It’s time to start SFI courses! For most of the jobs, knowing Swedish is crucial – so better late than never, I started to SFI courses after 6 months living in Sweden.
My previous post is about how to register SFI, so if you want to start with it, just click here. And this post is about what expects you in your first day in the course.
I started with the intensive 6-hours a day course, so I need to be at SFI-center at 8.00 a.m. By the way, before starting the course, SFI will send you a letter and you need to bring it with you for first class (however no one asked me about it in my first day)
So I just went there and I was expecting to see something like 3C – 6 Hours course classroom, which of course I could not see. There were at least 6 different classes. And for now, those classes are not important for you because you will go to the “Intro” one in your very first day.
Every newcomers to the course attend the Intro course, and then an instructor comes and gives you some introduction information (what levels are there, how you can pass them etc), shows you facilities and emergency protocol. This will be the first place you will get some clear information about the SFI. Actually, this is not true anymore because you now have my article 🙂
Anyway, the instructor also says at the end of this 15-min introduction he will talk every newcomer individually to decide which level s/he will attend. (which you already did during the former application process, I know!) Also he asks some questions about your education and work background (again, you’ve already answered these during application!) Then he assigns you your classes. And finally, you need to inform them if you have 6 hours/day course (again!)
Levels of SFI
It turned out that 3C level have 4 different levels in it (inception?)
You start with Intro, then Intro2, then 3C and finally 3C Ultra. After these levels, you take a national exam and if you pass you can start 3D level. And generally you pass the exam because instructors decide whether you can take an exam or not. After 3D, you will take another exam. If you also pass this, you can continue with SAS (Swedish as Second Language) but SFI centers don’t give this course, so you need to register somewhere else.
Do you remember all the vague information about SFI on the internet. It has a reason. Because their education system is a little bit vague also. So if you are like me coming from a country where education is very systematic and structured, you will need some adaptation time 🙂
All those levels I explained above have specific chapters to teach. For example, in Intro course, the instructor teaches from Chapter 1 to Chapter 4 in a book. When he finished Chapter 4, he starts Chapter 1 again. And in your first day, you may start from Chapter 4! You may not know how to say “Hi”, but you will learn help words and imperatives in your first day.
Think it like an alternative universe. Every instructor lives in a loop. After every 4 chapter, he goes back to time and start from the beginning. So the time frame is limited. And think yourself as a time traveler! You just jump this alternative universe and there is no guarantee which exact point you will arrive. So you may go the very beginning and learn Chapter 1 or you may find yourself in the middle of Chapter 3. How exciting is it?!
As I said, I came from a structured education, so I still think they can invite people to the course when the Chapter 1 starts- no need to have newcomers every week – but again, this is how things work here and we need to adapt it 😉
In short, don’t feel demotivated/stressed if you start from the Chapter 4 and don’t understand a thing. It’s normal, just try to keep up and you’ll be alright – at least in 4 or 5 weeks.
Another thing you should keep in your mind is SFI education system is based on self-study. Information on the internet always keep saying your own pace will determine when you can finish the course etc and actually that’s true. Many of the instructors expects from you to learn by yourself, like they are just there to answer your questions or giving you a road map. In other times, you always read diaologues which you don’t understand. So Google Translate and many other Swedish apps are your friends here! (Actually Sweden has lots of applications for grammar)
There are few instructors that have more traditional teaching method, so if you are not a self-learner, you need to find out those instructors.
Anyway, periodically the instructor gives you some tests (informal ones) and if you had good grades, then he says now you are ready for the other level. And the other week you start to the new class and try to keep up the new chapter.
By the way, you do not have to buy the book. Beginning of the class, the instructor gives you the book and at the end of the day, takes it back. However, since the system depends heavily on self-study, it may be good to have the book at home also. But my suggestion is first attend the course few weeks, then decide whether you need the book or not.
There are more details about the courses, however, it may become unnecessarily long and confusing if I continue this article. So I believe you now have a really detailed information on SFI.
Hope you have some answers you are curious about and feel free to ask any questions in the comment section!