How about Swedish Language?

Last time it was my turn to take over our Snapchat  I got a couple of questions regarding Swedish language. I’ve also gotten some questions via email asking whether it’s necessary to speak Swedish if you want to work and live here. so I got inspired to tell you a bit more about how Swedish language is like and whether or not it’s difficult to learn. Here we go!

1. How is Swedish language like?

Swedish is a north Germanic language, it’s a descendant of Old Norse, a language spoken by Germanic peoples living in Scandinavia during the Viking Era. Swedish is closely related to Norwegian and Danish, so most Scandinavian people can to some extent understand each other. It’s also related to other Germanic languages, such as German, Dutch and English, so you’ll find some similarities between Swedish and them. Swedish language is spoken in Sweden and some parts of Finland, though it’s not at all similar to Finnish.

2. Is it necessary to learn Swedish?

If you come to Sweden for studies, many programmes at Swedish universities are taught in English, so you don’t necessarily need to know any Swedish before moving here. If you wish to study on a university level in Sweden in Swedish language you have to take a language test called Tisus (Test i svenska för universitets- och högskolestudier) in order to prove that you have the necessary language skills.

For working in Sweden the language requirements depend on the job and the company, there are multinational companies that do business outside Sweden and they often have some positions where knowing Swedish isn’t necessary. However, learning the language definitely increases your opportunities for finding a job in Sweden. And at least for my self learning the local language has brought me closer to the culture and people. I also find it annoying not being able to understand anything people are saying. 😄

3. How / where to learn it?

Some learn Swedish just by coming to Sweden and starting to interact and learn from the natives. Most people take Swedish courses in order to start from the basics. SFI schools are a popular place for foreigners to study Swedish on a basic level. Many universities also provide courses in Swedish language. We all have different preferences when it comes to studying and learning new things and at least for me it’s been important to learn the basic grammar and vocabulary and to be able to practice first at a classroom. I’ve learned a lot of Swedish at the university when doing group work with Swedes and they spoke to Swedish to each other. I’ve found it easier, or at least felt more comfortable in participating in a group conversation, than having a one on one conversation.

A link to my previous post on studying Swedish in Umeå:

4.  Is it easy?

Yes and no. If compared to, for instance, English, Swedish language isn’t really complicated. The grammar is quite simple and many words are borrowed from English or German. The biggest issue for most foreigners is that Swedes are very good with English and are happy to speak it. There are also different dialects, some of which might be easier to understand than others. But technically speaking, Swedish is not difficult to learn.

Do you find learning Swedish or any other foreign language easy or difficult? Share your experience in the comments below! 👇

Featured image by Ola Ericson

Leonilla avatar


  • Zia • 25 Aug 2017 at 9.41 pm Reply

    Hej Leonilla, I have got a query if you or anyone has an info about. If i come as a student to study Swedish language in folkuniversitetet/ISU programme which is a 1 year language programme from Beginner to Advanced level. What I want to ask is; do i get the same student status as other University students normally get e.g. registering personal number and entitlement to Medical insurance if visa is of 1 year or more etc. Or are there any separate rules for folkuniversitet students? what difference is there between a Normal universities student and folkuniversitet student if duration of the study is 1 year or more? If anybody has info, it will be of great help. Thanks

    • Leonilla
      Leonilla • 28 Aug 2017 at 9.18 pm Reply

      Hej Zia! The biggest difference is that in folkuniversitet you don’t earn a degree like in a normal university. I’m not sure about the personal number, but I’d guess you will not be entitled to get one, as you’ll be staying for only one year. It’s the same if you study for a one year master programme, you don’t get one. I’m also not sure about the insurance and visa issues, so I think it’s better if you contact folkuniversitet directly. They can provide you with more information. 🙂 / Leonilla

  • Stanley Osiaje • 27 Apr 2017 at 1.27 pm Reply

    Your comment …Hello Leonilla, good work you’re doing helping with so much info. God bless you.
    I’m a Nigerian; very interested in coming to Sweden for Medicine. In fact I just figured Sweden could be a wonderful destination, been pursuing other destinations to no avail.
    Below are my details, could you please contact me via my email so we could talk about my plans.
    Thank you

    • Leonilla
      Leonilla • 28 Apr 2017 at 7.26 pm Reply

      Hej! Medicine is only taught in Swedish, so as a foreign student it can be tricky to study it. But if you have further questions, you can email me leonilla.studyinsweden(at) 🙂 / Leonilla

  • Joshua • 10 Apr 2017 at 5.16 pm Reply

    I’m learning Swedish with tutors on It’s a good source and I started to practice speaking. But even now I’m looking for new opportunities to try something new in language learning.

    If you know some great ways you tried yourself, let me know, please.I’ll be glad.

  • Juanita • 10 Apr 2017 at 2.53 pm Reply

    I was wondering if you could publish when the SI scholarships for summer language courses open… I had no idea they had any and I just missed the application. Being a student from outside europe everything costs so much and those stipends are quite motivational, both for having a good command of Swedish and making some friends in the meantime!
    Thank you 🙂

    • Leonilla
      Leonilla • 10 Apr 2017 at 10.35 pm Reply

      Hej! That’s a good point. I’ll message it forward. 🙂

  • Eve • 6 Jan 2017 at 2.47 pm Reply

    Hallo, I searching a person who can help me online by studying swedish grammar mostly 🙂 and force me to speak. Cause im very shy 😀

  • Amadou Mane • 11 Oct 2016 at 2.03 pm Reply

    hello .l am amadou Mane l live in senegal,Dakar. l want to study in sweden .so how to get scholarship there?

  • Tarek • 5 Oct 2016 at 1.29 pm Reply

    Hello , i nées help here !
    I’m looking for someone that explain to me what I have to do to come to Sweden to study and work !

    • Leonilla
      Leonilla • 5 Oct 2016 at 10.57 pm Reply

      Hi, for more information on studying in Sweden you can visit for working in Sweden you can check 🙂

      Best, Leonilla

      • Hajar • 26 Dec 2016 at 12.46 pm Reply

        Hi ! Please i m a moroccan student and i want to stdy architecture in Swedish language, i would like to know what i have to do? If there is a language year to learn swedish that i have to take ? please I need information

        • Leonilla
          Leonilla • 27 Dec 2016 at 8.39 pm Reply

          Hi Hajar! You will need to take a proficiency test in order to be able to study in Swedish language. You can find more information about different options for learning Swedish, as well as proficiency tests here: 🙂

Reply or comment