Quick questions for Amanda

Amanda is a conversational trainer and she offers “Skype-fika”, which is an opportunity to get to practice improvised conversation with a native Swede. She grew fullsizerender-1up in Sweden in a small town called Lindesberg, though she has roots in Stockholm and in Jukkasjärvi (where the famous Ice Hotel is located). She now lives in Exeter in the U.K. Beyond having Skype-fika with people from all the corners of the world, she currently works for a travel company, and also works with ceramics and art. She and her wife have two dogs, a hamster and a big stash of yarn since they are both avid knitters.

Here are 10 quick questions for Amanda.

  1. Which Swedish storybook/cartoon character turns you on the most?

Pippi Långstrump! I love her total non-concern about convention and her hedonistic happy-go-lucky attitude. It’s very inspiring!

  1. Can you play any instruments?

I sure can. I’m really good at playing the flute traverse! I can also play a bit of bodhran drum and African drums. I can also do ‘kulning’, the traditional Swedish herding call – though that’s not exactly an instrument. Unless you count your voice as being one =)

  1. What was your favourite TV show when growing up?

Charmed!

  1. Midsummer, Lucia or Christmas?

Midsummer definitely. It feels so magical, there is just something about in the air during that time of the year.

  1. How old is the oldest pair of shoes in your closet?

Eeeh, five years maybe? I’m not that bothered with shoes so I tend to just have a few that I wear until they fall apart and I am forced to buy new ones.

  1. What, or who, are you a “closet” fan of?

I’m pretty open with all my weirdness so there isn’t anything I’m afraid to share, haha. However, I am a total Pokémon nerd, and currently I am enjoying catching them all in Pokémon Moon which my wife gave me for my birthday (23rd December). I have loved Pokémon since I first discovered the games when I was 12 years old and have played the games one after another…

  1. What is the oldest thing in your fridge?

No idea, we love food in our household so things tend to get eaten. The oldest thing is probably the garlic, but that will also soon be used up.

  1. What Swedish food do you never want to live without?

Salt liqourice! I love ‘Turkisk Peppar’.

  1. What is the nerdiest thing you do in your spare time?

That’s probably playing Pokémon. And it’s not just that I play the games, I know so much about the game world and the different pokémon you can catch. I know which generation the creatures are from, what they evolve into, what type they are…

  1. Do you have any strange phobias?

Not really. The worst fear I have is going on planes and boats I think. Especially boats. They might sink!

  1. Favourite Swedish saying?

‘Ingen fara på taket’ (no danger on the roof), and my own ‘Kom igen, det blir kul!’ (come on, it’ll be fun!).

  1. What are three things still left on your bucket list?

Learn leather mask making. Get another tattoo, this one along my spine. Buy a borzoi (a beautiful large sight hound dog breed)

 

To book a Skype-fika with Amanda, go to the booking system and select “Skype-fika” and then “Amanda” as your trainer.

 

Quick questions for Daniel

Daniel is a Swedish teacher here at Swedish Made Easy. He teaches all levels, from 14962990_10154660030213735_856244307_nbeginner to advanced. He comes from Göteborg in Sweden (which he would adamantly argue is the best city in Sweden), and lives with his family in London, UK. He has worked in education for over 8 years, and taught Swedish since 2013. He has a real passion for languages and has helped to improve literacy levels of children in secondary schools in London (and even helped a school to set up a library!). He also writes books and short stories (check it out).

Here are 11 quick questions for Daniel!

1. Can you play any instruments?

I learned to play the guitar when I attended a music course at university. Wrote and composed a Gospel song called “Godissången” for the children’s musical we performed at the end of term. Radio stations across the world played it for years and years and … oh, right. That part was just a dream.

2. What was your favourite TV show when growing up?

Transformers, He-Man, and Star Fleet in the 1980s; X-files and Twin Peaks in the 1990s.

3. Favourite Swedish band?

I realised in 2000-2001 that my favourite band was Kent. Favourite “foreign” band is R.E.M.

4. Do you collect anything?

I had a strange fascination collecting postcards for a long time, but these days that obsession has changed to coffee mugs. I like drinking my fancy Italian coffee in style.

5. Choose a movie title for the story of your life.

A Life Less Ordinary.

6. What is the oldest thing in your fridge?

A frozen House elf from 1821. Mind you, the fridge is from the glorious year of 1816.

7. What, or who, are you a “closet” fan of?

Dolly Parton.

