Korta Vägen is the name of the Swedish course I have been taking, which translates to "the short way". It's an intensive nine month program geared towards people who have moved to Sweden with college educations and have worked within their field of study for at least a couple of years.
To get into Korta Vägen most people complete SFI (swedish for immigrants) through another institution which can take roughly six months to a year. SFI is a wonderful program but it moves at a slower pace and isn't geared towards language fluency, but rather familiarity at a basic conversational level. I started SFI classes in August and shortly after I heard about Korta Vägen, which was beginning in October, and was eager to try and speed my learning process up. I actually didn't pass the test to get in, but luckily they take other factors into consideration aside from just your test results in order to accept candidates they feel suit the program best. Living with Andreas and having a network of Swedish people surrounding me, such as his parents and friends, was what I think made the difference for me. It is also a very time demanding course, held Monday - Friday from 8:30 am to 2:30 pm, with no lack of homework, so it's important that their students are also able to make the time commitment.
I have been most impressed with the program to say the least. The government funds the course and provides personal laptops for use throughout the program, pays for all books, and we also get a monthly stipend for being in the class full time, how amazing is that?! The main focus of the course is Swedish but there are other strong components such as resume and cover letter coaching, individual studies pertaining to your profession, and a one month internship within your field of work.
I have 13 classmates all coming from different countries, those being; Columbia, Indonesia, Guatemala, Mexico, Morocco, Afghanistan, South Korea, Poland, Iran, Philippines, and Italy. We are also a diverse group of professionals with several engineers, a doctor and a nurse, marketing and finance professionals, a dance teacher, psychologist, a graphic designer, and a judge. It's been really fun getting to know everyone and also learning a little bit more about their countries and cultures. I have two wonderful teachers who are truly committed to helping us become fluent as fast as possible. By June, I hope Korta Vägen will have prepared me to start working within hospitality and continue on my career path!
Korta Vägen was also featured in Västerbottens Kuriren, which is one of the larger newspapers in Sweden. The article is in Swedish, but still neat to see, and is attached below. It talks about the program, with an interview of four of my classmates talking a little bit about their backgrounds and what they've gained from the course.
Stuga means cabin in Swedish, and this is Andreas' families cabin, located about 30 minutes outside of Umeå. Built by Andreas' parents, it's as pure a picture of Swedish style, charm, and locale as I could possibly paint. I love this place. Notice the incredible contrast from summer to winter.
We celebrated with a few close friends and enjoyed a fantastic three course dinner! Swedes celebrate the new year same as American aside from watching the ball drop, which was something I couldn't explain and still don't understand, but no matter where you are there's something special about the thought of a new year and ringing it in family or friends.
My New Year's resolution is to progress to a fluent level of Swedish. After 7 months of living and studying Swedish I'm at a good conversational level, but being fluent is no easy task!
Picture of downtown Stockholm, New Year's Eve 2013
This picture is from 09/19/2010,
the day my Swedish life began.