Tips for Learning Swedish

Posted in: University on 10 March, 2020 by Sebastian

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As I have mentioned previously, as a Linköping University master’s student you are entitled to free Swedish courses. I have taken full advantage of this and I am currently studying Swedish B1 level 2. I thought I would share with you some tips that have helped me to improve my Swedish (both speaking and listening).

Besides obviously attending classes every week and doing the necessary tasks, I have found that the following two tips are incredibly effective in trying to enhance one’s Swedish proficiency.

1) Listen to podcasts – one thing Sweden does very well is encouraging those who have recently moved to Sweden to learn the language and they provide them with the necessary resources to achieve this. One good example is the wide range of podcasts provided by the Swedish national broadcaster, Sveriges Radio. One podcast I listen to every day is ‘Radio Sweden på lätt Svenska’ which roughly translates to ‘Radio Sweden in easy Swedish’. This podcast basically talks about current affairs in easy to understand Swedish and they talk at a reasonable pace too, unlike your average Swede who talks at a ridiculously fast pace …

2) Befriend a Swede or several – the best way to learn is to challenge yourself and a good way to do this is to just speak the language as often as you can with other Swedes (provided they have the patience). I have been trying to just speak Swedish with my Swedish friends and although I make plenty of mistakes, my confidence is rapidly increasing and I am now more inclined to speak Swedish in public. Now this is easier said than done because the Swedes are brilliant at speaking English so it is very easy to fall into the trap of speaking English with them.

Obviously, these two tips can be applied to most languages but I think they are specifically relevant and effective in regard to learning Swedish.

 

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Surviving the Winter

Posted in: General on 27 February, 2020 by Sebastian

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Finally we are approaching March and therefore, spring! I have been warned though to not get my hopes up just yet – just when you start thinking winter is over and spring is nearing, another three weeks of miserable cold weather hits. Although, the winter has been unusually warmer than normal with the average temperature being significantly higher than previous years. And that has meant less snow too 🙁

But as we approach Spring and I reflect on my first winter here in Sweden I thought it would be a good idea to share with you some of the things I did to get me through the colder months.

  1. Take up a sport – I started playing squash on a Friday night with the LiU Squash Club. The night consists of playing squash for several hours (obviously) before having a few beers and having a sauna. It was a good way to meet new people, be social and keep active over the winter.
  2. Join a gym – this is not something that would appeal to everyone but I found it to be very helpful. I usually spend the day studying so it was a good way to distract myself from studies and get the body moving.
  3. Enjoy a few beers – I thoroughly enjoy watching sport on the weekends so I’d tend to (on a Saturday or Sunday) go to a sports bar to watch the Premier League and enjoy a beer. Again, a good excuse to get out of the apartment and a good way to relax.
  4. Go out and explore! It´s cold but as long as you have the right clothes on then it shouldn’t stop you from exploring Linköping and the greater Östergötland region.

These are just some ways, among many, to survive a Swedish winter. The winter certainly has not been as bad as I thought it would be and it didn’t stop me from doing things or enjoying myself.

 

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Brussels Field Trip

Posted in: University on 18 February, 2020 by Sebastian

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This week we were fortunate enough to fly to Brussels as part of the MIER programme and visit certain European Union institutions, the Turkish & Russian mission to the EU and other political organisations. It was an amazing opportunity to further our understanding of how the EU functions on a day-to-day basis; the challenges they face in 2020 and beyond; how, exactly, the EU is perceived by Russia and Turkey; and the policy positions of certain political organisations.

We flew there on Sunday (the weather was terrible and the flight was one of the most frightening experiences of my life but that is a story for another time) and had our first meeting on Monday morning. From then, it was a packed schedule. We had meetings everyday from Monday to Friday. The places we visited were very welcoming and put a lot of effort into educating the class on what they considered to be important issues within Europe and the international system as a whole. In addition, they were very happy to answer – or attempt to answer – our questions, even the critical questions.

We obviously had some leisure time too and this was spent exploring Brussels, tasting quality Belgian beer and trying to understand the most basic of words in French.

Below are some images of the week.

Cheers,

Seb

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Brexit Lecture by Swedish MEP

Posted in: General on 17 February, 2020 by Sebastian

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This week, as part of the Master of International and European Relations programme, we had a former Swedish Member of the European Parliament give a lecture. It was a privilege to hear him speak and I was incredibly impressed with the knowledge and experience he was able to share with us. The theme of the lecture was Brexit and what it means in a European context. He gave some very good insights as to the options available to the EU in a post-UK EU. He also spoke about the underlying factors that he thought contributed to the UK leaving the EU, some that I had not given any attention to so it was interesting and refreshing in a sense, to get a different perspective of why Brexit eventuated.

It also provided some clarity as to how the EU functions on a day-to-day basis. Currently as part of the Master programme we are studying the subject ´Contemporary European Institutions´ in which we have been learning about the structure of the European Union and how it facilitates (or doesn´t facilitate) integration among states. Obviously, we learn of the many different theories that help to explain and understand how or why the EU functions the way it does so it was a refreshing break to get some practical insights as opposed to the overwhelming amount of theory we are confronted with. Ultimately though, it helped me develop a more coherent understanding of how the EU functions on a day-to-day basis, an understanding that will be further strengthened next week when we get to travel to the EU in Brussels.

Together with the UF Talks – which I have written about in previous blogs – I have felt very fortunate to have had the opportunity to listen to so many passionate, experienced and well-informed professionals during my short time here at LiU. It provides additional exposure to new perspectives and approaches that I have found to be very helpful in my regular studies.

 

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UF Events II

Posted in: University on 3 February, 2020 by Sebastian

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G´day All!

I have spoken about UF events before but I thought it necessary to speak about it again. UF events are run by the Student Association of Foreign Affairs and during the week I attended another one in which the guest speaker was a Swedish journalist and author – Joakim Medin. He spoke about his book Orbanistan – Fear and Loathing in Illiberal Hungary. He gave a very good and detailed account of the political strategies and motivations of Hungarian Prime Minister Viktor Orban and how the events in Hungary are subsequently inspiring other right-wing populists in other EU Member States. Joakim continued by talking about populism within Europe and the characteristics and tendencies of a populist government / movement.

Now as much as I would love to write more on this topic I will have to avoid politicising this blog – I merely wanted to highlight a point I made in an earlier blog about how LiU is able to attract such inspiring guests to Linköping to share with us their knowledge and experiences. I have found these talks to be incredibly thought-provoking and in addition, they complement what I am studying really well.

There are many student associations at LiU and whether one joins for social or academic reasons they are a great way to meet new people and experience new things in what is, for most of us, a new city.

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Sebastian Westley

Sebastian
Hello, my name is Sebastian and I have recently moved to Linköping from Melbourne, Australia to study International and European Relations.
I am a keen traveler and lover of sports. Follow my blog to enjoy my travels within Sweden, life in Linköping and my experiences studying at LiU.

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