Last week, I started Swedish for Invaders. The true term, Swedish for Immigrants (SFI). A well organized government program (free I might add) for new inhabitants living in the country of Sweden. Class is 5 days a week (M-F), four hours a day, a big commitment, but essential to learning the language in the beginning. My brain is fried, but I'm loving the process. There's something energizing that happens when learning something new. Jumping in with both feet. I love it for now, but who knows, maybe I'll be pulling my hair out at some point in the near future. Let's hope not.
The first two weeks is a simple Introduction to Swedish, then after the two weeks are over, we break into our respective levels dependent on prior education. For my time slot it's only me and a young man from China. He's a cool guy, who does his best with the "l" and "r" sounds. For those who do not know, in many Asian languages, such as Mandarin, these sounds are pretty much nonexistent and makes for a challenge. Who knew Swede's rolled their "r's" as much as they do. Geesh.
Anyway, it's nice to have such a small class, therefore extra attention. I've been thanking my lucky stars for the Rossetta Stone program I started a year ago, because it really gave me a good start. It's some of the best stuff out there to get the basics down. Although, I've already come to the conclusion that I've got a pretty steep mountain to climb before becoming fluent. But it's funny, I seem to have an edge over my Chinese counterpart, because English is in the same language family, however with that being said, over 90% of Swedes speak English, and speak it incredibly well. So, out of sheer laziness I can always rely on my English to get by, which doesn't force me to speak Swedish, unless I'm über disciplined about it. With my Chinese classmate, who doesn't speak English at all, he will be forced to speak the language, therefore has even more motivation to speak it. This is the dilemma for English speaking people who move here. I mean, most Swedes understand English even in a cultural sense. My boyfriend even has an American accent when he speaks. Whereas during my time living in Asia the Taiwanese English speakers I conversed with didn't usually understand English in a cultural sense, especially when I would make jokes and such. Here, it's never a problem. Even the kids speak English, and speak it well.
I'm having fun being a student. Stretching the insecurity of sounding stupid and ridiculous, while seriously feeling like I'm back in the first grade. Learning to count, saying the alphabet, sounding out words, identifying colors and nouns, putting together sentences. Hey, we all gotta start somewhere.
I'm looking forward to the day when I can say I'm bilingual! Won't that be nice. This is a challenge I'm am definitely up for.