More than half of the students at Umeå Institute of Design are
non-Swedish speakers. All masters courses, and our one-year course,
are taught in English. The only courses taught in
Swedish are the Bachelor programme and many of the short single
The social language at UID is also English, and information from
the administration is given in both English and Swedish.
Swedish is a fascinating and expressive language.
It is also a melodic language, admittedly difficult to pronounce
like a native because of its characteristic sing-song rhythm, but
otherwise not more complicated to learn than English.
Most Swedes do speak or understand English and you will probably
be able to have a memorable and enjoyable stay in Sweden without
any deeper knowledge of Swedish. But you will find that just a few
words of Swedish will work as a wonderful door-key to the Swedes.
Addressing someone in his or her native language is a matter of
respect, a way of showing that you play by their rules, so to
A special feature in the Swedish language is the dots and rings
that appear above A:s and O:s in the letters Å, Ä, Ö. These letters
are the three last in the Swedish alphabet and they are pronounced
roughly like the vowels in more, band and
sir, respectively. In our case the name
of the city Umeå is officially pronounced
Umeo - and if you want to sound like a
native you leave out the last vowel and just say
The name Umeå originates from Umeälven, the 470 km long river
that divides the city in two halves. The oldest known name of the
river (Uma) dates back to the 14th century with the meaning "the
one that roars" or "the roaring". The wild forces of the river have
been conquered since the 1880s by several hydroelectric power
stations and today Umeälven is gently flows through the city like a
peaceful blue ribbon.
If you want to know more about Swedish, a really helpful
resource is this guide created by Urban Sikeborg, Stockholm School
Introduction to Swedish
At Umeå University the Department of Language studies offers
courses in Swedish. More information here.