Physiotherapist Overcomes Challenges to Achieve C1 Level in Swedish for Career in Sweden

Success story : Journey to Language Fluency and Professional Success

We sit down with a determined physiotherapist who shares his inspiring story of learning Swedish and reaching a C1 level. Overcoming numerous challenges, including relocation and juggling responsibilities, Antoine Martinez highlights the strategies, resources, and cultural nuances that contributed to his success. Discover his advice for aspiring learners aiming to achieve fluency and his insights on the demanding TISUS examination.

1. What motivated you to start learning Swedish and strive to reach a C1 level?

I’m a physiotherapist and needed to reach C1 level to be able to work in Sweden.

2. Can you share your experience on the journey to reaching a C1 level in Swedish? How did you structure your learning and track your progress?

It was hard during 6 or 7 months. I was in the relocation process and it was hard to focus on the language development while I knew I needed it. I tried to dedicate myself as much as possible to the lessons from Monday to Saturdays (I include språkcafé).

3. How long did it take you to feel confident in your Swedish language skills at the C1 level?

It is a very good question and I would say that it happened when I decided to switch language in Sweden and only speak swedish. It took me a year.

4. Did you encounter any challenges along the way? If so, how did you overcome them and stay motivated?

Hell yes! Relocating, taking lessons in hotel rooms, taking care of my baby at the same time, trying to counsel work and lessons at the same time, starting with Komvux and Online Swedish at the same time… It wasn’t easy, but I couldn’t work as a physiotherapist without a certificate so I fought for it.

5. Which resources or learning methods were most effective in helping you improve your Swedish language skills and reach a C1 level?

Online Swedish lessons was by far the best experience. I did Komvux and some other methods (ASSIMIL, Duolingo, Babbel). Nothing beats group work that gets better together. Also, Robert is 100% right when he says that språkcafé are necessary.

6. Did you engage in any language immersion experiences, such as living in Sweden or regularly conversing with native Swedish speakers? How did these experiences contribute to your language learning journey?

More and more, I would say. I started 4/5 months ago while doing sports with some simple sentences. Now I work every day with Swedish and ask them not to speak English with me as I need to develop my skills as early as possible to feel integrated.

7. How has reaching a C1 level in Swedish positively impacted your personal or professional life?

That changed everything! I have a full-time job as a physiotherapist, have many advantages, have more time for my family (as I don’t need to do Komvux) and feel fulfilled every day.

8. Were there any specific strategies or techniques you used to enhance your vocabulary and comprehension skills in Swedish while working towards a C1 level?

Something that I think is not really taught to students is that Swedish is a language about suffixes and prefixes. Once I realized how important they were, my vocabulary really developed as well as my grammar.

9. Did you encounter any cultural aspects or differences in the Swedish language that were challenging to grasp? How did you navigate and adapt to these cultural nuances?

Not to a point that it would hinder me. I mean, yes, there are idioms that are typically Swedish and dialects that are harder to grasp. But with little time and practice, it gets easy to understand.

10. What advice would you give to individuals who are currently learning Swedish and aiming to reach a C1 level in the language?

Find as many learning resources as possible. Many are free (SFI, Komvux, SAS, KTC, språkcafé, etc.) and can be done when you have time. Also, don’t worry when you hear or read a word you don’t know. You’ll get it in context, and as Robert always says: “Words that are important will come back.” He’s 100% right there. Trust the process: Learning a new language isn’t that easy and needs dedication and adaptation. Finally, hold on tight. You might get angry, disappointed, have the feeling of not progressing… If you follow Robert’s lessons, just watch an old video and a video 2 months after. You’ll see that you can.

Side note for those that will try (and pass) TISUS:

TISUS is hard. There is no other way to say it. Get ready for it, you really need a month of intense preparation and know what to expect.
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