Interview with a Swedish learner – Michelle

In her 27 years, Michelle has only now ventured into the Eastern Hemisphere. She currently lives in Malmö, Sweden where her company relocated her to develop and train the management and part time staff. She works for Abercrombie & Fitch and is the General Manager at Hollister Co. at Malmo’s premiere shopping centre, Emporia. Michelle’s roots are planted in her parents’ Filipino heritage but she grew up in the United States living most of her life in Texas. However, her thirst for adventure led her to attend college at the St. John’s University in Queens, New York where she received a BA in Sociology. Michelle has a passion for child and youth development academically and socially and is involved in and volunteered for several organizations including UniPro (Philipino Americans United in Progress) and The Ronald McDonald House. She is looking forward to her two years abroad and the continued development of the Swedish language.

What led you to want to learn Swedish?

I was promoted to open and develop a store in Malmö, Sweden.  Part of my relocation process was to learn and be familiar with the Swedish language.

When and how did you start learning Swedish?

I started learning Swedish in June 2012 with Anneli at London’s International House. My training extended over 3 weeks, 5 days a week, and for 6 hours a day. 

How much do you currently use the Swedish language, and why?

I use my Swedish daily, usually to order food or say hi to the bus driver, but the majority of my time I use it for work—communicating with our customers and staff.

What have been the challenges for you in learning Swedish?

In the beginning, the most challenging for me in learning the Swedish language was not being able to practice the language outside of class. Now living in Sweden, I am able to practice and apply it more freely. However, a new challenge that has occurred is that when I do use it and the locals hear my American accent they automatically switch to English. 

What is your proudest moment as a Swedish speaker?

My most proud moment was when I impressed some of my associates while helping a Swedish speaking customer without their help.

Can you recommend any Swedish books that are good for learning Swedish? (Could be course books, grammar books, novels, or children’s books – anything!)

The textbook I used in my language training was helpful, Rivstart A1 + A2. I also used an app on my iphone called WordPower: Swedish Vocabulary by Innovative Language.com

Can you recommend any online/media resources for learning Swedish?

These websites are great: http://lexin.nada.kth.se/lexin/ and http://www.ielanguages.com

Do you have any other advice for future, budding Swedish learners?

My advice for Swedish beginners is to be open-minded and willing to learn. What has helped me in my learning was getting to know the Swedish culture and discovering their music. Listening and singing along to their songs really helped me familiarize my ear to the language and allowed me to remember phrases in the lyrics I could use in my daily life.

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