SFI Diary #week 1

The last time I attended a Svenska För Invandrare (Swedish for Immigrants – SFI) course I was eight and half months pregnant! In hindsight I now see I should have been at home with my feet up instead of attending a full time language course. I have to admit, I kind of felt “guilted” into it.

 

I got a pen and a notebook – for free!! I feel extremely lucky. On Tuesday night, I started my latest (in quite a long line of) Swedish classes. My first Swedish class was taken 6 years ago in London, supposedly in preparation for our move, I only made it through about 4 classes. The last time I attended a Svenska För Invandrare (Swedish for Immigrants – SFI) course I was eight and half months pregnant! In hindsight I now see I should have been at home with my feet up instead of attending a full time language course. I have to admit, I kind of felt “guilted” into it. But, now is the time! With S beginning to speak more Swedish words than me I’m beginning to freak out that she’ll be the one translating for me, soon. I’m also realise how significant learning Swedish is within the job-market, business and dealing with natives. You think Swedes are confident in speaking English, but I’m beginning to realise in business, not so much. I certainly don’t want to loose out on opportunities because I wasn’t proactive enough to learn a language.

 

Svenska För Invandrare

SFI is a brilliant initiative that offers free language tuition to registered immigrants in Sweden. You can take the course either full time, half time or in the evening. There is even the opportunity to do distance, online learning. I’ve chosen to do an evening course, 2 times a week. I didn’t want to go full time again, too much of a commitment, and I need to allow my days to be fully committed to LBA. There are a number of different ways to incorporate learning Swedish with your job or internship. When you register for SFI you can discuss with them the best options for incorporating “yrkes språk” or professional language into the course, too. For more details about SFI and registering, check the Stockholm Stad website. SFI is managed by municipality (i.e. The City of Stockholm) and you are required to be registered within a municipality before you can apply to start a course. It took me four and half hours to register in Stockholm. It seems like a long time, but I met with 3 people, took a test and got the results and my course sign up all within that time. Best of all, it is free. FREE!! Private language tuition in Sweden can be pricey but mostly because it is bought in by large corporates who can afford it. I certainly cannot afford private tuition, or even a Fölkuniversitetet course. Being a bit of a socialist, too, I’m all for levelling the playing field and supporting an initiative that is attempting to give everyone the best start.

 

Experience says…

There are mixed feelings about SFI and I certainly didn’t have a great experience the first time I attended. That could have been because I was seriously fresh off the boat and uncomfortably pregnant or it just wasn’t a great school. The lessons were badly planned and slow. It never seemed as though the class moved forward or if we did it felt like I had missed something. One minute we were learning the alphabet and the next minute we’d moved on to third-person, reflexive pronouns. But, this time around, I already have a better feeling about it. My first class was on Tuesday night and it was interesting, challenging but not mind-boggling, and it was fun! The people in the class were engaging and interactive. They certainly didn’t mind me joining them. It still took part in one of those soul-less, clinical classrooms that needed a good clean and there is always one ceiling panel about to fall out. And, dirty curtains?! But,  there wasn’t that horrible “who’s the new kid” vibe that you feel when you walk into a classroom for the first time. Another big difference this time around is that all the materials are online. All you need to bring is a notebook and a pencil. I HATE carrying around loose-leaf papers that get scrunched up and dog-eared at the bottom of your bag.

My next class is tonight and I’m actually looking forward to it! Never thought I would say that about SFI. I hope I come out of tonight’s class feeling the same way…

 

 



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