Tag Archives: flytta till Sverige

What does washi tape have to do with learning a language?

Learning English, Swedish, French or Chinese? Or any other language?

To work on your vocabulary when learning a new language I want to share the following tip with you. Put washi tape on items, drawers, shelves and boxes and write the object’s name on it. Remove when you have learnt the word and choose new objects.

Great for bilingual kids too, expanding their vocabulary! At home I use it for my children (TCKs) to not forget words after returning to passport country after expat life.

Washi tape is pretty masking tape, originating from Japan. It is removable and reusable, slightly transparent with a paper feel to it (made from rice paper). It comes in all sorts of patterns and colors; select one that goes well with text for this language learning project! Washi tape is commonly used for scrapbooking, art journaling and other creative projects.

Ready, craft, go! Learn!

 

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Do you understand the news in Swedish?

Listening to the radio you probably can’t avoid the news. The news are usually read in a fast pace, and what I find after having returned to Sweden, contain a lot of slang words that didn’t use to belong there. Only the other day I heard them use the Swenglish word “hosta” as in “to host” talking about a major sports event on the news.

If you are learning Swedish you might want to try to listen to Klartext. Klartext is a news program by the Swedish Radio channel P4. The news is easier to follow than regular news since the pace is slower and the words used are easier to understand.

You can either listen to the radio (18-18.10 on weekdays), via the web page, as a podcast or via an app on your phone. The app is called SR Play. Listening to Klartext is a good way of practicing your understanding of spoken Swedish, perhaps in addition to your Swedish classes.

You can also read their news on the website.

Visit Klartext’s website to practice your Swedish! You will find links to the news, the app and pod casts here, as well as the written news.

For English info on Klartext go here.

Please leave a comment – have you tried it? Did you find it difficult?

Easter witches

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Last year I remember we had a very vivid discussion in my expat network about the Swedish tradition of dressing up as an Easter witch. People were appalled by the thought of it; seeing Easter witches as something dark and scary. It can be hard to understand and accept other culture’s traditions and it can be equally hard for a person familiar to them to get why they can be provoking or upsetting. We are usually so caught up with and used to the traditions (hence the word) that we don’t really think about the whys and hows and what it can possible look like to an outsider.

I tried to explain that the Easter dressing up is like Halloween – kids knock on doors, sometimes leaving a homemade Easter card and hope for candy in return. But we all have different references to witches (come on, we do!) and it wasn’t until I googled pictures of cute little Easter witches that we all agreed that it wasn’t such a bad thing after all! Boys and girls dress up in long colorful skirts and headscarves (the most important attribute) and red colored cheeks and lots of freckles. Lately we also see little Easter Men and Bunnies.

The word “påskkärring” actually does not even mean Easter witch but rather “Easter Old Woman”. There is very little in common with the witches people believed in during the 17th Century – also people did not drink coffee in Sweden at the time, and a dressed up kid usually carries a coffee pot around accompanying the broomstick; sometimes even a black cat.

So, when can you expect them to arrive – the kids, not the witches? On the West coast of Sweden it is mostly common to be visited by påskkärringar during Easter Saturday, whereas Thursday is more common in the rest of the country.

#worldcolors Green

If you’ve followed my blog you know I like photography. That’s why I immediately joined #worldcolors when I stumbled upon Naomi’s blog post. According to it March is all about Green! But is it really? Well, in my part of the world it is fairly grey right now; cold, winter and no snow at all. If you read my blog post the other day you know I’m more than ready to welcome spring and green colors into my world again.

For the photo project #worldcolors I first planned to go through old photos to find the lush green ones, filled with memories from all over the world. Then on Friday I spent a few hours outside in the biting cold and decided to make #worldcolors Green a real challenge. I would look for green objects to shoot during the day – outside. And yes it was quite a challenge, but a fun one! Below are my green finds! Please feel free to join the #worldcolors! You still have a couple of weeks to find your take on green!

