Tag Archives: learning swedish

How to learn Swedish with todays available media.

Swedish is not the easiest language to learn, and to be honest I haven’t spent a lot of time studying the language over the past 11 months. Formula Student is coming to an end, meaning more time to do other stuff (no more sleepless nights or early morning shifts – YAY!). A new semester starts in less than a month *cries inside*, and new things are coming, so this time I enrolled to SFI (Svenska För Invandrare – or Swedish for immigrants) with the hope to improve my nonexistent language skills, and recently I got a group assigned starting on the 17th!

But, apart from taking classes…what other ways are useful to learn the language?

Look no further, here are a few life hacks to get yourself started into learning Swedish!

1. Watch your TV series/movies in Swedish.

A little background before I explain why this might be helpful. Upon my arrival, I started an intensive course, with the hopes to learn enough to have the casual fika conversation (I laugh at myself for being so naive), during those days my teacher suggested to watch TV in Swedish, but at that time I was living in a student dorm without access to any TV, and to be honest I had no time to look out for something online.

*fast forward*

At the beginning of the summer I moved in to a different place where a TV was available. One morning, I found myself with my flat mate watching a TV series with Swedish subtitles, soon enough I got used to “read” the subtitles and unconsciously connect the words with their English version! Not much of an improvement but it helped me to pick up some new words and get some examples of grammar structure.

My point here is: First of all, one does get familiar with the language and practice it while watching TV (especially if the program is in Swedish), as you can connect words with their translation, get used to grammar structure, and familiarize with the pronunciation. Secondly, it is something that you can do in your free time and it literally takes no effort.

Source: Pixabay.

2. Trying to figure the news.

As an international student, it’s rare to understand what is going on with the country you are living in, mainly because A) the newspaper is in Swedish naturally. B) most of the articles online are in Swedish as well.

In my attempt to read, I came across 8 SIDOR. A news portal that has an integrated “audio articles” (I don’t know how to say it in a better way) in all their posts. Although most of the times I don’t understand anything (this can be frustrating I know but just give it a try), I find it interesting to listen the way words are supposed to be pronounced and how are they spelled.

Source: Pixabay.

  1. Podcasts.

Honestly my knowledge in podcasts is limited. Before coming to Sweden the closest thing, I knew about podcasts was that there was an app in my phone, that was all. Today, after following  Edite’s podcast for a while now, I started listening to a few of them on my way to Chalmers whenever Spotify’s weekly recommendation wasn’t so good. This is how I came across to a few podcasts in Swedish that I listen to even though I don’t understand them most of the times.

The ones that I like are about topics that I’m familiar with, this helps me understand a little bit more about the context of the podcasts itself and at the same time I get to listen the pronunciation and “melody” of the language. There are hundreds of podcasts available in here.

Source: Pixabay.

So, now you know a few other ways to get started. Let me know if you guys have any other non-traditional method to learn Swedish!


SFI without a personal number!

I decided to study in Sweden for a number of reasons, one being the opportunity to begin to properly learn a language. As a typical Brit, I only speak English…despite having 5 years of French lessons during school.

Since moving to Stockholm I’ve been keen to have lessons and get talking the lingo. My svenska journey started back in September during introduction week when my university offered international students a free 3-day language course. At the end of the course I was super keen to continue to learn and felt the 3-days gave me and excellent basis to build upon. Our teacher explained to us about Swedish for Immigrants (SFI, svenska för invandare) and encouraged us that this was the best way to keep developing our skills.

SFI is the free course for anyone moving to Sweden to live, work or study. It is organised by the city council depending on where you are living, for me this is Stockholms stad. So I started researching how I could sign up…

I found the phrase I feared most:

“In order to study SFI, you must be registered in Stockholm City and you should have received your full national registration number.”

As a student on a 1-year course I don’t qualify for a personal number. The reoccurring theme in Sweden is that your need a personal number for EVERYTHING. I asked a few people about SFI and the personal number, everyone told me you definitely need one.


When you find out you need a personal number to do everything in this country.

I gave up the idea of SFI and went to some informal lessons with Language@KI taught by a medical student for 2 hours a week. Although these were great fun and helpful, I really needed some more hours per week to really get to grips of Swedish. I was also using Duolingo to supplement the lessons.

Anyway, a new year a new beginning. I will do more Swedish in 2016. My housemate also had the same New Years Resolution so we looked into SFI again.

A new phrase had appeared on the website:

“If you are an EU / EEA citizen or citizen of Switzerland you should have a right of residence (for work, studies) and be a resident in Stockholm. Bring your passport (to show citizenship).”

No personal number required!


When you find out you don’t need a personal number for everything in this country.

Whether this is a new exception or the rumours about the personal number and SFI were false for EU citizens, I’m not sure. BUT we visited SFI on Wednesday, passports in hand and registered successfully. CHECK!


  • You don’t need a personal number for SFI
  • If you don’t have a personal number – you need to be an EU citizen
  • A coordination number is also fine for registering
  • Bring your passport!
  • Congrats – can you now learn Swedish.

I start SFI on the 25th January with 3 of my friends doing 9 hours a week. It’s is going to be intense.

So easy! Applied to Swedish for Immigrants (SFI) class

Photo: Göteborg SFI office is conveniently located next to the ICA supermarket. So you can sign up before doing your groceries. Efficiency, check!


Göteborg, 14 Mai, 11C, Light rain


Tuition paying students at Chalmers get to attend a four month (aprox. 16 classes) Swedish Intro course for FREE!

The course is organized by Folkuniversitetet (http://www.folkuniversitetet.se), which loosely translates into Folk University… maybe you can compare it to “adult education” or “community college”… For me, Folkuniversitetet is a cozy/friendly studying environment, where I spent every Tuesday night learning Svenska.



Swedish isn’t a hard language to learn. Seriously, have you tried French before?



Swedish really isn’t that hard. I mumble and slur my English words so much that people think I’m speaking Swedish.


The other digital ambassadors have been making good progress… some handy tips:

  1. Dena: http://blogs.studyinsweden.se/2014/10/17/learn-swedish/
  2. Jesus: http://blogs.studyinsweden.se/2014/11/13/the-ultimate-guide-to-learn-swedish-for-free/

But the truth is…my Swedish isn’t going so well. It is my fault. I didn’t put enough time/effort into it. At Folkuniversitetet, I listen to my Swedish teacher preach while I stuff dinner into my face. Afterwards, I usually doze-off, thanks to a day of hard work at Chalmers.




In the back of my mind, I knew this SFI course existed, because one Chinese girl said she had difficulty signing up. The reasoning was this course is meant/prioritized for immigrants who are in need.








Then I conveniently forgot about SFI … until one day…








One day my friend Eva tells me she and her friends have signed up for SFI, and sends me the link:










but in essence, what you really need to know is:


Address: Rosenlundsplatsen 2

Opening time:

Måndag 10-16

Tisdag 10-18.30

Onsdag 10-16

Torsdag 10-16

Fredag stängt




Need list:

1/ you + 1 hr

2/ your passport

3/ a paper from the tax office with your Personal Number on it (when you land in Sweden, you need to register at the local tax office. Once you are registered, you will be assigned a Personal Number)





SO EASY! I was shocked how easy and effortless it was!


Approximately 3 month queue period.




Go sign up!











enclosed: some information sheets I received while signing up for SFI


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