Swedish For Immigrants – Week 3 – The Benifits of Class

The Benefits of Class

TEST Week 3

One of 4 pages.


This is the end of my third week of my language class, and things have taken a nice turn. I got a good grade on a test, what would amount to a solid ‘B’ in American schools, and my mistakes were typos! I misspelled August (Augusti) by leaving out the ‘u’, and answered a sequence of months question by listing November in front of Oktober. Duh! I’ve never been able to proofread my own work. I have an editor in India who does that for me now. Months are not capitalized here.

A ‘B’ in class was a real upper for me. I was surprised how good it made me feel, a very welcome shot of self confidence. I can do this! At the very least I will come out knowing more than when I went in, and there are other benefits. I’ve learned a bit of Swedish from my wife’s family, basics like: hello, goodbye, and thank you – things like that. Enough to get by. But there’s a glass wall that keeps me not completely in the picture.I can sometimes grasp a basic understanding of surrounding conversations. There are English inserts for my benefit re: what is going on, sans details – which is where the devil hides.

The Swedes speak English and respond in kind when addressed in that fashion, but soon shift back into their native tongue with other Swedes involved in the discussion. My wife speaks Swedish on the phone. She could be selling the cats, or buying a horse. I would never know. One feels, and is, a bit left out of things.

This language class, four hours a day, has been an unexpected and unique experience. This third week found me unembarrassed by mistakes. They’ve become humorous. We are all making mistakes, and having a pretty good time of it. The Somalis are fun, and friendly – curious. They ask how old I am, and pat me on the back, perhaps as a congratulation for having lived so long. Their English is shaky and I often have to ask them to repeat what they have said, but they are helpful, sometimes whispering an answer when the teacher calls on me. Teacher is speaking more English now, and I am feeling comfortable with her.

Learning with ten other students has been such a different trip from going it alone. There is a wonderful feeling of support, and I find myself looking forward to the next class. Using even the limited vocabulary I’ve picked up has put me in a closer relationship with anyone I’m talking to. A door in the glass wall has begun to open. It feels great to have a bit more understanding, and some words at my command, to be a part of the conversation, instead of an observer looking in from the outside.

And there are other benefits. More later.

About Bruce Louis Dodson

Bruce Louis Dodson is an American expat now living in Borlänge, Sweden with his wife, cat and dog. He is an artist and world traveler who writes fiction and poetry and practices photography in his less than copious free time. His work has appeared in: Barely South Review - Boundaries Issue, Blue Collar Review, Pulsar Poetry (UK), Foliate Oak, Breadline Press West Coast Anthology . The E-buffet, Qarrtsiluni, Struggle Magazine, Pearl Literary Magazine, Contemporary Literature Review: India, 3rd Wednesday, Sleeping Cat Books - Trip of a Lifetime Anthology, Northern Liberties Review, Authors Abroad - Foreign & and Far Away Anthology, The Path, Page & Spine, The Crucible, Sleeping Cat Books -Trips of a Lifetime, Vine Leaves, Pirene's Fountain,Tic Toc Anthology - Kind of a Hurricane Press, Cordite Poetry Review, Buffalo Almanac and mgv2.
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15 Responses to Swedish For Immigrants – Week 3 – The Benifits of Class

  1. Way to go, Bruce! “A door in the glass wall has begun to open” – yes!

  2. Sue Pace says:

    Good for you, Bruce. I am one of those Americans who only got 1 good year of Spanish (in high school) and 1 terrible year of it! I wish we had our “second” language beginning in the second grade! But, I so admire your leap into this new-for-you culture.

  3. this sounds great, Bruce, so glad things are opening up for you… it must have been very tough…

  4. laurie27wsmith says:

    It’s great to have the interaction with the other students Bruce, you all have one thing in common, you’re all learning Swedish. 😉 It’s different studying as an adult compared to being a schoolkid. You’re there because you really want to be for starters.

  5. Alice says:

    The months make sense. Languages do open doors..and the brain as well.

  6. I laughed out loud over your description of your wife on the phone. Unless she learned English as a kid, she probably had just as much trouble when she got to the states as you’re having now. Hang in there, you’re making progress.

    • bldodson says:

      Ha! She learned as a kid, Speaks flawless English and can spell better than I can.
      (Almost everyone can spell better than I can.)

      • I don’t think they taught spelling when we were in school. If they did, it didn’t kick in with me either.

      • bldodson says:

        I member having trouble with spelling sincerely in grade school, so got some of it.
        I also remember, Matti Lane, who taught penmanship – legible script. They got rid of her job when I was in 5th or 6th grade.

      • I still write like a 5th grade boy. It’s embarrassing to sign a guest book. When I’m signing my books, people seem to think I’m eccentric and overlook the condition I leave the page.

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