A lot has been going on recently, so not a lot of blogging has been happening. Which just means there’s a lot to write about!
I won’t write it all at once, I’ll spread it out over a few posts.
Between the end of my intensive Swedish language course and my exams, My girlfriend came over from the UK and we visited Stockholm together.
Stockholm is a pretty nice city. Not what I expected, but then again, I didn’t know what to expect! The fact that it’s on a load of islands really makes getting around difficult, particularly when the tunnelbana (underground/metro) is so expensive, and frankly a little bit useless. We really are spoiled by the London Underground back home… That said, however, the trains were frequent, clean and quick… so long as you wanted to go to Gamla Stan, T-Centralen or Slussen! Luckily, the center is quite walkable which is something I’d highly recommend doing.
We visited Skansen, the open air museum on Djurgården, which documents Swedish history and wildlife. As well as walking around Gamla Stan and Södermalm, both really worth exploring!
We enjoyed fika at various cafes and took a look around a couple of museum ships berthed next to the Vasamuseum (which had a queue that went so far out of the door that we decided to give it a miss). I also discovered Eriksberg, a Swedish beer, which I really enjoyed. I will certainly be making a trip to the Systembolaget to pick some up!
Next month, when my brother and parents come over to visit, I will be heading to Stockholm to meet them. Hopefully I’ll get a chance to visit the Vasamuseum with them.
Last Tuesday I had the first of my two Swedish exams. It was the oral exam, something I was rather worried about. I have bad memories of my GCSE French oral, and was desperate to make sure I didn’t do badly.
My trip to Stockholm gave me a chance to use some things I’d learned in practical circumstances, but never in proper conversation.
I spent the evening before the exam with some other exchange students, trying to talk in Swedish about things that we would need. Namely: who we are, where we come from, what we study, what we do on a regular day, what our interests are, what we think of Sweden etc.
We were joined by a couple of Swedes from my corridor who helped us along, and seemed reasonably impressed with some of what we were saying. As one of my study partners said: “I came here to learn Swedish, not to pass an exam.” We had good fun learning about how Swedes use their language, even mastering phrases such as “Alla svenskar är löjligt snygg.”
In any case, it must have helped, because I really enjoyed my exam. I felt like I was having a proper conversation, rather than just reciting prepared answers to questions I knew were going to be asked. It was so liberating not to be a slave to a script and construct sentences in the exam! I loved it!
I loved it so much that I’m trying to sort out starting the more advanced course. I might even become fluent someday… (Maybe holding out too much hope.)
So, that’s part one of what I’ve been up to. More to follow, but now I must revise for my written exam! Wish me luck…