Timst’s Happy Place

60 Days

by timst on November 1, 2012

If you wondered how I’m adapting to (oral) english, the answer is: pretty well. Since Sweden has a less retarded linguistic policy than France’s (ie, they don’t try to push swedish everywhere they can), people and companies routinely use english in everyday life, even on TV during shows or ads. For series or movies they use swedish subtitles, but that’s about it. As a result, everybody – and I mean, EVERYBODY – speak perfectly fluent english. You can walk to someone in the street and immediately start talking in english, because asking “do you speak english?” is completely unnecessary. Go ahead, try that stunt in France. Which bring me to my other point: apart from the occasional Spaniard, we’re the worst at english. Germans, Poles, Koreans, they all speak pretty great english. It must be a very interesting experience for native english speakers (there a few Americans, Canadians and New-Zaelanders, but apparently not a single British, for some reason). However, we’re all pretty much on the same plane when it comes to swedish (although some Germans that I know actually learned it in schools, so, huh, not really again). I started learning it in a non-credit course. It’s not going to be easy, but I’ll hope I’ll be able to make something out of it this time (not like I did with spanish).

And then I’ll understand everything in my supermarket flyer, and that will make me so happy.

Around 10% of the students here come from faraway lands. Most of the time it’s erasmus-type exchanges between universities, but some like me are so-called “freemovers”, meaning they no longer belong to their home university, nor to any kind of system, just enjoying their freedom and the wind in their hair, baby. A lot (some say half) of the international students come from our friendly neighbor to the east, which is awesome, because I don’t speak a word of german and generally don’t know a lot about Germany. Otherwise, we have some Koreans, Japanese, Chinese, Turks, generally pretty much one of each European country, and a lot from miscellaneous countries. It’s mostly Europeans and rich Asiatics though, because non-EU students have to pay 15 000 € for a year.

Which is a shame; I was looking forward to the Congolese Dinner Party.

I guess this concludes the presentation of Växjö and Sweden, at least for now. We had the first snow of the year last week, which was great. For, like, 38 seconds, after which I remembered that my shoes aren’t waterproof and that snow is, for some reason, twice as wet as pure water. I’m in between two courses right now, meaning that I have even less lectures than normally (in fact I just realized that I’m in the middle of a two-weeks holidays, although it doesn’t feel that way). I’m mostly using that free time by staying in my room and doing nothing, but coming up next is a one-day trip to Goteborg, the hipster version of Stockholm and second biggest city of the country, and three weeks ago I spent a week-end on Gotland, Sweden’s biggest island, which looked a lot like France’s Brittany (or Morrowind’s Azura Coast). The “capital”, Visby, is a very cute and quaint old medieval city with walls and old timey trading posts. While the scenery is free, the drink aren’t however: I spent 130 crowns on a drink that was 70% ice and 100% disappointment. Speaking of which, I’m probably going to encounter similar prices next month when (if) I go to Stockholm. I’m planning a 3-days trip, but even though going there is expensive as hell, it still seems cheaper that, you know, staying there.