Interview with a Swedish learner – Alicia

Alicia is from Salt Lake City, Utah, U.S.A. She has moved to Sweden for a work assignment that is determined to be a two year assignment. Her employer had arranged Swedish lessons for her through the International House in London that lasted about one month. She works as a retail store manager for an American clothing company that has opened its first store in Sweden. She currently lives in Vasastan, Stockholm and loves all the beautiful nature, delicious treats, and handsome men the country has to offer.

What led you to want to learn Swedish?

I was moving to Sweden for a 2 year work assignment and wanted to take the opportunity to learn the language while living in Sweden. Also, I was interested in learning a third language. (English, Spanish, Swedish)

When and how did you start learning Swedish?

I began learning Swedish by using the computer program Rosetta Stone. I managed to get through the first level. Then I had started Swedish lessons through the International House in London. I attended classes Monday through Friday for about 8 hours a day for an entire month. After the month of Swedish lessons in London, I had moved to Sweden and begun with self study using books and online programs.

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

I primarily use English in my daily life in Sweden, however, as my confidence grows I have begun using Swedish in little day to day activities such as ordering coffee, at the grocery mart, and with customers in my work environment. At times, I have found that it is easier for me to use the Swedish language when interacting with customers.

What have been the challenges for you in learning Swedish?

The biggest challenge for me was having the confidence to speak the language. I know many phrases and my vocabulary grows everyday, but having the confidence to use the language as much as possible comes rather slowly for me. Also, I struggle with the pronunciation, which adds to the confidence issue. The pronunciation is so important in the Swedish language and can distinguish one word from the other in some cases.

What is your proudest moment as a Swedish speaker?

Walking home from work one day I was stopped by a visitor to Stockholm who was asking me for directions. The person was Swedish but must have been unfamiliar with the Stockholm area. I was able to give the individual correct directions to their destination, all while staying in Swedish. Not only was I proud of my language ability, but my knowledge of my surroundings and familiarity with the area.

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

While studying at the International House in London, I used two lesson/work books as well as a quick guide to Swedish verbs. The lesson/work books were called Mål 1 by Anette Althen and the verb book was called Common Swedish Verbs by David Hensleigh. Also, Rosetta Stone seemed to be quite efficient, however I had only used the program for about two months to complete the first level.

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

Google Translate is always great! I am not too familiar with a lot of online or media resources for learning Swedish.

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

Practice the pronunciation as much as possible. It will make you a better speaker and also increase your confidence. Do not be afraid to say things wrong. The Swedes are usually good at correcting you which will add to your learning. Start small by learning your coffee order or saying hello to the train employees in the Swedish language. It makes learning fun and exciting when you can apply it in daily life.

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