After completing the Swedish for immigrants (SFI or “Svenska för invandrare” in Swedish, now you should know this) it is time for you to start with Svenska som andra språk (SVA) grundläggande nivå (Swedish
as a second language basic level). In order to register for these courses, you will need to find the office responsible for this education level in your area. You can find the education platform for the city of Stockholm on https://komvux.stockholm.se. Each municipality has its own platform and office, so you will need to find the correct information by searching for ̈Komvux + name of your area”, for example Komvux Solna. You can also ask for help to the study guide (Yrke- och Studieväglädare) on your school and they will help you register for the next courses and provide more information and details.
Swedish as a second language basic level (SVAG) has also four levels (1 to 4), and same as in SFI you need to pass several exams and evaluations to go to the next level. In most schools, you don’t need to register again for the next level since this is done automatically, but it is always better to ask to be completely sure.
These courses are slightly different and more challenging than SFI, where you learned only basic vocabulary and basic grammar. Here you will cover more in-depth grammar, and you should be ready for a significant amount of writing assignments as well as speaking and work in groups. You will also have to read your first book in Swedish and be able to discuss about it with your classmates.
Each level duration depends of which type of course are you taking, and it can range from 5 to 20 weeks each level. I took most of my courses during the evenings (half-time courses), because as you know I was working all the time and it was impossible for me to take a full-time morning course. However, I had the opportunity to take one level as a full-time morning course and I can highly recommend that option, because you will have Swedish from Monday to Friday at least two hours per day. This configuration gives plenty more opportunity to learn because the teaches can spend more time on each section of the course. Otherwise, if you are taking the courses in the evenings, you should always make extra work in home to have the same level as the morning courses.
The last level of the free Swedish courses is Svenska som andra språk (SVA). The name can be confusing because it is almost the same as previous courses. The difference is that this is no longer a basic level (grundläggande nivå) and you are expected to have a Swedish level equivalent to a high school student native speaker. In my opinion, these courses are mainly for people who would like to continue with their education in Swedish on a university or college here in Sweden. If you are not interested in pursuing any studies in Swedish, these are not for you, because here they focus more about linguistics and literature. You will need to read a book in Swedish and make analysis about the language, characters, etc. Nevertheless, if you are interested in continuing with SVA 1,2, and 3 after the basic level, you will need to register through the same website you used to register to the previous courses.
Now you know how my journey learning Swedish looked like. I think it is amazing how Sweden helps people to learn Swedish in an easy way and without extra expenses.
There are many other ways to further develop your Swedish besides the main path I have written about today. A very nice and highly recommended option to practice your speaking skills are Language Cafés (Språk Cafés, practice your Swedish). There are a lot of them and you can find them on the libraries throughout Stockholm or through social media such as Facebook and/or MeetUp.