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NTU is the first university in Singapore to offer Swedish language classes. Every year a great number of NTU students go to Sweden on exchange programmes, but there are many other good reasons why learning Swedish is a brilliant idea:
1. Swedish is the gateway to Scandinavia
Swedish is the most widely spoken of the Scandinavian languages, boasting more than 10 million native speakers in both Sweden and Finland. Studying Swedish will open the door to the entire Scandinavian language. With a high level of mutual intelligibility between Swedish, Danish and Norwegian, you will be able to make yourself understood also in the neighbouring countries. Moreover, as most Germanic language, Swedish is a fairly easy language to learn for Anglophones, as there are many similarities between the two languages in terms of grammar, syntax and vocabulary.
2. Swedish is a language of science
If you have an interest in science, you will know that Sweden is at the forefront of scientific discovery and experimentation. Learning Swedish will give you direct access to the scientific reports, journals and papers published by the country's scientists. NTU are in close collaboration with a host of Swedish high tech companies, many of whom are world famous, such as SKF, the inventors of the ball bearings, and SAAB Aerospace Defense Company. Another true witness to Sweden´s dedication to science is, of course, the Nobel Prize.
3. Sweden is a country of innovation and business
The fact that Sweden is home to the largest number of multinationals per capita and is the birthplace of many world-conquering companies – including IKEA, TetraPak, Volvo, Ericsson, AstraZeneca and H&M – means that getting on the career ladder here can really take you places. Although most Swedes speak English the corporate language is more often than not Swedish, so in order to get ahead language skills are essential.
4. Sweden is a great place to study
The entire Swedish higher education system is ranked as one of the best in the world, and several Swedish universities are ranked by the Times Higher Education as being among the world’s best. When you study in Sweden, you’re encouraged to think independently, creatively and critically. The informal and non-hierarchical nature of Swedish society will encourage you to think creatively. It is probably also the reason why Sweden ranks among the world’s most innovative nations. Another is that investment in research is among the highest in the world in relation to GDP. Sweden’s status as a leader in innovation and a home of trendsetters and early adopters is nothing new: the list of Swedish world-changing inventions is a long one and includes the three-point seatbelt, the pacemaker and the music service Spotify
5. Sweden is a great place for culture
Regardless of where you are, in Canteen 1, The Hive, in the gym or on the MRT you are bound to see Swedish design. Be it the Kånken (which actually means to lug, or carry) the girl in front of you is sporting, to the Avicii tune playing in the background or the cut on your forefinger from having assembled an IKEA cupboard, it all bears witness to the profound impact of Swedish culture across the globe.
If you love to travel and want to explore Scandinavia, Sweden is the natural starting point. A unique feature is the right of common, which gives everybody the right to go and stay anywhere within the country. In fact, it means that you can pick berries and mushrooms, fish and even camp on private land. Be it the archipelagos, its 100,000 lakes, its vast forests or its vibrant cities, Sweden is bound to have something for everyone.
7. Arts and Culture
Sweden has a fascinating and rich culture. From the Norse gods Thor and Odin via gloomy folksongs to Pippi Longstocking, Sweden has proven there is more to Swedish culture than smorgasbord. Many recent blockbuster movies from Hollywood have starred Swedish actors and actresses as well as directors and producers. Sweden is also the world’s No. 1 exporter of chart music in relation to GDP. In literature Nordic crime is capturing the interest of readers from all over the world.
8. Simply, because you like it
Maybe you just love the sound of it. Or maybe your favourite hobby is learning new languages, especially exotic ones. Or maybe you have already made some Swedish friends on campus, or would like to have some. Whatever the reason, just go for it.