From YKI Preparation to Finnish Citizenship: Aslihan Oguz's Inspiring Journey

YKI Test Demystified: Your Key to Finnish Citizenship

Opening Doors to Finnish Citizenship: Are you considering the road to Finnish citizenship? Join us as we delve into Aslihan Oguz’s inspiring journey of mastering the YKI test and uncovering the secrets to becoming a Finnish citizen. Discover valuable insights and strategies that can guide you on your own path to achieving Finnish citizenship. Explore the challenges she overcame, the resources she found most helpful, and gain a firsthand glimpse into the transformative power of language proficiency on the road to Finnish citizenship.

1. What motivated you to start learning Swedish in the first place?

I want to be a Finnish citizen and I need to learn either Finnish or Swedish in order to be one. This was my main motivation to start learning Swedish. However, after I started learning it, I also realised that I really liked it and I continued with much more enthusiasm.

2. Can you share your experience with the YKI test? How did you prepare for them?

I took YKI exam in August 26th, 2022. I took A2 and B1 courses from Online Swedish. I also watched Robert’s webinar on Swedish grammar. These provided me with the necessary grammar background as well as an extensive vocabulary. During the summer before YKI I repeated all the course sessions as they were recorded and I could access them again later too. Two weeks before the exam, I took a YKI course in Esbo Arbis in Finland. This helped me with gaining more confidence with the exam structure.

3. How long did it take you to reach a level where you felt confident to take the exams?

I decided to take the August YKI exam during B1 level course with Online Swedish, which was in April 2022. To be honest, I didn’t really have the confidence that I would pass the test, but I just wanted to take it and see what my level was. I had to register for the exam in early April (the exam places fill within 5 minutes of the start of registration), so I had to decide to take the exam quite early. And I’m glad that I did it.

4. Did you face any challenges during your language learning journey? If so, how did you overcome them?

For me the biggest challenge was listening comprehension. Even though Finland has Swedish as the second official language, one does not hear or get to practice Swedish often in daily life for example in Helsinki. I listened to a lot of different levels of podcasts in order to overcome this. Even if I didn’t understand a lot of what I listened in the advanced podcasts, I kept on listening to get familiar with the language. I also went to local language cafes. These cafes gave me a bit more confidence because Swedish spoken by Finnish people is a bit easier to understand. When I could hold conversations in these cafes, I got more and more confident and wanted to attend more, which created a positive cycle.

5. What resources or methods did you find most helpful in improving your Swedish language skills?

I really liked Robert’s method of teaching and I found it most useful. His grammar webinar also covers a
lot of the Swedish grammar and it was again extremely useful. Other than that, language cafes, podcasts,
various web sites where I could watch Swedish videos, movies and TV series all helped me improve.

6. Did you participate in any language exchange programs or language meetups to practice speaking Swedish with native speakers? How did that impact your learning?

In the local language cafes, there was always at least one Swedish-speaking Finn as sort of a guide who kept the conversation going and this helped me a lot. As I wrote earlier, it gave me confidence.

7. How did passing the exams positively affect your personal or professional life?

I got extremely confident with my Swedish skills and it gave me an even higher motivation to continue improving it. I started to volunteer in Swedish-speaking organisations and continued practising. I was going to pursue Swedish-speaking jobs more than others, however, my career path changed significantly right now as I am starting my doctoral studies in English and I won’t be using Swedish [at least much] in my professional life for the moment.

8. Were there any specific strategies you used to boost your vocabulary and comprehension skills in Swedish?

More like a tool than strategy: I made vocabulary cards – one side Swedish, one side English. I did these cards when I was studying English and French and they helped me then. It was a very helpful tool for Swedish too. I also read whatever I could find, for example I subscribed to HBL – Hufvudstadsbladet newspaper (the highest circulation Swedish-language newspaper in Finland). I also joined a book club in Swedish.

9. Did you find any cultural aspects or differences in the language that were challenging to understand? How did you overcome them?

As the given example, idiomatic expressions are hard just like learning any other language. It was also hard to separate it from English sometimes and not make translations while learning. Eventually I was able to think Swedish directly and not make any translations in my head.

10. What advice would you give to others who are currently learning Swedish and aiming to pass the exams?

I advise people to practice Swedish every day – in whatever form, writing, reading, listening etc. – for at least 10 minutes. Even if it is an extremely busy day, try to give those 10 minutes (or more, if you can), for example during a coffee break at work or listening to a podcast episode at the gym etc. It is very important to dedicate yourself to the new language everyday – especially if you live somewhere where you don’t get to hear and practise Swedish in daily life easily or automatically.
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