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10 Quick tips on how to plan your stay when living abroad or traveling

Living abroad or traveling – tips for exploring and sightseeing

When I arrive in a new place I’m always eager to explore the surroundings. Sometimes I already know what I would like to see, sometimes I don’t have a clue. One thing I know though is that I don’t want to leave feeling I have missed out on places and things to discover simply because it “just didn’t happen”. This is an advice I always share with expats getting ready to leave for a new destination; do not go back without stories to tell, and memories to savor!  We all know that time flies so start planning your stay abroad! Below I’m sharing some of my tips to help exploring a new location. They are not only valid for living abroad but work for traveling and vacation too!

10 Quick tips on how not to miss out on places to go when living abroad or traveling

Here are a few tips for your inspiration
on planning what you want to experience in your adopted country and to get you going!

  • Start right away
  • Try apps such as Stuck on Earth or let Google World Wonders Project inspire you.
  • Stock up on guide books – still my favorite source for inspiration, and excellent to save as memories. Notes in them makes it more personal!
  • Ask people for tips – in person or on internet forums.
  • Local papers – ads and what-to-dos sections can provide ideas even if you don’t master the language.
  • Don’t limit yourself to searching the Internet – there are lots of accounts on
    Twitter providing tips on cities and regions. Facebook and Google+ works too! Instagram needless to say offers travel eye candy!
  • Take into account how long your expatriate / travel adventure is planned to last.
  • Make a list of want-to-sees, top priorities first.
  • Schedule trips and visits for your stay. Actual dates are great but “in May”, “by end of summer” and “3 things off the list in a month” works well!
  • Be realistic! Don’t overdo it but make sure you do do it! Happy discovering when living abroad!tips for expats on living abroad and traveling

Why I love my coffee cold.

This time of the year us Swedes grab our mugs,

sit outside on a bench,

wrapped in blankets,

faces turned to the sun like sunflowers,

enjoying the first warm rays of light.

We are all probably side by side in a row,

pressed against a house wall sheltering us from the wind.

The coffee is long cold.

It doesn’t matter,

as long as we can take our fika outside we are happy!

Soon the grill will be out too.

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Fika the Swedish way

Fika is the Swedish soul.

Fika is coffee/tea/juice/whatever-except-alcohol.

Fika is our daily excuse to savor cinnamon rolls/pastry/cake/cookies.

Fika is a daily routine at our work places. Twice a day actually.

Fika is when Swedes are not taciturn.

Fika is #fika on twitter.

Fika is at home. At the office, at a café.

Fika is at the playground, in a park and in our gardens.

Fika is for business and pleasure.

Fika can be just a cuppa.

Fika is always right.

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What are your biggest struggles learning Swedish?

What are your major struggles learning Swedish?

Replies to this question via twitter and IRL include trying to actually speak it. Most people in Sweden are fairly happy to speak English which makes it easy to avoid using Swedish in every situation that holds the opportunity.

Another common answer is the prononciation of “sje-ljudet”.

Fitting Swedish classes in in a busy schedule, or having babies and young children at home all day also make it difficult to study. Here Skype works well – no time wasted on travelling to class and you can do it with babies and toddlers at home. Want to learn more?

 

Learn a few words before you travel

Knowing at least a bit of the local language is important to adapt to a new culture. Learn how to greet before your move, and how to say thank you, and teach your kids too. This is a good start when arriving. I remember my mother taught me how to say “play” in German, on the ferry, when I at the age of seven went to Germany for the first time. It was a very good word to know to start playing with other kids on the boat.

Also for vacationing purposes it is fun to know a bit of the local language. When I was working as an Italian teacher the basic courses usually involved a lot of tourist conversations – food, restaurants, travelling, shopping, accommodation. And the text books contained quite a few pretty pictures 😉 .

Some try to learn the language before they go, some start once they get there. I have done both. What about you? What worked well?

 

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