8. What is the nerdiest thing you do in your spare time?

I’m a member of a Swedish film site and record each new film I watch. So far, I’ve watched 2603 of them. The latest one was Independence Day: Resurgence, which I gave a solid 1 (out of 5).

9. Favourite film?

Are you crazy? There are too many to pick from! Help! Okay, okay, depends on the genre. Overall I’d go with the original 12 Angry Men.

10. What about a favourite Swedish film, then?

That’s very difficult too. I’ll go with a timeless classic comedy and say Att Angöra en Brygga. All my favourite Swedish actors gathered on an island to celebrate Midsummer, what can go wrong?

11. What are three things still left on your bucket list?

Publish books, travel outside Europe, and provide tools for my children to become decent and caring human beings.

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To book a lesson with Daniel or to check his availability, click on “Swedish with Daniel” on the booking system

Quick questions for Jessica

Jessica is a conversational trainer here at Swedish Made Easy. She offers “Skype-fika”, which is an opportunity to get to practice improvised conversation with a 12748117_10154000986042372_6885427495407892589_onative Swede. Jessica is born and bred in Stockholm but has roots in Austria. She is married and has one child. She has always been interested in people and communication and various contexts, perhaps since she has three fluent languages under her belt. When she worked as an ambassador for “The Swedish Number“, she spoke to people from all over the world, which she found fascinating and fun. She has lived abroad, both in Germany and Austria, through different periods in her life. Jessica works in finance in the entertainment industry for a company in Stockholm (SoFo), and prefer to visit cities and beaches to soak up some sun when she can.

Here are 10 quick questions for Jessica.

1.Which Swedish storybook/cartoon character turns you on the most?

Birka Borkason when I was a child.

2. Can you play any instruments?

Played the Clarinet for 3 years.

3. What was your favourite TV show when growing up?

Alfons Åberg

4. Midsummer, Lucia or Christmas?

Christmas

5. What, or who, are you a “closet” fan of?

I don’t kiss and tell 😉

6. What Swedish food do you never want to live without?

Bregott butter!!

7. What is the nerdiest thing you do in your spare time?

I don’t know if it’s nerdy but I clean and organise a lot.

8. Do you have any strange phobias?

Sharks

9. Favourite Swedish saying?

“Det man inte har i huvudet får man ha i benen”

10. What are three things still left on your bucket list?

So so much!!!

 

To book a Skype-fika with Jessica, go to the booking system and select “Skype-fika” and then “Jessica” as your trainer.

Quick questions for Sophie

Sophie works as a Swedish teacher at Swedish Made Easy. She is a native image1-1-jpgSwede who spent her 20’s in London, but these days she is based in Stockholm where she lives with her husband and two children. She works as an rhetoric consultant as well as a equality consultant, with a focus on communication. She has a great love for the Swedish language, its development and uses of languages generally.

 

Here are 12 quick questions for Sophie.

1.Which Swedish storybook/cartoon character turns you on the most?

Pippi, because she did everything the other way around, didn’t follow conventions and had her own very cool look.

2. Can you play any instruments?

A bit of piano and a little bit of guitar

3. What was your favourite TV show when growing up?

Laverne and Shirley

4. Midsummer, Lucia or Christmas?

Midsummer!

5. How old is the oldest pair of shoes in your closet?

My Doc Martin, I bought them in 1996!

6. What, or who, are you a “closet” fan of?

Make up tutorials

7. What is the oldest thing in your fridge?

A year of coconut butter. I know it’s good, but can’t eat it.

8. What Swedish food do you never want to live without?

Sill!

9. What is the nerdiest thing you do in your spare time?

Play simpsons on my phone

10. Do you have any strange phobias?

Dirty hands

11. Favourite Swedish saying?

Det ordnar sig!

12. What are three things still left on your bucket list?

Jump out of an airplane (preferable with a parachute), Tatoos, My own TV show.

 

Sophie is available on Thursday mornings for lessons. To book Sophie, go to the booking system and select “Swedish with Sophie”.

Interview with a Swedish learner – James

Learning Swedish – interview with a learner

James is a radiographer working in an NHS hospital in the UK. He was raised in Southport, Lancashire, but currently lives in Grimsby, Lincolnshire, UK, but he is hoping on finding work in Sweden in the not-too-distant future. James likes to ride his bicycles a lot and successfully completed Vätternrundan, a 180 mile ride around Lake Vättern, in Sweden in 2015.

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What led you to want to learn Swedish?

