Talk to most of language learners and they’ll tell you that the best way to pick up a new language and culture is just practice, practice and more practice. That may sound boring, but it doesn’t have to be! At the Eos Cares language café Prata Svenska on Wednesday mornings, language learning is done in a relaxed and fun atmosphere, and on April 3rd a new attendance record was set with 47 participants.
– I don't get very much interaction with native Swedish speakers in my daily life, and it really helps to both listen and speak to native Swedish speakers, says Jennifer who has been going to both Prata Svenska and the Saturday Language Café. They are so kind and genuinely interested in helping.
"They" in the aforementioned quote is referring to the volunteers, "language facilitators", that are native in Swedish and participate in the language café to meet with people who are new in Lund and to encourage them in their developments with the Swedish language and the establishment in the region.
Many of the volunteers have been recruited through a collaboration with the Lund University Alumni Network. But to this group, everyone is welcome, and really the only requirement is the ability to speak Swedish and to enjoy providing the much-appreciated opportunity to practice swedish conversation.
On Wednesday mornings, the café usually starts filling up long before the set start time of 10 AM. Some are there to get some extra time for their homework; others to prep the tables and the fika. The familiar sound of the coffee machine sputtering signals that the black gold is almost ready. Participants and volunteers flock to the thermos to get their first cup. Then they walk back to the table, to their language mates of the day, and the conversation starts.
Language cafés aren’t just about practicing a new language. At Prata Svenska, it’s equally as important to be able to burst your bubble, meet new people and talk about things you don’t always talk about.
– I find it very helpful because apart from the improvement in my Swedish I learnt a lot about Sweden and tips on how to adjust smoothly in my new country, says Larisa. I mostly enjoyed the friendly international environment and I highly recommend it to the newcomers. Whether you’re an expat, a refugee, an exchange student or for any other reason moved to Sweden, getting to know Swedes and learning the language can be a bit of challenge. But the friendly volunteers and staff at Eos Cares are here to help you.