Tuesday, October 25, 2011

Today I started SFI - Svenska för invandrare

SFI is a government organization that teaches swedish to foreigners.  They also try to help guide the immigrants to prepare for and find jobs.  It is a difficult task.

I decided that if I was to look for a job, or start my own business, and to better cope with swedish society, I must get serious and learn the language.  I officially became an immigrant again today.

Wading through swedish society with all its different nooks and crannies is difficult at best and depressing at worst for newcomers here.  It is not specific to Sweden.  It is the age old culture X meets culture Y clash.

Agneta and I,  even with our many advantages, find it extremely difficult assimilating into society.  Maybe that is not the right word to us since it implies a long term blending of cultures.  But,  rather learning to live with all the differences that are foreign to us is a better description.

Moving to a different country is like walking out a long pier and taking a leap of faith.  You may think you are prepared but it is not until you are neck high in the culture that you begin to tread water and then hopefully begin to swim.

I realize looking around the classroom and talking with some of the students that Neta and I have it so much easier.  My classmates include people from Afghanistan, Iraq, Albania, Vietnam, Philippines, Holland, Serbia, Croatia, Bosnia, Jordan, Kosovo Eritrea, and Poland.  They range in age from 21 to 52.  I am the oldest there and I am from the USA.  These people will have it much harder than Agneta and I ever will.  It also has a lot to do with expectations as to how easy a person can accept the new culture.  One of the students in class was complaining about not having free coffee.  Another student was just happy to be out of a war zone.  Expectations.

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