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Advice about SFI

need insights on SFI

post 5.May.2014, 03:30 AM
Post #1
Joined: 7.Feb.2014

Hey folks,
I'm moving to sweden with my husband and my in-laws suggested I take SFI. Does anybody know how long the course goes for? I am Canadian with a college degree. I know the courses begin every 5 weeks but how long does it go for? I will arrive in June and have a baby in the end of October so I'm trying to figure out when would be best to start SFI depending on how long the course is for.

Any other insights about SFI are welcome.

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Crackers and Cream
post 6.Jun.2014, 09:06 AM
Post #2
Joined: 5.Jun.2014

I'm surprised nobody replied to you.
It all depends on your caliber.
You will need to get your Swedish tested (for free; ask at any SFI and they'll guide you where to go for the test) and then you'll get the results which state that you can join at a certain level.
That's when you get to choose the SFI center that is most convenient for you to attend and the timings too of course.

You'll probably begin at C level if you know some Swedish and have a university degree.
There's level A-D after which you get to do SAS (Swedish as a second language) where it gets a little more rigorous.
Hope that helps.
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post 6.Jun.2014, 01:10 PM
Post #3
Location: Luleå
Joined: 4.Sep.2009

I'll just add that you will usually have to attend the SFI class which is in the area where you are registered as living. It's a taxes/funding thing. You can apply for transfer to a school in another area if you have a valid reason such as being where you work. It isn't always approved, but most often it isn't a problem.

Maybe the "5 week" starting thing is something new but, when I went to SFI. you got offered a place whenever a current student moved on to the next class. There were no fixed start dates. There were also no set finishing dates. You could stay as long as you thought you needed in order to master the language. Graduation type exams for the completion of the programme are held several times a year and you can work with your teacher to decide when the time is right for you to take the exam. In my class, the external exam was only one of the required components for completing the course. There were also compulsory assignments to be completed, so you could still be attending after you had sat the exam.

People in the class were all working at different levels so it didn't really matter when you hopped in. You stayed in that class until you and the teacher agreed that you were ready to handle the next class. The B,C, D, levels were a bit blurred, and somewhat subjective. I recall my teacher telling me when I started, that I was speaking Swedish at a B level and reading at a C level. It fluctuated quite regularly and had nothing to do with previous formal education or qualifications. Two people sitting in the same classroom could hand in the same assignment and one would be assessed as being a B level standard while the other would be graded as being completed at the higher C level. I understand that they have now introduced a formal test between C and D. I simply showed up one morning and was told to pack up my stuff and move on up to the D class. A girl who also moved up on the same day, asked to be moved back to the C level class after a few weeks as she was finding the D level work to be too tough. So it was pretty flexible. My advice is not to rush your language education. Anyone who spouts off about getting through SFI in a matter of weeks, is only fooling themselves if they think they are now fluent in Swedish. They have completely wasted their time and the free education offer. Sitting in the classroom, as boring as it may be, is the only chance you will ever get to focus exclusively on the language. Invaluable time in my opinion, which will pay for itself in the long run..
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post 6.Jun.2014, 01:42 PM
Post #4
Joined: 20.Sep.2011

QUOTE (gplusa @ 6.Jun.2014, 01:10 PM) *
is the only chance you will ever get to focus exclusively on the language. Invaluable time in my opinion, which will pay for itself in the long run..

wise words.
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Crackers and Cream
post 6.Jun.2014, 01:58 PM
Post #5
Joined: 5.Jun.2014

For some people, such as myself, time was of the essence and my caliber permitted me to complete classes pretty all depends on your motivation and goals.

Some people go to SFI to kill time and bag benefits...others don't avail of any benefits although they have every right to them.
The bottom line; don't waste your time sitting there and convincing yourself that your Swedish is bad and incomprehensible.
Complete your basics and get out into Sweden where the people are very forgiving if you forget a grammar rule sometime...get out there and use it.
You'll learn a lot more through communication with Swedes over daily issues than in class where you work to complete levels.
Education is a gradual process but you'll get nothing out of stifling yourself at SFI.
Finish up as quickly as you can and use your basics out in the real world.

My experiences at SFI reflect that you're not in there to learn EVERYTHING (& all the words in the Swedish dictionary) by the the end of all your classes.
Get out into Sweden and use your new language to build your vocabulary in a manner that will provide you with situations that will make words stick in your mind.
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post 6.Jun.2014, 07:24 PM
Post #6
Location: Luleå
Joined: 4.Sep.2009

That's the beauty of forums. Two different opinions about the same subject. I guess the message to the OP is to choose the route that feels right for you.

I will add a note of caution, however, and that is not to confuse speed with motivation. People are motivated for many different reasons, and that motivation can lead to many different results. Clearly one poster had the motivation to complete the course material as quickly as possible. Maybe it was required for employment, who knows. As has already been noted, there are some who simply turn up to fill in an otherwise empty day. They are annoying, but there's not a lot you can do about them either.

