I started taking Swedish lessons on Tuesday at the Folksuniversitet in downtown Stockholm. The course costs money but is attended by professionals instead of migrants like the SFI courses (which I can't get into until late August because everyone takes the summer off in Sweden). So far the course I am taking is good. The SFI course is funded by the government but is supposed to be appalling and the school is located out in Hagalund, which is Swedish for bumfuck nowhere.
I decided to take the course because I have been meeting a lot of Americans that have lived here for many years and still don't know basic Swedish. I know that sounds unreasonable but it really isn't.
The thing that bothers me is that they are so damn defensive about it.
"There is no need for me to speak Swedish. Everyone speaks English here."
"I speak English in the workplace and my wife is from the States. So speaking Swedish is out of the question."
"English is the international language. Just count yourself lucky you don't have to speak Swedish."
"My girlfriend and I spoke English for three years in America before we moved here. So why change now?"
I feel the truth is more like this:
"I tried speaking Swedish once but I couldn't. I sounded like an bumbling immigrant."
I admit its nice to be amongst Europeans versus Americans at the Folksuniversitet. Some of the students only plan on being in Sweden for a few months in total... and they are still taking classes. All of them speak their own language (duh) , English and at least another one like French or German. So that renders the Americans excuses null and void.
Why won't Americans learn languages? What the hell is wrong with us? Are we a bunch of xenophobes? I guess that answer to that is obvious.