Sweden!!!

Discussion in 'Community Discussion' started by TSE, Feb 20, 2009.

  1. TSE macrumors 68030

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    #1
    Hey guys, I'm currently 15 and in 10th grade. I have decided I want to go to Sweden for my senior year (I was deciding between Sweden, Germany, or Britain), and am currently researching companies that will bring me. I decided on Sweden because I heard it is culturally less like America then Germany and Britain and most people know English so I won't get completely lost. My parents want me to research all of this on my own because they say if they are paying, then I have to do the work. I don't know where to begin, so how do I know if a company is good or not? And what do I need to go? Visa, greencard, etc.? How do I attain these? Any wise information you can give me about Swedish people?

    Thanks! :D
     
  2. EricNau Moderator emeritus

    EricNau

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    #2
    How long will you be staying? Will you be going as an exchange student, a student (independently), or for travel/vacation?
     
  3. TSE thread starter macrumors 68030

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    #3
    What is the difference between exchange student and student independently? Sorry... I don't have the slightest clue on what all this stuff means which is why I am asking here for a little direction. :eek:

    I was planning on going for a whole school year.
     
  4. Abstract macrumors Penryn

    Abstract

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    #4
    Companies that will "bring you"? I don't know what you mean. :confused:
     
  5. EricNau Moderator emeritus

    EricNau

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    #5
    As a traditional exchange student, you would stay with a host family in Sweden for 1/2 of the school year, and then the student of the host family will come back and stay with you and your family in America for the other half (while attending your school). Typically, the entire trip and plans are organized by your school and a third party (usually an organization specializing in exchanging students). There are many variations, but that's the idea.

    However, these programs when offered through a school, are usually offered in conjunction with foreign language courses. I'm assuming your High School doesn't offer Swedish?

    Which brings me to another point: can you speak Swedish? While it's true that many Europeans can speak some English, it will be extremely difficult to attend classes in Sweden without prior knowledge of the language. In this respect, it may be best to attend a country where you can introduce yourself to the language before immersing yourself into a different culture (which will be shock enough, trust me).
     
  6. TSE thread starter macrumors 68030

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    #6
    I cannot speak Swedish, but from what I heard, almost everybody in Sweden speaks fluent English and English is the main language spoken by a lot of companies, while Swedish is used as much, but it isn't the official language. I want to take a couple of Swedish courses over the next year or so, though.

    My school doesn't offer any exchange programs, so I was hoping to go through a company such as http://www.studyinsweden.se/templates/cs/SISFrontPage____4908.aspx

    I wanted to stay at Sweden for the whole school year with a host family, which I read somewhere is possible. That is what I wanted to do.
     
  7. count chocula macrumors 6502a

    count chocula

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    #7
    I was in Sweden for about a week this past summer and most of the people I encountered spoke english really well. I think it would be smart to get some of the Swedish language under your belt, though. Good luck! :)
     
  8. EricNau Moderator emeritus

    EricNau

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    #8
    That would be great for traveling, however, the schooling environment will be entirely Swedish. Don't expect them to speak English in the classroom just for your sake (to do so would sacrifice their own education).

    You're correct: Swedish in not the official language of Sweden, just as English isn't the official language of the U.S. (neither country has an official language). However, Swedish is certainly the only language in day-to-day speech (with rare exceptions in foreign business situations).

    Exchange students typically have 3 to 4 years of foreign language experience before studying abroad.

    You can also look into an organization such as Rotary International: http://www.rotary.org/en/StudentsAndYouth/youthprograms/RotaryYouthExchange/Pages/ridefault.aspx
    ...Even if they aren't the right org for you, their site and brochures may give you an idea about life as an exchange student and what to expect.
     
  9. TSE thread starter macrumors 68030

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    #9
    So would you recommend I not go to Sweden and some place that speaks English? :(
     
  10. EricNau Moderator emeritus

    EricNau

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    #10
    To the contrary, I highly recommend you begin learning a second language and travel to a foreign country in which it is spoken. The experiences you have will be of immeasurable worth.

    However, having a basic understanding of that language prior to leaving will be paramount your success and enjoyment. Unfortunately, Swedish classes are very uncommon in the U.S. ...I certainly recommend checking with local organizations and colleges, but you may wish to consider a second choice (such as German, which you mentioned earlier).
     
  11. Abstract macrumors Penryn

    Abstract

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    #11
    I don't think he has really thought this through. ;)



    And be extremely rude. I'm sorry to say it, but "how typically American" it would be to travel to a foreign country to experience a different culture, but to start conversations with Swedish people, in Sweden, using English because that's what YOU happen to speak.


