Course Syllabus


Swedish Language and Culture | Section 1

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Semester & Location:

Spring 2020 - DIS Stockholm

Type & Credits:

Elective Course - 3 credits

Program Director:

Andreas Brøgger

Assistant Program Director: 

 Sanne Rasmussen - 

Time & Place:

Tuesdays 10.05-11.25 & Fridays 10.05-11.25, 1D-409


Description of Course

This course is an integrated language and culture course where half of the class is devoted to culture discussions and the other half is focused on language training.

We will study different aspects of Swedish culture and we will operate with a complex view on culture through various representations. The focus will be on dominant national narratives, values, and symbolism, which we will approach from both a historical and contemporary perspective.

When studying Swedish language, we will employ a functional approach. The course will focus on spoken everyday Swedish, reading comprehension and basic grammar.

The course will explore how culture is reflected in language. By analyzing keywords and concepts and applying appropriate etiquette, you will learn how to navigate a foreign culture.

An important component of the course will be your own observations and critical analysis.


Learning Objectives

  • Acquire a higher level of cultural awareness
  • Acquire knowledge and overall understanding of Swedish history, culture and society

  • Be able to speak, read and understand Swedish on a basic level

  • Get an understanding of the connection between language and culture



Your instructor is Djina Wilk.

Background: M.A. in Germanic Languages and Literature, Washington University of St. Louis. Also Swedish official teaching qualification (subject: languages) from Stockholm University and Stockholm Lärarhögskolan.  Former Education Manager and teacher in English at Komvux, Folkuniversitetet, Stockholm. Has been teaching Swedish as a foreign language since 2004, for example at Internationella Skolorna Düsseldorf, Germany, at Folkuniversitetet, Stockholm and also at Washington University in St. Louis, USA.  With DIS since 2016.


Swedish course material (language part):


Readings/Media (culture part):

Anderson, Benedict (2016) Imagined Communities - Reflections on the Origin and the Spread of Nationalism. Verso, pp. 5-7

 Brodin, Björn and Pikkarainen, Heidi (2008) Discrimination of the Sami – the rights of the Sami from a discrimination perspective. Online publication, pp. 18-26

Castineira, Angel (2011) Imagined Nations: Personal Identity, National Identity and the Places of Memory. Kingston (Canada): Queen's University. pp. 43-53.

Crouch, David (2017) Is Sweden´s Feminist Propaganda Working? BBC News. Published 17 January 2017.

Edwards, Catherine (2018) What’s Behind the Rising Inequality in Sweden’s Schools, and Can It Be Fixed? ”The Local, Published 22 Aug. 2018. 

Friedman Ekholm Kajsa (2004) From nation state to multiculturalism: on change in Sweden at the turn of the Millenium. The Swedish Success Story. Preses Nams, pp. 227-240.

Gatehouse, Gabriel (2018) Sweden: Truth, lies and manipulated narratives? BBC Newsnight. Originally aired on 22 august 2018.

Johansson Robinowitz Christina and Carr, Lisa Werner (2001). Modern-Day Vikings - A Practical Guide to Interacting with the Swedes. Intercultural Press, pp. 17-28 + 81-95

Kramsch, Claire (1998) Language and Cultural Identity. Language and Culture. Oxford University Press. pp. 65-77.

Kramsch, Claire (1998) The Relationship between Language and Culture. Language and Culture. Oxford University Press. pp. 3-14.

O´Kane, Josh (2018) The Other Stockholm Syndrome. The Globe and Mail. Published 12 January 2018

Porzucki, Nina (2018) The Three-letter Word That Rocked a Nation. Public Radio International. Originally aired 27 March 2018. 

Radio Sweden

Sametinget (Sami Parliament)

Schöplin, Gerhard (1997) The Functions of Myths and a Taxonomy of Myths. Myths and Nationhood. Routledge, pp 19-35.

Skodo, Admir (2018) Sweden: By Turns Welcoming and Restrictive in its Immigration Policy. Migration Policy Institute. 