I’ve always been interested in Nordic history and culture, the cause of which was probably being exposed to a 1980s adventure game I used to play on my computer as a boy called Valhalla. More recently, I had been looking at job adverts for jobs in my profession across Norway, Sweden and Denmark, and wishing I could apply for them. But after separate trips to Sweden, Norway and Finland, and enjoying experiencing life as a tourist in those countries, in 2014 I thought I’d bite the bullet and give learning a language a go. I plumped for Sweden as I felt the size of the country would be good.

When and how did you start learning Swedish?

I started using the Babbel app on my iPad, in May 2014, and shortly after started taking lessons from Anneli over Skype.

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

I try to use it when I can. The chances to use Swedish in the UK are limited but there’s a few groups across the country that arrange meetings through the meetup.com website, in London, Manchester and Glasgow. Other than that, if I visit Sweden I try to use my language skills there, but this is made more difficult by the natives’ excellent English skills and their eagerness to use them in conversation with an Englishman!

What have been the challenges for you in learning Swedish?

Trying to fit my lessons and homework around my job and other interests.

What is your proudest moment as a Swedish speaker?

When arriving on a campsite in June 2015, I did manage to hold a good conversation with the management telling them my name and that I had booked a pitch for a few nights. I think they may have been confused by my arriving in a right hand drive car!

Can you recommend any Swedish books that are good for learning Swedish?

Swedish: An Essential Grammar, by Philip Holmes and Ian Hinchliffe, is an excellent grammar book for those starting out in Swedish.

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

The aforementioned Babbel app, which you can use on iOS and Android, plus their version for desktop computers, is excellent but you have to pay a monthly subscription to use it. You could consider switching your phone’s language setting to Swedish, although it may be a good idea to memorise how to switch the language back to English should you need to. Swedish TV shows seem to be quite in demand on UK television these days with Wallander and The Bridge being shown on the BBC and there’s plenty of DVDs of Swedish TV shows available too, with English subtitling of course, plus you could consider watching English language films with Swedish subtitling. Listen to Swedish records, from the likes of Melissa Horn and Linnea Henriksson, and have a look at the lyrics booklet with the album.

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

Learn little and often, maybe try and think about what you’re doing in Swedish rather than English, maybe keep a written diary in Swedish and write about your days.

 

Interview with a Swedish learner – Elena

Learn Swedish – interview with a learner

Elena has been living in Stockholm since January 2013. She worked in a Swedish telecom company in Russia and almost 3 years ago she was invited to work in Stockholm. It changed her life! She fell in love in Stockholm, with a swedish guy.
IMG_2484Elena’s first impressions of Stockholm was not so nice: darkness, cold, windy, introverted people, crazy salary day… But with each passing day and month, the city and the people in it slowly started to appear in a new way: the Swedes catching the rays of the sun on a bench in the park, colleagues who do not dare to take the last cookie during the fika, amazing Swedish Design and musicality, old family traditions and at the same time absolute freedom of expression. This may sound standard, Elena points out, but the studying the language help her to explore the country on a deeper level and feel at home.

What led you to want to learn Swedish?
I’d like to know the Swedish language to understand local culture, to use it for my job, to communicate with my husband’s family.

When and how did you start learning Swedish?
I started my journey with the Swedish language in the autumn of 2013. My first courses were with a Russian teacher. Now I am doing Skype lessons with Anneli.

How much do you currently use the Swedish language, and why?
I use Swedish language when I communicate with my husband’s family in Sweden and during informal meetings with my work collegues.

What have been the challenges for you in learning Swedish?
It is difficult for me to remember new words, to use partikelverb (phrasal verbs), the articles en and ett.

What is your proudest moment as a Swedish speaker?
I am proud to have an opportunity to communicate with my husband’s family. And my collegues were surprised when I suddenly answered them in Swedish!

Can you recommend any Swedish books that are good for learning Swedish?
Avancera ord, Se upp, Svensk grammatik med drillövningar och facit, books by Liza Marklund.

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

Do you have any other advice for future, budding Swedish learners?
Don’t be afraid to make mistakes!

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Click here to view availability and book your Swedish lessons!

Interview with a Swedish learner – Carolina

Carolina comes from Spain, from a small town close to Barcelona. She did her PhD in Barcelona and moved to Umeå after that to work as a postdoc. Her research is focused on environmental radioactivity and peatlands. But that is not her only interests! She likes doing a lot of other (and, maybe, more normal) things.

carolina_kiruna

During her free time she usually makes handmade crafts and also enjoys painting. She says she is not an expert but feels it is a nice way to relax and not think about science. She also really likes nature and tries to go hiking as often as she can. She is someone who likes smiling every single day and appreciates the small things in this world.

