Beginning a new life in Sweden, or in any new country is exciting, daunting, overwhelming but formidable all at once.
Perhaps one of the most daunting aspects is the language barrier. Of course, the only way to overcome this is to learn it! But how?
Informationsverige.se, a website that provides a tonne of info on Sweden for newcomers, has launched a new toolkit that makes it easier than ever to learn Swedish on your own.
Here are seven reasons to start learning Swedish online with Informationsverige.se's new toolkit, Learn Swedish (Lära svenska)!
1. It's totally free!
When you move to Sweden, you're probably going to have a range of costs to think about - an ID card, a new phone contract, broadband, not to mention rent…there's a whole lot of admin and it's going to cost you money.
Learning Swedish with Informationsverige.se is completely free. Gaining a vital skill at no cost? Priceless. The real question here is why wouldn't you use it?!
2. It's available in multiple languages
The Informationsverige.se website itself – a top resource for immigrants of any kind – is available in a number of languages, from French to Arabic to Dari.
And that applies to the new Learn Swedish section, too! Access the course, glossaries, and information on meetups to practice with others.
As it is, the site is pretty easy to navigate but understandably, having it in your native language just makes it that much simpler.
Convert the site into your native language and explore the other sections of the site too, like work and education.
Take a look at what else the site has to offer here.
3. It's simple and accessible
Whether you're a complete beginner or if you've got those few handy phrases down, the free Learn Swedish training course will help you on your way to becoming fluent. The entire course is easily navigated so you can focus on language, not confusing controls.
Start with the first section – Hej Svenska – where you will learn words for time, family, food, clothing, and other essentials. Hej Svenska doesn't require an ability to read, which makes it all the more accessible, whether you're a newly-arrived asylum seeker or a researcher who's been here for years without the time to learn the language. Learning to read Swedish is part of the curriculum, not a prerequisite.
4. Fun videos galore!
We all know textbook learning can get, well, a bit boring.
We say, enough with textbooks, let's watch videos instead!
Maybe start with learning the alphabet, then perhaps master numbers, or maybe you already know all this and want to learn how to fill in a form. Either way, whatever you want to learn, there's a video for it, with Swedes showing you an example of how it's done.
5. It has all the important words in one place
The Lära svenska section of Informationsverige.se's website features a glossary of Swedish words, in multiple languages, as we already mentioned. But it's not just any old glossary, it's a list of words used by Arbetsförmedlingen, the Swedish Public Employment Service. Because it will be a lot easier to get a job and get all your ducks in a row if you know what it means to “klargöra dina arbetsförutsättningar”.
Consult the glossary for all the important words and make looking through it a habit before any important meetings!
6. You can practice with others
As the saying goes, practice makes perfect. And if you've ever learnt a new skill, you'll know this to be true.
While it can be helpful practicing with other learners, it doesn't beat practicing with someone who's fluent.
Welcome! is an app that helps newcomers integrate into their new environment by connecting natives with newcomers, giving newcomers the perfect opportunity to practice their new skills.
Alternatively, local municipalities can help you find a language buddy, to get that all important language practice with a local.
Or, if you're a parent, check out Svenska Med Baby. Through this, you can meet other parents and, of course, practice your Swedish!
Informationsverige.se also features maps where you can find the nearest library in your municipality. Many libraries in Sweden have groups which meet up and practice languages - it's much more than a place to borrow books!
Whatever your situation, Lära svenska at Informationsverige.se puts all the information in one place.
7. There's much more to come
As mentioned, the folks at Informationsverige.se are constantly developing new tools to ease your integration into Sweden. For instance, they present easy access to Arbetsförmedlingen's resource jobskills.se, which helps prepare you for working in Sweden. Informationsverige.se also has a new section on parenting in Sweden.
They're also working on the ‘continue learning' section of Lära svenska - but if you're already at an intermediate level, don't worry; they've uploaded a number of videos covering things like the pharmacy, grocery shopping and your flat, so the learning never needs to stop!
The site aims to be a valuable resource for immigrants, so they're always developing new things - so make sure to check back regularly for updates.
This article was produced by The Local's Client Studio and sponsored by the Country Administrative Boards of Sweden (Länsstyrelserna)