Monday, January 7, 2019

Back to School with Yoobi

Happy first Monday of January! I'm so excited to finally share this post with you guys now that school is officially back in session for so many of us.

As I've mentioned on my instagram, I decided to start taking the official Swedish language class here in Sweden (called SFI) last year and I've learned so much from it so far. I get a lot of questions about what it's like learning a new language, so I thought I'd share my tips and tricks and to top it off, I partnered with my favorite school supply company, Yoobi! I love this company not only because they make the cutest, most colorful school/home/office supplies I've ever seen, but for every item sold on their website as well as at Target, they donate a school supply to a classroom in need in the US. Truly a wonderful initiative that I am proud to support! Pictured on my (very messy, haha) bed is a pack of mini highlighters, sticky notes, pencil pouches, journals, index cards, tape, pencils, pens and the cutest laptop case. Seriously, everything they make is adorable and makes learning more fun, too. Go check them out!

Tips for learning a new language

So you say you want to learn a new language but don't know where to start? The best thing you can do is to take a class in that language! Most languages are offered at community colleges, but you can also sometimes find independent courses with a little google search, which I had to do in the beginning of my learning because Swedish, as it turned out, was not offered everywhere. Before I moved to Sweden (in 2017), I found a private language school to help me get the basics of Swedish down and it really helped. I met with my teacher once a week at her home and we covered one chapter a week of a book that was assigned for me. In those ten weeks, I learned how to pronounce all of the vowels (they are so hard if you don't know them), I learned how to count, read simple sentences and stories, read the clock, and she also taught me about customs, traditions and holidays. When I moved, I felt more confident in what I knew, even though I wasn't anywhere near fluent back then. It also helps to get a language learning app on your phone that you can use at your own leisure such as duolingo (especially if you don't have time to take a physical class).

Once I moved to Sweden (in January of 2018), I signed up for Rosetta Stone's online language program. This was more advanced than duolingo and wasn't cheap, but still fairly simple and I loved having something to "do" every day while I was figuring out and getting used to my new life here. They usually have great sales as well so definitely check them out. The Swedish course was 12 unit course, which allowed me to complete in 6 or 12 months, at my own pace. Rosetta Stone teaches you auditory learning, writing, and reading. They also offered tutoring, and had games you could play to help you brush up your skills and improve your knowledge. I really liked it, but ended up only getting through 6 units because I landed a job over the summer that left me too busy (and tired) to continue.

Once the summer job ended, I decided to enroll in the "official" Swedish language course here called SFI (Swedish for Immigrants), and being in an actual classroom with other students has been the best form of learning for me and what I'd say has been the most helpful overall. There are around 20 other people in my class (which sometimes can vary - today we were only 7!), and our class meets 4 days a week for 4 hours per day. We can only speak Swedish in class which honestly really helps me because then I can't fall back on my English (which is SO easy to do). Every day, we practice word recognition by writing down what we hear, we watch films, we read out loud, and sometimes we have homework (not always, though). If you're serious about becoming fluent in a language, surrounding yourself in a place where you are forced to only speak the language is KEY in becoming more fluent!

If school isn't for you...

There are other ways to learn! Watch movies and tv shows with that language's subtitles, watch movies in that language, listen to audio books that are in that particular language. Try to write down what you hear in a song, even if you don't know how to spell the word. Soon enough, you'll be able to recognize that word and overtime it will become easier to pick up on more when you hear them used in a sentence! (That's been my favorite part of learning, I think!). 

Another thing I'd like to say is to not put pressure on yourself. This is something I am very guilty of, but if you can try not to and to just have fun with it, you will be more successful in learning. Diving  straight in and leaving any intimidating thoughts out will be so good for you and it's something I try to keep in mind every day even though it's hard!

I hope that all of this helped. If you're trying to learn a new language, I'd love to hear which one in the comments! 

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