“Vi Ses! Språkvänner i Linköping” is a neutral meeting platform for people interested in making a new friend. We match someone who is newly arrived in Sweden* with someone who is well established in Sweden*. The person who is newly arrived in Sweden wants to practice/get better at Swedish, while the person who is well established in Sweden wants to get to know someone from a different culture and answer any questions that he or she might have about the country. Being language friends is supposed to be a rewarding learning experience for both parties.
*Well established in Sweden means that you 1) consider yourself established in Sweden, and 2) speak Swedish well and can help someone with the Swedish language. You might 1) have been born in Sweden, 2) have been raised in Sweden, or 3) have lived in Sweden for many years, consider yourself settled and do not need to practice the language anymore.
*Newly arrived in Sweden means that you would like to practice Swedish and become friends with someone who is well established in the country and knows the society well.
What is a Language Friend?
The most important thing is to spend time together, get to know each other and have fun. For example, you could go for walks, have a fika, attend study circles together, or other activities that you find fun or interesting. You decide this yourselves.
Being language friends is not about being someone’s guide or guardian. Neither is it about getting a “Swedish contact’ that you can ask for assistance and support. It is about getting to know each other over your cultural borders, having fun together and, perhaps, making a friend for life.
How do you Become a Language Friend?
- Apply for the project by filling in the application form in as much detail as possible. You can become a language friend by yourself or along with your family. If you wish, you can specify what kind of person you would like to meet and we will take it into account during the matching process.
- We call everyone to see if they are happy with their suggested match.
Meeting for the First Time
We arrange a first meeting at which you and your language friend get together along with us. This usually takes place on the Red Cross’s premises. We have a fika and give you an introduction to the project. After the introduction, you get the opportunity to talk to each other for about an hour. You talk about yourselves, ask each other questions and discuss your expectations for the project. You can also discuss what you would like to do together and how often you would like to meet. Exchange phone numbers and decide when you want to get together next time.
Socialising as Language Friends
- Are things working out well for you and your language friend? Congratulations! Keep on meeting and having fun!
- Are things not working out between you? If you have difficulty finding time to meet, if circumstances in your life change so you cannot be language friends anymore, or if you feel that you weren’t a good match, contact us!
Conclusion and Follow-up
Your participation in “Vi Ses’ ends after six months. This doesn’t mean that you have to stop hanging out as language friends. On the contrary, we hope that you’ll remain friends as long as you’re able to – perhaps for the rest of your lives. The reason we end our participation here is that our job is to be a helping hand at the beginning. We’ll have a follow-up with you to see how the project has gone. We’ll call and ask a few questions such as “have you continued to meet?’ After our follow-up, we’ll remove you from our application list.
Information for Newly Arrived in Sweden
The interest in becoming a language friend is much higher among newly arrived people than among those well established in Sweden. This means that there is a long queue for getting a language friend, in some cases up to several months. It is important that you fill in as much information as possible when sending in your application – this will make it much easier to get a language friend. You can also let us know if you have any specific wishes for who you would like to meet, or if it doesn’t matter. If you don’t have any specific wishes, the matching process will be faster. We try to find good matches and hope that it will be worth the wait.
Thank you for being patient!
Information for Well Established in Sweden
There are 100 people waiting to receive a well-established friend. The queue is especially long for newly arrived men, both adults and unaccompanied minors. We therefore encourage well-established men to apply for the project in order to shorten the queue. A lot of women want to meet other women, which makes the queue long. Our first priority is to try to match men, both unaccompanied minors and adults.
A lot of unaccompanied migrants would like to have contact with someone who is well-established. They don’t have any family, so a friend can be incredibly important to them. We therefore match unaccompanied migrants with well-established people of the same age, older, in families or single. We always ask the unaccompanied migrant if the suggested match is okay. Age differences are rarely an issue.
If you would like to make an extra effort for unaccompanied migrants or other children who need help and support, you can receive information at “Frivilligcentrum’. Perhaps you would like to offer your services as a contact person, trustee/legal guardian, or foster home?
Personal Data Management – GDPR
When a participant applies for “Vi Ses’, the person submits personal data such as their name, phone number, address and sometimes personal notes that are needed in the matching process. This information is kept private by “Vi Ses’ and is not handed over to anyone else except the authorities that require it by law. “Vi Ses’ may notify participants about projects and organisations that have the same objectives as “Vi Ses’ in order to help the participants learn Swedish and find new acquaintances. No personal data is handed over to these projects/organisations without the participants’ approval. An example of a project that “Vi Ses’ collaborates with is Family by Family, which is run by the municipality of Linköping and where newly arrived families can receive help from a mentor that speaks their mother tongue.
All data about a participant is kept in one place, and a participant can contact the project manager at any time in order to change or delete data. Data about a participant is deleted no later than one year after receiving a language friend, in connection with the follow-up with the project manager. The personal data is needed in order to make the best possible matches. If you have any questions, you can call the project manager at 076 338 78 83.