Swedes are formal polite with good manners, but somewhere in between, they create a social distance, and they are reserved. You can barely get a glimpse of the sense of humor during the conversation. That was my first impression of the Swedish culture.
I crushed my stereotypes. I improved my Swedish over the past few years. Two years ago, I visited Comedy Raw in Stockholm – a stand-up place where you can see and hear the best comedians in the city. It was a fantastic experience, and suddenly it hit me.
Your personality can change, depending on the language you speak. Anyone who is taken on the challenge of learning a new language can probably relate. If you have Swedish business contacts or colleagues, they are probably using the English language for communication without any problem. You don’t know how much of your identity is tied up in your language until you lose it. The Swedish language changed the way how perceived the Scandinavian culture for better.
It feels like home to me. At the begging of my language learning process, I struggled with the feeling of being an outsider. Of course, I could use English, but it wasn’t the same. When I listen to the radio, I thought, “I can’t wait until one day, I would be able to understand everything.” When I was at the store, I thought, “I can’t wait until one day, I would be able to order this cheese in Swedish.” When I traveled by metro, I thought, “I can’t wait until one day, I would be able to understand why I got stuck in the train.” Finally, the day came!
I defeated my fear of making mistakes. I am still at the level of improving my language skill. What changed is that I feel so much comfortable and secure when I make a mistake. The events we bring upon ourselves, no matter how unpleasant, are necessary to learn what we need to learn; whatever steps we take, they’re essential to reach the places we’ve chosen to go.
I got inspired by my linguistic adventure. I created my system of learning languages, and I already started my new journey with Spanish. My main motivation? I can’t wait to explore the culture and unique perception of the world. Take every opportunity that language has to offer.