Swahn Jan Öjvin( 2014) Swedish TraditionsOrdaförlaget. [selected chapters]

Swedish Environmental Protection agency

Swedish Gender Equality Agency


Course Intranet (Canvas)

Your readings – both when, what, and where; all assignment instructions, handouts etc.; as well as reading guides, are to be found in the course overview/the overview over lessons.

Rubrics for Final Exams and for Cultural Assignments plus audio files to the book and all worksheets are to be found under "Swedish Language Resources". Please note that you need to click further on "modules" to reach this material.


Continue learning outside the classroom

 While living and studying in Sweden, you can immerse yourself in the Swedish language and culture in a variety of ways. Try these:

  • Create and use opportunities to meet people outside DIS either through language exchange or activity groups relating to your interests. Meetup is a great way to both get information about language exchange groups and other groups. Welma - a culture guide for Stockholm (note: in Swedish - is a great source when it comes to different events and happenings.

  • If you like sports, sign up for some of the Stockholm University´s sport activities or sign up for Ssideline  city running club.
  • If you like art, visit some of the art exhibits by students from Konstfack, the Royal Art college.
  • Use the opportunity to go to free museums. Stockholms has several museums that are free and also, museums that have free entrance and extended opening times Tuesday evenings.
  • Watch Swedish movies with English subtitles on Netflix or Swedish programmes with Swedish subtitles on Swedish TV.

  • Listen to Swedish music in Swedish/Find a new favorite band/artist from Sweden who sings in Swedish.
  • Turn off your iPod on trains and busses and try to listen to what is being said around you . Listen to Swedish news in Swedish either on Radio Sweden or SVT Play.

  • Make a daily habit of using 3 new words each day by using them in different sentences or phrases. Create a goal of trying to use new words on a regular basis in order to activate your Swedish vocabulary.

  •  Observe signs and advertising in Swedish as you see these when moving around in the city.

  • Visit the language cafés at DIS. hosted by one of the Swedish teachers, and get extra Swedish language practice. 


Field Studies (and cultural excursions)

The class has two mandatory field studies, as well as three optional cultural excursions. The purpose of the field studies and the cultural excursions is to use Stockholm’s cultural resources and Stockholm city as our extended DIS classroom. Material covered during the field studies will be included in assignments and classrooms discussions. The cultural excursions connects more to visual or audio impressions of  specific aspects of Sweden and Swedish society.

- Mandatory Field study 1: Wednesday February 12th, 9.00-12.30: A Guided Tour at The City Hall of Stockholm + a City Walk. Focus: Important places and Presentations of Power. 

- Mandatory Field study 2: Wednesday  April 29th, 13.00-16.30: A Visit to a Swedish highschool. More information TBA.

- Optional Cultural Excursions: 

Cultural excursion 1: Note: two different time slots! Time slot 1: Monday January 27th, 18.00-20.00. Time slot 2: Tuesday January 28th 18.00-20.00. A Visit to the photo exhibit Nordic Life på Fotografiska. Note: RSVP to your teacher latest same day at 2 pm.

Cultural excursion 2:  Note: two different time slots! Time slot 1: Tuesday March 10th, 18.00-20.00. Time slot 2: Thursday March 12th, 18.00-20.00. A visit to the famous, annual art exhibit Vårsalongen at Liljevalchs. Note: RSVP to your teacher latest same day at 2 pm.

​Cultural excursion 3: Note: Only one available time slot! Friday April 3rd, 19.00: The progressive dance show Bättre folk (Better people) at Dansens hus. Note: RSVP to your teacher, latest Friday March 27th, 14.00.


Approach to Teaching

The culture part of course will include interactive lectures, classroom discussions, field studies and culture excursion. There is a focus on processing observations and sharing information.  The language part will include different classroom exercises with the purpose of learning and reviewing vocabulary and activating the language.  The aspect of interaction and activity requires the class to prepare by reading for around 2 hours prior to each class.