    Besides, the point of studying in another country is, usually, to get a better handle on that country's language. I've gone to Japan 5 times and practiced my Japanese while I was there. Why the feck not? My friend was studying Spanish and studied in Spain for 2 months, and it wasn't to practice his English. If you don't know Swedish, and you aren't even studying it now, then don't choose Sweden.
     
  12. TSE thread starter macrumors 68030

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    #12
    I wasn't expecting to go there and just speak english. In fact about 2 days ago I have been trying to find places that have a Swedish language course, but have been pretty unsuccessful at it.
     
  13. EricNau Moderator emeritus

    EricNau

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    #13
    To address this point specifically:

    You needn't worry about the culture of Germany being too similar to that of the U.S. - it's still plenty of a shock, trust me! Regardless of the country you choose, you'll be wishing it was more like America after about a week. ;)

    Also, the vast majority of Germans can understand and speak English in metro areas (which is true in most European nations). As a traveler, knowledge of German isn't necessary; however, it is necessary as a student (as would be the case with any country).

    Not to dissuade you from Sweden or persuade you for Germany, but German classes are significantly easier to locate than Swedish.
     
  14. TSE thread starter macrumors 68030

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    #14
    Do you think I can learn German enough within a year and a half to go into Germany fulltime as a student?
     
  15. EricNau Moderator emeritus

    EricNau

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    #15
    Maybe. Community college courses may be strenuous enough. I doubt High School would offer that level of immersion, unless you run on a block schedule where you could accomplish the equivalent of two german courses in a single school year.

    You would need to start soon though.


    ...Although, many universities offer excellent study abroad programs if you're planning to attend after high school. They would streamline the process for you significantly. That's another option.


    Those things said, you should pick the language you wish to learn first, then match it to a country once you're ready to go abroad. It makes little sense (to me) to choose a country which you'd like to visit and learn the language solely for that purpose. Pick a language that makes sense for you personally, be it your heritage, family connections overseas, career plans, etc.
     
  16. Abstract macrumors Penryn

    Abstract

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    #16
    No, not unless you go to Germany to actually study primarily German. I highly doubt you'd learn enough German to just start going to their high school. However, if you studied your butt off for 1.5 years, and you studied German in Germany for 7-8 months, I think you may be able to study at a German high school for a single semester (4 months?).
     
  17. EricNau Moderator emeritus

    EricNau

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    #17
    I had friends in high school who traveled as exchange students to Germany after 1.5 years of intensive german (90 minutes every day), the equivalent of high school german courses 1, 2, and 3. It was barely enough, but enough nonetheless.

    From what I've heard, fluency then comes around 6 months after arriving, assuming you had some knowledge of German prior to arriving.

    If traveling as an exchange student you would not be expected to partake in typical classes; rather, you would be attending school for the cultural aspect, as well as improving your german. ...You wouldn't travel thousands of miles to learn calculus.


    TSE, ask your high school counselors, or the foreign language department. If you school doesn't have its own program, they'll most likely be able to help you find one.
     
  18. Axemantitan macrumors 6502

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    #18
    A good way to practice a language is to use the Wikipedia of that language. Here is the Swedish Wikipedia. I have used the German one to practice proper usage and sentence structure. Another idea is to compare pages on Apple's Swedish website with that of the English one. The wording should be an exact translation of the original English.

    If you do decide on Germany, I would recommend the Goethe Institut. I studied at their Schwäbisch Hall center one summer. They hold classes year-round and offer many extracurricular activities at low or no cost. It is German immersion only, which is a good thing because there will be many non-English speakers and you will be forced to use German as it will often be the only language you will all have in common.

    There may be a Swedish analogue to the Goethe Institut. I have heard that France has something similar.
     
  19. weckart macrumors 68040

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    #19
    As someone who has studied, worked and lived in Germany, do not assume that everyone you will meet, even in metropolitan areas, is able to, or is indeed willing to, speak more than broken English with you. While you may find someone with enough English to handle any basic query you may have, you will not have much of a social life if your German is not up to much as people will find it a chore to communicate with you. Think about that new kid in your class at school that did not speak English that well. That is going to be you, wherever you go.

    Geography is also an important consideration as regional dialectal differences can make the difference between the German you studied at school and the German you hear on the streets an insurmountable chasm. Unless you are a very quick learner and gregarious with it, I would avoid south Germany and start off in somewhere like Hannover until your spoken German improves.
     
  20. nhcowboy1 macrumors 6502

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    #20
    Been there, done that - although it was in college and not in high school. Excellent idea!

