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Free Swedish language learning activities: the Red Cross

We published this article last year, but we have been in touch with the Red Cross and they now have a list of their classes for this year. So here is our new article, updated and 2013 ready.

List of Swedish Classes with the Red Cross

Learning the local language is the key to feeling at home in a new culture. However, not all expats in Sweden have the opportunity to go to one of Stockholm’s government funded language classes nor do they have the extra cash to pay for private lessons. If you fall into one of those two categories, why not check out the Red Cross Swedish language learning activities. They are run by a group of dedicated volunteers, are free and host activities for many Swedish language levels.

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or check out the YLC Swedish Language Courses Section!

The Red Cross local branches runs language learning activities at different places in Stockholm. You can google “Röda Korset” and “part of the city where you live”; for example “Skärholmen, Kista or Ulriksdal”. When you have found the right homepage, click on “vårt arbete” and “träna svenska” and you will find information about where and when the activity take place.

Shephali Sardesai, a newcomer to Stockholm tested the Red Cross Swedish activity last year. Read her tale below.

As anyone will tell you, living in a different country with a new language and a new culture to grasp, can be exciting but equally as daunting. Communication is key to fitting into any society as quickly as possible.

I knew that learning the language was essential to immersing myself within the culture here in Stockholm. Even though English, being my first language, probably decreases some obstacles, (most Swedish people speak English so well and are delighted to practice with you!), I knew that learning Swedish would open up many more opportunities, helping the essential parts of living here, such as employment and making new friends. Also, I am in Sweden so I should really speak the language I might add!

However, unable to join the SFI classes (as I was awaiting my personal identification number) and finding it impossible to teach myself, how was I going to reach my goal of communicating within the environment I live in?

Well, when I came across the yourlivingcity.com website, I read about the Red Cross Swedish language learning activities. It offers a great free service to many people from all walks of life and great opportunity to integrate as quickly as possible through talking Swedish. The activities take place every weekday at the Red Cross Refugee Centre, 55 Lundagatan, Södermalm, but there are a number of other groups and activities around Stockholm on different days and times. People go there to learn from the volunteers, who in fact call themselves ‘colloquial leaders’. Many volunteers provide their services once a week, making a crucial difference to peoples’ lives. Activities take place in two hour sessions, with a short fika break in between! You can take as many activities as you want and see fit.

My first activity was a real confidence booster! I hadn’t realised how much I knew already from just trying to teach myself with the available tools, such as studying online, reading subtitles on television, radio, and listening to people around me. The volunteers speak mostly in Swedish, to encourage understanding and the real world, so it really pushes you to listen, watch and concentrate throughout. Each activity is as different as the volunteers are. This keeps it fresh, and if you find that certain words, phrases or subjects are covered, and it only refreshes what you know…the saying ‘practice makes perfect’ applies! Although everybody is at different stages, the class structure seems to work well.

Grammar and conversational phrases are covered every day, and the alphabet including the extra jaw muscle tester letters such as ä, å, ö! I find the volunteers’ cover just as much as our attention spans can take, which was longer than I thought! Beginner activities take place every day, with a separate group for the advanced level. There is no need to sign up prior to classes; it is essentially a drop-in centre. That’s why the Red Cross classes really work for me, as I can pick and choose any day to go, and never feel lost or behind.


One of the Volunteers kindly gave me an insight behind his personal reasons of helping the Red Cross. Meet Jonas Joelson, 32 years old, Stockholm.

A friend told me about it. I was concerned with some political factors at the time and felt it was a good way to give back to the community. Even doing something small makes a difference. Two hours a week of my time helps others more in need.

Are you a teacher by profession?

No, I am a Copywriter.

Do you have a particular teaching method?

By improvising you keep things fresh.

What do you find most rewarding?

When I can make people who are low or depressed smile, that makes me happy.

Does one need to have any particular qualifications in order to volunteer?

No, you just need engagement and being prepared to give something.

Why would you encourage somebody to give their time to the Red Cross activity or attend the classes as a learner?

Language is a part of integration. I am always impressed by those who want to learn a new language.


Morgan is the founder of Your Living City. Her education and career background are focused in business, marketing and communication. She specializes in business development. It is her passion and focus that has been the driving force behind Your Living City, and what will make it become the premiere resource for people living in or moving to Sweden.


  1. I moved to Stockholm to work 4 months ago from Finland. I’ve studied Swedish years 10 years ago and I’ve forgotten a lot. I’m interested in Swedish language courses in Stockholm area. I can only attend in evening classes. I need to grow my vocabulary and improve speaking. I’d like to start as soon as possible. Could you please advise me about your courses?

  2. I have just settled down in suburb area of Stockholm for work here, since conversation with other local people in local language is preferred. and I have learned Japanese and a little German also when I was in those countries. I am very interested in learning Swedish language twice per week, could you give my advice on how to join the free courses and where is the location? my office phone number is 8 5537 8824(available on work days)

    • Hi Yaodong,

      If you are interested in taking classes at the redcross. Here are their contact details:

      Swedish Red Cross
      Hornsgatan 54, PO Box 17563
      118 91 Stockholm
      Tel: 08-452 46 00

      • For the love of God finally someone has started writing about how to make life in Stockholm easier. I am a long-time expat, this is my 3rd move and it is so wonderful to have this kind of support when you move to a new city.

        Regarding the Red Cross Swedish classes, has anyone else attended? I wanted to know if they are worth the time spent going there.

      • I called the number listed here and I was told there were no Swedish language classes? Anyone have another number? I would love to start them. I am somewhat new to Sweden and would love to learn the language finally :).

  3. Thank you so much for this information. Bonus!! I have spent the past few summers in Stockholm, and was unable to join the SFI courses due to the fact that I am English and not technically classified as an “immigrant” but am planning to make a permanent move soon and find that my options are as limited as my lingual skills.

    Does anyone have any good links for jobs (English speaking positions)? I would like to try to get something long term which wouldn’t limit my potential with the language barrier which will inevitably hinder me until my Swedish is fluent. Tack sa jatte mycket in advance…

  4. Hi everyone!

    I am a new comer here in Stockholm and, as european citizen I have no right to attend swedish classes without a personal number. Can you guys advise me how to get into a non profit organization to attend swedish classes for free while I am waiting for my resident and my personal number? That takes more than five months someone told me.

    I would like as well as contact to some job agency. They say that if I do have a job offer, automatically I will have my personal number and I can attend swedish’s Governement courses for free.

    I would really appreciate it.


    • Hi!
      Ok. You are in a situation that many many people are in! There are lots of steps you can take to help you find your feet in this country- but remember to take one step at a time:) We will be providing more information on this soon but a very useful way to improve your swedish and meet new people would be to join one of the many meet up groups in stockholm . Check out :
      http://www.meetup.com/intercambio/ Stockholm language exchange is a great group to practice your swedish or any other language! good luck!

  5. I have Italian resident permit and I want to come and stay in Sweden but I first want to lean the language know how to read and write also to speak. How do I do???

  6. Hi …. My name is sara.
    I Need a help plz…
    I need a phone number of redcross in vesrtåss.
    I want to talk with them to help my family plz

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