So there are very few things that I will seriously talk about here and something that I feel like I should write a post about for a few months now is how we treat the immigrants living in our countries. I’ve been a legal resident in Sweden for officially a year now and there are many things that I have learned from this experience and have began changing my attitude and how I think towards those who have made the brave and sometimes necessary decision to leave their homes.
First thing I want you guys to understand is that learning a new language is difficult for some people, really difficult. When you’re speaking in another language you are thinking about so many different factors all at the same time like how nervous you are or whether I am speaking loud enough. Is my pronunciation correct? Grammar? So, for me the last thing I’m thinking about is if I seem “friendly” while speaking Swedish. I just want to get the fricken sentence out and make sure the other person understood what I said. I know for a fact I come off cold and rude when I speak Swedish because I’ve heard a few people say I seem so angry more when they think I can’t hear or understand them. Emotions are hard to project in a foreign language when you’re already uncomfortable and self conscience so, the last thing you need when you’re away from all of your family and friends is to hear that the once happy, friendly, bubbly, and intelligent you is now rude. Its not intentional I promise. Next time you are speaking with someone who is clearly struggling with the language I ask that you forgive us for the inconvenience and be patient with us. Smiling despite my “cold” manner makes me feel so good after I speak to someone in Swedish and makes the early morning classes worth it.
Second, is please don’t judge. Some people are there because they had to flee from everything they once knew and were no longer safe. Just the other day a student at my Swedish school had to walk out of the class while a teacher took pictures of us for the school newspaper because if their photo gets seen by the wrong person their life is in danger. So on top of having to be extremely careful about your identity you now have to learn everything all over again. Its hard and it wasn’t even their choice. I’ve been guilty of saying “geez learn some English” when talking to people and it makes me feel so gross inside thinking about it. Again a smile and a little patience can make a person feel like they belong even if its only for a day.
Third, you might be thinking why is it my job to go out of my way to make a person to feel comfortable. They just need to get over it… For the most part you’re right. Sometimes I do need to suck it up and not care so much about what people think but I think there is a part in all of us that wants to know how they can help someone who is struggling to fit in. Our world would be a much better place if we tried to understand where someone is coming from instead of thinking about what is better for ourselves. Constantly chasing what I want isn’t going to help anyone out and more often than not, won’t even help myself out. Thank you for those who actually took the time to read this and an even bigger thank you to those who want to take the time to implement it. Until next time.