Or in other words a little update on my Swedish skills. This is again a very long post, with little pictures and a lot of text, be aware 😉
So far my history with language courses went like this:
I started SFI course B in March, but because of the skills I had gained at work I was able to finish this course early after only 2 weeks and take the test for SFI course C right away as well. After that I could at the beginning of April start with the SFI course D.
Sadly the class was overfilled with a lot of students that needed extra help. Later on I was invited into Facebook groups, where testcontents were shared. I declined those invites, because it would have robbed me of a feeling of success when finishing a class. I haven’t cheated on exams in many years. If I mess up, I mess it up knowing that at least I tried and I tried it honestly and did my best. And with that thought in mind any success feels all the more fullfilling.
Because I was not happy in that class and the teacher hardly had any time to answer my questions or give me feedback in the amount that I would have needed it and I also felt like I could probably take more new knowledge from one course further, I decided to take the end test early. So after only 2 months, at the end of May, I finished also SFI course D with a grade of B. Not an A like in the previous classes, but not a bad grade either.
Since my grade was higher than C, I was invited for a test to determine my level of Swedish and which course I should continue with. That test was in the beginning of June. I had already applied to continue studying the next course from distance and was told that after the test results came, I would get all the information I needed on when and where to continue.
I got the results via mail, that I could continue with Svenska som andraspråk grundläggande kundskaper 4. This meant, that I got to jump over 3 classes again – yay!
In the mail that I got, I was informed that I would shortly get further information via a letter regarding the next course. After 2 weeks I still hadn’t heard or gotten anything, so I called the language school to hear more about how when and where to continue. I was told that the letter was already on the way and would arrive shortly, all information would be in it.
The letter arrived about one week later, at the very end of June. In it was just one information: a date and a time. No other details on how to log in into the online system, if there was any presence necessary at the school and how often that might be the case. There was no information on how long it would take on that introduction date either, so I could do nothing but wait. After all I had been told on the phone, that the letter would withhold all information there was, so I figured calling again would only cost them and me time and nerves and would probably not lead to any new information. The set date was at the beginning of August, which meant for me another month of waiting, until I could finally continue learning Swedish. Or maybe even properly start, since at the time being most of my language skills I had acquired through work, while the classes sadly weren’t very helpful.
So another month without classes passed and it was finally time for that course to start. On August 8th there was an information date and that information included learning that apparently classes took place 3 times a week for each 1,5 hours. That was about the time I would spend driving back and forth to be there and it was also not quite what I had imagined a ‚distance learning‘ course programme to be. So I talked to the teacher about it and she confirmed my confusion – I was not actually enrolled in a distance learning course, but in a normal one. I was very glad that I had my friend Ariane with me. She also moved to Sweden from Germany and we met when we were in the SFI course D together. We had applied together for this course and together we were absolutely sure, that we had said more than once that it is important for us to enroll in a distance learning course and that the woman from the administration had confirmed this for us several times.
We tried to talk to her again right on that day, but she was sadly very busy and sent us to another employee in the same school. She however was not in her office at the time but on a coffee break. So we waited about half an hour until we could speak to her. She confirmed that there was no notice in either of our files on distance learning, but promised us to talk to the schools headmaster about this to enable us to enroll in distance learning as soon as possible. If everything went well as soon as possible still meant waiting at least 2 weeks for the application and everything to be processed.
This was a quite frustrating situation, because if I had been given more information from the start I would have known much earlier that I was put into the wrong course and could have much earlier corrected this mistake and continued learning Swedish. While I was still thinking about this on my way home, I got a mail saying I could start with the online course in 2 weeks. That was right when I was in Germany, but it was an online course after all so this shouldn’t be an issue.
I was excited to start the course, but could not have a first look at any of the contents until the course actually started. When it did, I noticed that many of the contents were behind paywalls for several different books. I spoke to Ariane about it and she had actually purchased the books and noticed that the books didn’t contain actual explanations for the different topics and chapters, but more exercises. This was frustrating, because how are you supposed to do exercises about something you don’t know anything about? Explanations were nowhere to be found.
At the point where I am writing this, I am halfway through the course and entirely frustrated. I fulfill the weekly exercises and get really good grades, but sadly no feedback on what exactly I can do better. One time I got a lot of feedback, which was sadly not about my language, but about the formalities of a letter to the editor that we had to write. Where I read the explanation of what such a letter is and decided to follow my own instinct, because I didn’t understand those formalities to be mandatory. So far it feels like I continue learning Swedish through work but not through this course and at the moment I am considering to stop with the courses alltogether after this and take a Swedish test in about half a year to prove that my level of Swedish has reached level C1.
At the moment I am very confident that I am at least on B2 level, on good days maybe even on C1 already. It always changes from topic to topic and day to day how well I can speak and understand Swedish, but generally I am very happy about how my language has developed up until now.
Again I will add the explanations for B2 and C1 according to Wikipedia, like I did in my last post about language.
B2 means that I:
- Can understand the main ideas of complex text on both concrete and abstract topics, including technical discussions in their field of specialization.
- Can interact with a degree of fluency and spontaneity that makes regular interaction with native speakers quite possible without strain for either party.
- Can produce clear, detailed text on a wide range of subjects and explain a viewpoint on a topical issue giving the advantages and disadvantages of various options.
C1 is a much further advanced language level and means that I:
- Can understand a wide range of demanding, longer clauses, and recognize implicit meaning.
- Can express ideas fluently and spontaneously without much obvious searching for expressions.
- Can use language flexibly and effectively for social, academic and professional purposes.
- Can produce clear, well-structured, detailed text on complex subjects, showing controlled use of organizational patterns, connectors and cohesive devices.
So reading this, it is obvious I am not on C1 yet, but when I am having a really good day language-wise I certainly meet some of those criteria. For me this is by far not enough to take a test on it though. I want to be on this level everyday for a certain amount of time until I feel it would be appropriate to take a test. So maybe in winter or spring I will look into the possibilities of taking a test on this. Until then I will finish this course and see how I will continue after that, though it feels like taking another class would not be the best option at this point.