Yesterday I had my first day of Swedish for Immigrants. There were 9 of us. When we arrived they asked us what our names were, what language we speak, and where we come from. Poland, Germany, Romania, Thailand, Iraq (2), Afghanistan (2), and me. Then they spent a lot of time introducing the course. The class meets in person on times when you can be available Monday, Tuesday and Wednesday from kl. 14 – kl. 18 In addition you can take up to 15 hours per week of online lessons. The textbooks are free but the workbooks cost 84 SEK.
They spent a great deal of time talking about the importance of communicating your schedule and coming when you say you are going to come. We would be in group lessons. There was a representative from the city there and she made a point of saying that if we are absent 3 times we are done. At the same time, they said that we could come when it suited us – any combination of online and in-person learning on the days when we could make it. I didn’t get it – how could we come whenever it worked for us at the same time that we were in a group with others? How were we supposed to communicate our schedule?
My confusion clearly showed on my face because the person from the city recommended that they explain again in English. All that did was confirm the fact that I had understood what they said but I still didn’t understand what I was supposed to do.
They passed out a pretest and, I have to say that Rosetta Stone has served me pretty well when it comes to reading and writing in Swedish. I found it easy except for the fact that I didn’t know all of the months and I think I misspelled the Swedish work for autumn.
I also had a 5-minute interview with the city representative. She started the interview in English and I tried to switch to Swedish a bit. She asked what I was doing in Sweden, how long I would stay, how many years of education I have, etc. At the end she asked in English, “Are you motivated to learn Swedish?” to which I replied that it would certainly be helpful in my research if I could speak Swedish. Then she said that I was lucky. “You will pick up Swedish quickly since you are around Swedish all the time.” I was going to say that most of the people I work with speak English really well but then she added, “For many people, they only get to practice Swedish when they come here.” That is when I realized that she meant I interacted on a regular basis with Swedes while most immigrants are socially and residentially isolated from native Swedes.
I went back to the exam room after my interview. There were still some students waiting for interviews but everyone else could go. As I packed up, I asked, “What do I do now?” “Come back next week.” “When?” “When you can.” “OK.”
And thus concluded SFI, day 1.
I guess I will try to go over there on Monday just in case they are expecting me.