    Nonsense! Whether or not you need prior knowledge of the language depends on the program you're going with. When I was in high school, I spent a semester in France - and wouldn't have survived if I didn't already speak French. I was just dumped with a family and left to fend for myself. EVERYTHING was in French!

    But when I went to Sweden, the program I went with assumed that the students would have no prior knowledge of the language. We were provided some language materials ahead of time, but we were also placed in an intensive language program our first three weeks in Sweden. We didn't go to where we'd be living for the year until that program was complete. It wasn't enough to be fluent, but it gave us some basics . . .

    If you want to go to Sweden (or Denmark, Norway or Finland), this is who you should contact: Scandinavian Seminar. I'm not familar with their high school program, but if it's even half as good as their college program, it will be excellent! And no worries about who you're dealing with - they've been around for decades!

    I'm actually planning a trip now to go back and visit the school where I lived for that year. The teacher was my "guidance counselor" for the year is now (decades later) the school director - and I can't wait to see him again!

    I'm a bit curious that you would go your senior year, rather than your junior year. I'd think that would conflict with college interviews and things like that - but it sounds like you have a plan.

    If you have any questions, I'd be happy to help in any way I can - just let me know.

    Oh, and by the way, about that rumor that all Scandinavians speak English - think again! Yes, it's probably true for the younger generations - but is certainly not true of the older folks! Ahhh, the stories I could tell you . . . . !
     
  21. blackfox macrumors 65816

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    #21
    Though perhaps not exactly what you were hoping for, I might suggest going to Sweden (or wherever) in a few years. In the meantime, learn the appropriate foreign language.

    A friend of mine has a Swedish girlfriend, and he bought the Rosetta Stone (iirc) Swedish language kit, and made phenomenal progress in learning Swedish. Put in some time, and you could both learn another language and open up opportunities to interact more naturally in the country of your choice.

    Just an idea.
     
  22. mrfrosty macrumors 6502

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    #22
    I work for a Swedish company and spend alot of time there.
    It's a great place, really really nice........I would choose it over Germany anytime.

    Here are 13 things i just made up.

    1) Get used to the dark in winter, it's getting dark by 4pm even in southern places like Gothenburg.
    2) Everyone tends to take June / July as holiday (to maximise the light!)
    3) Most people in cities speak good english and the language is quite easy to learn as soon as you can make the strange sounds (like asking for a beer).
    4) On the subject of beer it is VERY expensive.......JD and Coke about 15 dollars or so from what i recall. I'm usually too drunk to care.
    5) If your a guy there are many beautiful girls, but many munters !!
    6) It's an expensive place to settle, although state benefits are very good i'm toldm although tax is one of the highest in Europe.
    7) The people are mostly very friendly.
    8) Many of them are blonde. But by no means all.
    9) They love long meetings with lots of arguing and no decisions seem to get taken (they are taken actually, but it's more subtle than say a UK meeting and it takes a while to spot them).
    10) The currency is the SEK.......which is great when you want to ask someone for a bit of money........"can i have some seks" ?
    11) There are plenty of "international" schools that hold lessons in english (but sadly not american)
    12) You will see nipples and bottoms on the TV, and no one will be sued for it.
    13) Their fashion sense can be quite poor, to say the very least.
     
  23. TSE thread starter macrumors 68030

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    #23
    Alright guys... this is what I've decided.

    I obviously don't have enough time to spend to learn a new language good enough to do any real school work, so I think I am going to Britain instead, while taking German/Swedish classes over these next couple of years so I might be able to go there over the summer or go there for college.

    Does anybody know of a good foreign exchange company that can take me to Britain?
     
  24. kali-shey macrumors newbie

    kali-shey

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    #24
    My Dad's side of the family is Swedish and many of them still live in Sweden. My husband and I looked into moving there, but it's pretty expensive. You can attend school there, but you will be required to learn to speak Svenska (swedish) to live/study there.
     
  25. GfPQqmcRKUvP macrumors 68040

    GfPQqmcRKUvP

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    #25
    Oh, I know. How terribly unseemly. :rolleyes:

    Heaven forbid you start a conversation in the language that they speak near perfectly and is native to you! English is the universal language. It's not American arrogance, and it's not rude to start conversations in English with English-speaking people. You know why they all learned English? Because it's useful and near universal. If you learn a couple of phrases in Swedish to let them know you're trying, they'll be more than happy.

    What would be rude, and..umm...what you call "American" would be to walk into a class that is being taught in Swedish and expecting them to change their whole class procedures on account of you. Of course, you wouldn't do that and this is the main reason why you shouldn't go to Sweden.
     

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