In my situation, my motivation was to understand Swedish from the ground up and I realised very quickly that I wouldn't be able to achieve that simply by handing in assignments every second day for 10 weeks. I already had a fulltime job. So I could have chosen to sit around and just pick up what was being spoken around me. A slow process, completely dependant on the communication of others, and, while I could repeat what was being said, I wouldn't really understand the why. "Monkey see, Monkey do" works for some, but not for me. I need to understand why things work. If I can understand how a language is built from the ground up, then I am much more capable of being able to adapt and grow my knowledge. Maybe I'm a bit of a control freak like that. Anyway, you can't learn the foundations of a language from just talking with others. You can only learn what you hear, and only understand it in the context in which you hear it. Only with a formal education do you get the foundations of a subject.

Ask a native Swede why a Swedish word is the way that it is and the chances are that they will have no idea. So you have no idea either. That's the way it is for most of us with our native languages. My Swedish born wife can explain the workings of the English language better than I can. I can explain Swedish sentence structures better than she can. Why ? Because we both chose to have extensive formal training in a second language, not because we simply lived in each other's countries for several years.

I had to remind myself after a few weeks in SFI that the entire point of my being there was not to pass the course, but to learn Swedish. Any idiot can memorise enough to pass a 30 minute test. I planned to spend the rest of my life in Sweden so, for me, it was vital to get things right from the start. A couple of extra months wasn't going to do me any harm in the big picture but, once I walked out of that classroom, I was completely on my own. So I backed off the speed and decided to make the most of the resources which are, I have to say, pretty amazing. Try getting a free, unlimited time, formal education in a second language in any other country in the world. Of course, the formal side isn't the whole story and it's not a miracle pill. I work in a field where correct communication in Swedish is vital, and is obvious when incorrect. As already written, you do need to get out there and put it into practice in order for it to grow. You'll make a right dick out of yourself a few times, but there's some tough competition for that title. I'm still living down referring to a water pump as a pumpkin, and then trying to save the situation by recommending to the client that they order a yellow one.

Maybe we should start a thread for classic Swedish language cock-ups. I could try to somehow explain away the unfortunate dinner conversation mix-up between myself and my company CEO regarding an empty coffee cup and the location of the nearest toilet. Spoiler Alert: it turned out that the word "mugg" was the key to the whole conversation. Draw your own conclusions.

Anyway, as I said way back at the start of my rant, look at your reasons for being there and make the choice that is right for you.
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post 6.Jun.2014, 08:13 PM
Post #7
Location: Stockholm
Joined: 8.Nov.2013

I agree and disagree with both views. It really depends on the person and how good you are at languages, which other languages you know and what your mother language is. Also depends on your classmates and teachers. Good classmates and teachers who actually give it their all will motivate you and help you understand things better and faster.

I studied swedish before i came here in my home country for 4 months, i knew most of the grammar but couldnt speak all that well. I started SFI in march in C group, and yesterday i received the ok to finish SFI as i passed the nationalsprov. SFI isn't there to make you fluent. It can't, for the simple reason that the level of the training and excercises within SFI do not exceed the most basic.

The most SFI can do is give you the base to get to fluency, so you can move on to SAS grund, and then SAS. Once SFI is done one should be able to have a medium difficulty conversation, make arguments, and understand those around you, provided they don't talk with plummes in their mouths. But don't expect to be able to write a 4 page essay on any subject.
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Crackers and Cream
post 6.Jun.2014, 09:11 PM
Post #8
Joined: 5.Jun.2014

"Any idiot can memorise enough to pass a 30 minute test."

That's an interesting statement...I've met way too many people that couldn't seem to pass the test at the end of about a month of Swedish work at SFI...further still the tests, at the end of each level, run for 4 hours each.

The tests examine written abilities and hearing, speaking, and reading comprehension.
It's therefore not about memory but more; it's about comprehension.

I bet that the people who don't pass the tests would appreciate being referred to as less than idiots as much as those who do pass the tests appreciate being referred to as idiots.

Let's try and keep this about motivation and sharing positive opinions instead of about name-calling and negative classifications of people. smile.gif wink.gif
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post 6.Jun.2014, 10:58 PM
Post #9
Joined: 17.Oct.2012

QUOTE (gplusa @ 6.Jun.2014, 07:24 PM) *
I had to remind myself after a few weeks in SFI that the entire point of my being there was not to pass the course, but to learn Swedish.

Just like gplusa, I already had a full time job and so SFI was only about learning the language and (for me) having a non-judgmental environment to practice and have conversations in Swedish. The regular practice and immersion in swedish a couple of times a week worked wonders for me.
QUOTE (gplusa @ 6.Jun.2014, 07:24 PM) *
Maybe we should start a thread for classic Swedish language cock-ups.

My turn! Like the time I was umlaut-blind and walked around thinking that tick-fever was a reallly big problem since there are so many fastighetsf
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