Expectations of the Students

Active participation - one of the key components of your grade and one of the most pleasurable aspects of an engaging course - requires preparation. I expect you to have completed the assigned reading(s)/listenings/media viewing(s) before each class and to come with notes, thoughts, and questions. Readings, announcements, details, updates, the course schedule, and communications with one another are on Canvas. Students are expected to spend around 2 hours on homework tasks prior to each class.  Download the Canvas app to your phones and turn on notifications so you stay up-to-date. You are responsible for checking Canvas daily.

Please do the following:

  1. Submit assignments on time.
  2. Complete all assigned readings/media viewings and language exercises prior to the designated class. (Students are expected to spend around 2 hours on homework tasks prior to each class. )
  3. 23 classroom sessions will go by fast and times flies! Be punctual and attend all classes (also including field studies), prepared and ready to contribute. Missing classes without a legitimate excuse or showing up to class not prepared will result in a lower participation grade.
  4. Bring a notebook and pen/cil to class for taking notes. Only use laptops when instructed for specific activities. Please switch off your mobile phone during class and resist the urge to text. Please speak with me if you need your device for note-taking. 



How to get a good grade:

  • Get involved. Use your Swedish, meaning the language as well as your historical and cultural knowledge outside the classroom - the more the better. The more you know the more you see and experience.

  • Use the knowledge and insight obtained in class through readings, lectures and discussions to enrich your study abroad experience and to start fun, thought-provoking and interesting discussions with Swedes and other people that you meet during the semester.

  • Get organized. Notice all due dates assignment, set aside time to prepare for tests, papers etc., throughout the whole semester. 

  • Prepare well for class. Studying a language is like taking any kind of training. In order to develop, you need to practice as much as possible and study on a regular basis. Also, take many notes while doing the readings.

  • Participate. Practice your language in a “safe” environment and get relevant feedback, this is essential in improving. So, try to use as much Swedish as possible during the language part of the course. Also,sharing your thoughts and ideas in class is one of the best tools for developing your analytical skills.





Engaged Participation


Cultural Assignment 1 (presentation)


Cultural Assignment 2 (presentation)

10 %

Cultural Assignment 3 (academic paper)


Final Written


Final Oral



Engaged participation (20%)

You are expected to be well-prepared for class and to be very engaged in the classrooms discussions and exercises, both in regard to language and culture. Also, you are expected to actively participate actively on all four field studies during the semester. Further detailed guideline will be provided in class.


Cultural assignments (40%)

You are expected to  give two shorter presentations of around 5 minutes each and write one  academic papers of 1500 words in regard to culture. The topics for this cultural essay is related to topics dealt with in regard to culture. Further detailed guidelines will be provided in class and here in Canvas.


Finals (40%)

You are expected to write a Final Written Exam ad a Final Oral Exam in Swedish language. This Final written exam will test your language skills gained from the whole semester but with emphasis on the last 3 chapters dealt with in class. Further detailed guideline will be provided in class.

As a part of the Finals, you are also expected to complete an oral Final exam in Swedish language. This Final oral exam will test your language skills gained from the whole semester but with emphasis on the last 3 chapters dealt with in class. Further detailed guideline will be provided in class.


Late Papers / Assignments

All late submissions will be reduced by half a letter grade for each day late unless you have communicated with me before the deadline and have received permission to submit your work late. 


Electronic Technologies

Laptops/tablets/iPads/phones are not permitted to be open and in-use during class unless we are working on specified tasks. Mobile phones must be silenced during class. If you need your device for note-taking, let's talk. 


Academic Regulations  

DIS expects that students abide by the highest standards of intellectual honesty in all academic work. DIS assumes that all students do their own work and correctly credit all work or thought taken from others. Academic dishonesty will result in a final course grade of F and may result in dismissal. Your home institutions will be notified. DIS reserves the right to require that written student assignments be submitted electronically for scanning by plagiarism detection software. Please speak with me if you have any questions.

Please make sure to read the Academic Regulations on the DIS website for additional information. There you will find details on:


DIS - Study Abroad in Scandinavia -


Course Summary:

Date Details