 

 

What led you to want to learn Swedish?

I got a position at the University of Umeå and moved there. Although all the Swedish researchers and employees speak perfect English, they usually talk in Swedish over fika or lunch time. Moreover, all the official documents and information that you get is in Swedish, as well as signs, labels in the products that you find at the supermarket, etc. So, I started to learn Swedish to understand what happens around me! And I also think that learning the culture and the language of the country were you are is quite interesting!

When and how did you start learning Swedish?

I started to learn Swedish as soon as I arrived to Sweden. The university offer some courses for free. But I thought that only one hour per week was not enough and I decided to take a course downtown which took place twice per week and two hours per lesson, and also some one-to-one lessons via Skype with Anneli.

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

I use the Swedish language every day. I try to talk to my colleagues and my boss at work and to some friends who know that I want to learn. I also try to write emails in Swedish. I force myself doing that because I think that trying and practising is the best method to learn a language. Maybe you make mistakes but realizing and correcting them is the best way for learning.

What have been the challenges for you in learning Swedish?

It has been a bit difficult for me to learn it since Swedish is completely different that Spanish. And it’s still hard because you realize how many dialects are here. But understanding official documents or meetings have been quite hard. The challenge maybe is also finding motivation sometimes and be consistent in your studies!

What is your proudest moment as a Swedish speaker?

My proudest moment as a Swedish speaker (and I will always remember this) is when I answered the phone in the office for the first time! When you talk to someone it is easier to understand because of the body language. But by phone… ufff! But I could understand and answer!! And I remember that, as soon as I hung up the phone, I ran to my colleagues and boss saying: I answered the phone in Swedish!!! I was soooo proud of myself!

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

Rivstart is a really good book to learn Swedish.

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

Mmm I am quite bad with that… But the best option for me to learn Swedish is talking to Swedes!

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

My advice would say: Dont be shy and talk! Talk even you know that your Swedish is not perfect. I always say: “Hi! I am Carolina and my Swedish is maybe not so good. But I would like to try!” And Swedes are happy when they see that you are trying to learn Swedish. So… try try and try!

Interview with a Swedish learner – Jess

Jess is 21 and has been living in Sweden for the past year. She moved to Sweden to be with her girlfriend and their five Golden Retrievers. They moved from Uppsala to Örebro at the end of August last year and now have their own flat in Mosås.

She is currently studying SVAS 1 (Swedish as another language) and walking dogs for people during the day. She originally comes from Gloucestershire in the UK where temperatures in the winter stay between about minus 9 and plus 3 degrees celsius. She is now learning what the word ‘winter’ actually means.

 

What led you to want to learn Swedish?

I met my girlfriend in England and decided to move to Sweden with her when she moved back in January 2012.

When and how did you start learning Swedish?

I knew that I was going to move about a year before I did so I thought that I ought to get a move on and try and learn some of this ridiculously complicated language that everybody would be using. So I searched online for Swedish teachers and found Anneli.

How much do you currently use the Swedish lanuage and why?

Now I use it everyday. I talk to friends, my girlfriends family, the owners of the dogs that I walk and the dogs themselves in Swedish.

What have been the challenges for you in learning Swedish?

In the beginning before I moved was when I found it most difficult. I felt like there was this huge, complicated language in front of me and I had no hope of trying to learn it all. But when I started talking in Swedish it was only a matter of time before I started picking up words and learning more all the time.

What is your proudest moment as a Swedish speaker?

When somebody thought I was from Norway because they noticed a slight accent but had no idea I came from England. That would be thanks to Anneli, who taught me from the very beginning to pronounce things properly. I remember having particular trouble with ‘sju’ and ‘sjö’…

Can you recommend any Swedish books that are good for learning Swedish?

A personal favourite of mine was always Kalle Ankas (Donald Duck) comics because even if I did not understand something fully, I would be able to look at the picture and see what was happening, thus learning a new word or two at the same time.

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

Tyda.se was and still is my best friend. It is an online dictionary that tells you whether the word is ett/en, gives the plural and for most things it gives a picture to help you commit it to memory.

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

Swedish is actually not as complicated as it sounds or looks. When I first arrived in Sweden, I was scared to speak in case I made mistakes but having a conversation in Swedish is absolutely the best way to learn it. Ask or look up words if you don’t know what they mean and don’t worry about making mistakes – it is human to make mistakes, that is how we learn!

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.