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A few weeks ago Kostia and I were listening to a news program on the radio when he realized he could understand everything that was being said, and I realized that I understood what was going on. “Is this a special progam for stupid people?” we thought.

We did some research and found Klartext, a production of Swedish Radio. The English explanation on their website says:

Klartext brings you news from Sweden and other countries. Klartext tells the news at a slower pace, with words that are easier to understand.

Almost 300 000 people listen to Klartext, to find out what happens in Sweden and the rest of the world.

The reporters at Klartext often get help from
· other journalists at Swedish Radio
· local radio stations all over Sweden
· the newsprogram Ekot
. reporters in countries all over the world

You can read the transcripts on the site and listen to/download the 10-minute daily programs as well. It’s great for that language-learner ego boost.

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Awhile ago they sent an e-mail out to all the international students at the university here asking if anyone was willing to go to a gymnasium (high school) and talk about their home country. They were especially looking for people from English-speaking countries. So, I offered to go.

I edited the Power Point presentation that I had made for my classmates here and took the bus to the neighboring city of Borlänge to talk to Swedish 16-year-olds. The school was interesting. It’s a privately run (but publicly-funded) school with only 50 students in two classes. It’s brand-new this year and they’re focussed on computer science. Because of that, almost all the students are male.

They all speak English fluently and some really sophisticatedly, but when we broke into smaller groups after my presentation to talk (they were supposed to be practicing their English) there was a lot of awkward adolescent silence. I was racking my brains trying to think of conversation topics — I didn’t know I’d be leading discussions, exactly.

The atmosphere at the school was really mellow. After giving my presentation, the teacher who had organized it all suggested that she and I have a coffee break before giving the presentation to the next class, and the students had a break too. They have a schedule of sorts, but it’s all completely flexible. They all have their own laptops with wireless internet, so they can basically sit there all day and screw around on the internet and listen to music and stuff. So completely different from my high school experience — 1000 students move from class to class every 40 minutes, supervised all the time… it must be really nice for these guys. I hope they get some education out of it too.

About This Blog

I'm an American who started blogging when I moved to Russia in 2004. Eventually I moved to Sweden, where life is pleasant but uneventful, and stopped blogging for lack of interesting things to say. And then I joined Facebook, which further destroyed any motivation for blogging. Maybe someday I'll start blogging again, but for now, this blog is dormant, an archive of The Russia Years: 2004-2008.

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