging differences! But my brother spent six months in Italy, and he loved it, as I’m sure you’ll love your time. :-)

3. egosumdaniel - 2006 August 3

Då är det OK om jag skriver på svenska? Bra.

I’ve met a lot of exchange students that have learned to speak excellent Swedish… the two I know best are English-speaking actually so I don’t think you’ll have any problems.

4. Steve - 2006 August 16

It is very good that you have decided to write this blog. I started a 2 year assignment here a couple of months ago and never quite get round to writing down my experiences. So far we are having a great time and I have found many things untrue about swedes – like how stand-offish they are. Ours neighbours are just amazingly friendly. I have swedish lessons every week for 1.5hours and although my progress is slow – it is a lovely language. Best of luck

5. shelly - 2007 January 18

i have 2 kitchens in my home!

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