In Sweden you can tell off the teacher for ‘overteaching’ and actually walk out and come back to class. Yes, that’s a thing I learnt at SFI (Swedish for Immigrants).
I recently began my journey of getting integrated into the Swedish System. So far I have my personnummer (Swedish Identification Number), ID number and even most recently opened a Swedish bank account which by the way is very difficult.
I think to join the CIA, you have to go through a rigorous process like the one I went through opening my account. Those guys are thorough and petty at the same time. They almost asked whether cowrie shells are a form of currency where I come from. I swear I could read it in between their questions!
The most important part of the whole integration process is to learn Swedish and that’s why it’s important you register for SFI (Swedish for immigrants) when you first arrive. No matter who you are, if you have plans to live here you must learn the language because most employers require you to produce SFI certification when hunting for a job. As a journalist writing for a Swedish newspaper you can imagine how important this is for me. I feel very bad whenever someone has to translate my articles. The right word here is helpless!
I’m the only African and black person in a class of 20 people. The other nineteen people are from Middle East, India, South America and some other European countries. My first day was quite dramatic. First as soon as the tutors announced that we should switch off our phones, my alarm went off. My alarm itself is dramatic. It’s a crowing cock. Yeah, the villager in me was exposed. And it’s in such situations that your phone decides to hang. I just wanted to die. Someone even asked if I brought poultry to class!
My embarrassing situation was quickly forgotten when one of my classmates blurted out to the tutor: “When will you be done talking? I need to drink water. I just can’t sit here all day!”
The teacher just went quiet and showed him where to get water.
I doubt that guy meant any harm. I guess it’s a combination of language barrier, background and upbringing. A simple ‘excuse me’ would have done though. If this had happened in Kenya, by now one of them, either the tutor or student would be trending online. Someone would have recorded and released the video online. Then a battalion of hashtags would have followed debating whether the tutor should resign.
I have to go back to learning Swedish nouns and pronouns. See you on the next post!