Online Scandinavian Language Classes

Have you resolved to learn a Scandinavian language or improve your current Scandinavian language skills in 2021? Of course there are mobile/web apps, like Duolingo and Babbel, and online and book-based options for independent study, but some of you may prefer regular, personal interaction with an instructor and other learners. Now that institutions have pivoted to offering virtual events and classes, there are many such options to consider. Winter session is open for registration at many Scandinavian centers around the country now.

Here are some options I’ve come across recently. Personally, we are familiar with and recommend Vesterheim’s Family Norwegian Language Adventures. We participated in the ones from October (friluftsliv), November (kos), and December (jul). It was a nice combination of language and culture with accompanying family activities and virtual interaction with other participants (read about our October adventure here).

Please share in the comments if you are familiar with or have experience with any other in-person programs that are now virtual.

Vesterheim, the National Norwegian-American Museum & Folk Art School (Decorah, IA)

Vesterheim’s Heritage and Language classes give students the tools to dive more deeply into their Norwegian roots and connect with cultural traditions. While most classes focus on the culture, language, and history of Norway, some are appropriate for anyone curious about heritage and identity. Some classes are specifically tailored for travelers while others help students travel in their imaginations. These classes sell out quickly (winter sessions are already full), so check back early for spring offerings. View upcoming classes.

A unique language learning option at Vesterheim is their Family Norwegian Language Adventures program. Each adventure promises family fun while learning some Norwegian language along the way.

Join Vesterheim in February for an adventure that will focus on eventyr, or fairy tales. Through short videos, hands-on activities, crafts, and light-hearted games, you and your family will learn and practice new Norwegian skills. In advance, a kit will be delivered right to your home containing supplies for these language activities, including a helpful reference sheet for all the new words and expressions you will be learning as well as a yummy treat. A scavenger-hunt-type activity using the GooseChase app will get you up and moving, exploring, embracing the adventure wherever you are and whenever you choose. Enrollment deadline for the February adventure is January 22, 2021. Register here.

Mindekirken Norwegian Language & Culture Program (Minneapolis, MN)

The Mindekirken Norwegian Language & Culture Program offers a range of language and literature classes for beginner to advanced students. For the 2021 winter session, literature classes feature the authors Jørn Lier Horst, Anne B. Ragde, Vidar Sundstøl, and Unni Lindell, as well as Netflix’s Norwegian TV series Hjem til jul. See a list of current class offerings here.

Mindekirken also offers an online Norwegian language and culture group for kids ages 6 to 10 called Den Norske Klubben. The winter session starts on January 3 and meets every other Sunday until March 14. The theme for the year is Sanger og fortellinger (songs and stories). With an informal structure, activities may include games, songs, art projects, and dramatic play. Each week is independent from the others, so children can attend as they are able. It is free to attend but registration is required.

The Scandinavian School & Cultural Center (San Francisco, CA)

The Scandinavian School and Cultural Center currently offers language classes for adults in Danish, Norwegian, Swedish, as well as Finnish. All classes are taught by native speaking teachers with a focus on conversation and cultural literacy. See offerings here.

Scandinavian Language Institute (Seattle, WA)

The Scandinavian Language Institute offers language instruction classes to the general public in various levels of Norwegian, Swedish, and Danish. Class levels include Beginning, Know-A-Little (Continuing), Intermediate and Advanced plus some Specialty classes. Online classes are scheduled from 4- to 9-week segments throughout the school year depending on the language teacher. They offer live Zoom or pre-recorded classes. See schedules and descriptions here.

American Swedish Institute (Minneapolis, MN)

ASI offers both adult and youth Swedish and Finnish language opportunities. There are traditional classes for adults, Svenska Skolan for kids aged 6-12, and Swedish for Teenagers, a class for students aged 13-18 who are serious about learning Swedish. If you are just curious about Swedish or Finnish and not yet ready to commit to a multi-date class, they offer a virtual intro class for each language as well. See offerings here.

I wish you “lykke til” with any of your language learning endeavours in 2021!