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English language in Sweden?

Level Contributor
33 posts
English language in Sweden?

I am planning to move to Sweden from England this winter to work in a ski resort for a few months for the work experience. I've been studying Swedish for a few months now but then I read some statistics that 89% of people in Sweden speak English. Should I continue learning Swedish?

Virginia, USA
Level Contributor
596 posts
12 reviews
10 helpful votes
1. Re: English language in Sweden?

I think you should continue with Swedish class even though you can technically get by without it.

I'm an American who lived in Stockholm for two years. While I was in Stockholm, I took Swedish classes. However, I didn't actually need to use Swedish much. I worked on a project which had people from all over Europe so the language of the project was English. TV shows and movies are shown in the original language with Swedish subtitles. It is rare to be in a shop or restaurant where the person serving you doesn't speak English. Most people spoke English far better than I will ever Swedish. Where I mostly needed Swedish was in the grocery store or in restaurants.

WhenI returned to the U.S., I continued to take Swedish class. Something about the Swedish culture really gets under your skin. I love Sweden and when I returned to the States, I really missed it. There is something about understanding the language that helps you adapt and appreciate the culture.

Seattle, Washington
Level Contributor
959 posts
60 reviews
59 helpful votes
2. Re: English language in Sweden?

It depends. If you plan on living in Sweden long term, you need to learn Swedish. If you are only going to be there for a little bit, Swedish is helpful in some situations but not necessary. Everyone speaks English there. As an instructor, your clients may expect you to speak at least a little bit of the language. Being able to speak Swedish also enables you get into the society more, which will make your time there more engaging. There is a lot in Swedish society that happens only in Swedish.

Linkoping, Sweden
Level Contributor
112 posts
3. Re: English language in Sweden?

You'll get by without Swedish pretty easy in your every-day life. However, knowing Swedish will help you adapting to the society. Also, it's hard, if not impossible, to get a job without knowing the language.

Skutskar, Sweden
Level Contributor
3,165 posts
49 reviews
30 helpful votes
4. Re: English language in Sweden?

Of course you should get as good as possible in Swedish!

The Swedish ski resorts are seeing more and more tourists from Britain, Russia, and Baltic countries so maybe its good to be really "good" in English.

An example of how deeply we are in to the English language is this sucessfull Beerblog for a Swedish audicence!


Madrid, Spain
Level Contributor
3 posts
43 reviews
45 helpful votes
5. Re: English language in Sweden?

yep continue learning and yes its true that majority of Swedes speak English fluently

Cambridge, United...
Destination Expert
for Singapore, Singapore
Level Contributor
18,912 posts
18 reviews
120 helpful votes
6. Re: English language in Sweden?

You don't need to speak Swedish to survive, because the level of English is so good there.

However, I would say that you do WANT to learn English as it will make both work and outside work easier, more productive and just to get the most out of the experience. You will be able to be part of the culture instead of merely observing it from the edge.

Also and most importantly for the trip you say you are planning it will help so much in terms of working.

While employers at a ski resort would likely be able to parcel you out to a group where English is the common language at a ski resort, or find a group of clientele will speak English well enough that it won't matter, it is entirely possible that some employers will feel why should they go to all that effort when they could employ a Swedish speaker. So learning the language to improve your employability as well.

On top of that a lot of the admin side of things is going to go easier - paperwork etc, all of that will be in Swedish, and it will just be easier if you can understand it rather than have to be guided through it.

Overall - Keep those lessons going....

Edited: 11 years ago
Level Contributor
5,145 posts
618 reviews
1,950 helpful votes
7. Re: English language in Sweden?

You don't have to learn Swedish for three months, but since you're already taking the classes you should continue - you'll enjoy yourself a lot more if you know Swedish. The social life will be easier, you'll have an easier time to meet Swedish friends, and although you will still be made fun of for having a funny accent it will endear you to people that you are trying. Also makes daily life easier (grocery stores, small restaurants). Plus you'll know what they're saying about you behind your back LOL

8. Re: English language in Sweden?

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