Why learn Swedish?

Everyone will have their own reasons of course.

My own were because I found the way of life in Scandinavia very sympathetic in the 1970s, with a real concern for human values and the individual, an openness to new ideas and people. During the 1980s there was a reaction, people closed down somewhat, there was less interest in expanding awareness and horizons. But now in the 1990s the atmosphere is different again: frames of reference are now the European Community, the Baltic Community, and in Sweden an enormous flow of refugees - or as the authorities call them, "applicants for asylum", many of whom wait for two years or more before being told whether or not they are to be granted refugee status, so are in the country long enough to make a cultural contribution, even if in the end they are deported back to their war-ridden and tortured home countries.

In Scandinavia generally there is a great interest in creating positive contacts with the Baltic countries, whether it be for professional reasons between colleagues, personal and family reasons, or for commercial purposes; of course English is the lingua franca throughout Scandinavia, but there is no doubt that contacts are deeper and more meaningful if the language used is the mother-tongue for at least one of the participants: and one can only really understand a culture if one knows at least something of the language(s), as a way into the literature, too.