Practicing Foreign Languages

2011-01-27. Published in Life in Gothenburg
by Gina

Since you left your home to study in another country, I assume you have at least a small interest in culture. Of course, a big part of culture is language. So this week I will gladly share with you some of my favorite places to entertain language addictions. Just because we are in Sweden doesn't mean Swedish is the only language we can practice here! If other languages aren't your thing, don't stop reading, because these tips are also for you who are seeking the irreplaceable comfort of speaking your native language with others who know it!


Språkcaféet (pictured above), on Esperantoplatsen (very close to Järntorget), is a very popular destination for language lovers. Monday through Thursday this "language café" has "språk kvällar" (language evenings), with different languages designated on different nights. Check out the schedule on their website here. Drop in from 17.00-19.30, buy something to eat or drink, find the flag corresponding to your language, and go to that table to meet new people while improving your language skills. This is also great if you want to go to your native language table (homesick, anyone??), because you can get back into your element with your language, and those learning your language will love practicing it with a native speaker. The languages offered are Spanish, German, French, Dutch, Russian, Italian, Finnish, Chinese, Japanese, Portuguese, English, Swedish, and Sign Language.

New!: Stay up-to-date with the latest goings-on at the Språkcafeet on Facebook.


The Public Library

[Please note: The Public Main Library is expected to close for renovation and expansion on 4 March, 2012, until the first quarter of 2014. It is likely that there will be no languages cafés there this winter. – 2012 Jan. 8]

Even the public library has language meetings. They have "Språkträff" at Internationella Hörnan (the international corner) at the Stadsbibliotek, that's the big one by Götaplatsen. You can go there and practice your speaking in several languages. Check with librarians for information about where and when to meet to practice your language of choice. If you don't know where it is, take public transportation to Götaplatsen, Berzeliigatan, or Valand. Here is a map.

There are tons of other cultural learning opportunities at the libraries, so go in and look at some of the postings they have; you are sure to find something you're interested in. If Stadsbiblioteket is inconvenient for you, check your local library for possible language meetings.



While I am telling you about different languages, I have to include one of my favorite places in Gothenburg. Hagabion (on Linnégatan right at the tram stop Prinsgatan-map) is an "alternative cinema." Every day of the week you have a choice of several movies from different countries in their original languages with Swedish subtitles. Check out the schedule on their website then click "program" on top. When you are practicing a foreign language, watching movies is an entertaining way to train your listening skills. (Or reading skills, if you read the Swedish subtitles). The theaters at Hagabion are small, so I suggest going early, buying your ticket (60sek), then enjoying a snack or meal in their delicious vegetarian café before the show. The food is delicious! Generous portions too--even if you just order a smörgås (bread with something on it), they give you a yummy side salad with it. Enough about their food though...


GISA Language Cafés

Gothenburg International Student Association plans to have language cafés about once a month. The details have not been finalized yet but they are coming soon, so check out this facebook group to stay posted!

/Gina, Team 2011-2012


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This is a series of ten podcasts designed to introduce you to the Swedish language. We apologize for the poor audio quality of the first three episodes.
Episode 1 - Word order and verbs.
Episode 2 - Nouns.
Episode 3 - Adjectives.
Episode 4 - "What is that?"
Episode 5 - "Weekdays and Time"
Episode 6 - "Weekdays and Time"
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Episode 8 - "Money and withdrawing money from a store"
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