Friday, September 16, 2011

Language notes part 5: a little more detail

JenniferJust to give you a feel for it, I'll describe my class a little more. On the first meeting there were only twelve students, so it looked to be quite cozy. Since it's a class in Swedish, we are all international students of course, and our citizenship/ethnic breakdown went like this: one Japanese, one Chinese, one Somali, one Turk, one Iraqi Kurd, one Colombian, two Palestinians, two Iranians (brother and sister), and two Americans. A Swedish language class that's at least half Middle Easterners is something that seems entirely normal by now.

For the last two years (on and off), I've been taking SFI classes, which met in the evening so that we immigrants with full-time jobs could attend, and to be honest, these classes were sometimes a little trying. It seemed sometimes as though most students in any given SFI class fell into one of two types: 1. People who would rather have been elsewhere, and 2. Germans.

Tuesday, September 6, 2011

Language notes part 4: Back to school

JenniferSo Autumn is here. Autumn has always been my favorite season: even though I mourn the end of summer's warmth and laziness, I always like autumn's cooler temperatures, and I also (at least as an adult) have liked Back To School time, with its promise of New and Exciting Learning Opportunities.

So far in this Autumn, however, I feel more like hunkering down and hoping that I haven't bitten off more than I can chew.

Gentle readers, I introduce you to one of Uppsala University's students entering in Autumn 2011: myself. Yes, that's right, I am now a Student, with all the responsibilities and privileges pertaining thereto. I am taking a single class, and it's a real mouthful: "Förberedande utbildning i svenska för studerande med utländsk förutbildning," or in other words, "Preparatory education in Swedish for students with foreign education." The class is full time, meets four times a week for three hours a day, and includes plenty of homework and time in the language lab. I pay no money, but receive no official credits that would count toward a degree, as this class really only serves as the groundwork for the next class to be offered in the Winter term, "Behörighetsgivande utbildning i svenska," or "Competency education in Swedish." The intended audience for these two classes is students who have already been admitted to some graduate program at the University, and who, upon completion of these classes, should be able to pass any University class given in Swedish. Or at least, not fail a class based only on language difficulties.

It's been a while now—several years, in fact—since I've been a student like this. I am excited. I am worried. I am already, only one week into class, extremely busy. Should you think to yourself, any time in the next few months, Hey, I wonder what Jennifer is up to these days, the answer is almost certainly She's studying Swedish.

Nu kör vi!