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The Language Café Where You Learn More Than Swedish

News: Mar 26, 2019

Twice a month the University of Gothenburg arranges a language café as a way for the participants to practice Swedish. It is open for those who are newly arrived in Sweden, as well as international staff and international students. Every occasion leads off with a short lecture about a certain topic which is later discussed in groups, which keeps the gatherings varied.

The university started the language café in 2018 and a new touch this year is that international researchers, other international staff and international students are welcome, as the target group previously was solely newly arrived people. Swedish staff and Swedish students are also welcome to join in order to help with the discussions, and to get to know people who are haven’t been in Sweden for long.

Study circle leader for the language café is Nikol Kanavakis, who has selected and booked the lecturers for the semester. She also leads the discussion after each lecture, suggests questions to discuss and explains the slightly more uncommon words and terms that may have been used. The preparatory work for this term has been going on for about a month and besides creating a Facebook page where information about the meetings is shared she has also visited courses in Swedish for beginners and spoke to international students at the university.
“I’ve been campaigning in order to get people to come.”

Nikol Kanavakis herself is a student at the University of Gothenburg, at the School of Global Studies. Leading a language café is nothing new to her.
“In senior high school I arranged a language “fika”, as we called it, for newly arrived refugees from Afghanistan.”

Differentiates Itself from Other Language Cafés

At the premier gathering on February 27 the lecture was held by Maris Boyd Gilette, who originally is from USA and has lived in Gothenburg since 2017. She is a social anthropologist and has researched Muslim regimes, among other things. Her lecture was about prepositions regarding banning the wearing of burkas in Sweden, and about common misconceptions about burkas, and those who wear them.

Sylvia Sasin and Xinhong Zong are both participants and have attended a couple of the gatherings last semester and agree that this language café differentiates itself from others with help of the lectures, and that it is interesting to learn new things and improve your Swedish at the same time. Sylvia Sasin says that she used to attend other language cafés but has stopped going.
“It can easily become monotonous and stressful to always have to talk about yourself, when you have to introduce yourself and tell everybody where you’re from, but that doesn’t happen here.”

More information about the language café can be found here and on Facebook


Page Manager: Welcome Services|Last update: 9/30/2019

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