Bodensare of the Year 2017

Photo Mats Engfors/Fotographic

Joy, community and thirst for knowledge. At Let’s Go Swedish, people from all corners of the world gather to learn Swedish. And behind it all are three women, Bodensare of the Year.

Lina Hällström, Linda Olofsson and Jessica Bergman. That’s the name of the Bodensare of the Year. It was at Boden’s Business Gala in February that the three volunteers were awarded the glorious prize, voted by the residents of Boden’s municipality.

– It felt absolutely fantastic, we were very happy. It is so fun that the people of Boden support us in what we do. We feel that we have won this together with our students, says Lina.

Lina, Linda and Jessica run the Swedish school Let’s Go Swedish, with lessons twice a week in Studieförbundet Vuxenskolan’s premises.

– It started as a Swedish school for asylum seekers waiting for a decision, but now I would probably say that it is a gathering point, says Linda.

The day after the Business Gala, Lina, Linda and Jessica invited their students to a cake and Pommac to celebrate the win.

– It was very appreciated and fun. I have probably never met people who are as good at celebrating as our students. Someone turned on music and then people started dancing, they let go and invited themselves. It was fun, says Jessica.

Shows the neighborhood

Each lesson will have about 50 students who will be divided into three groups depending on the degree of difficulty. The three women take care of their respective groups and in addition to learning the language, the students also get to know more about society and culture.

– They tell their stories and we tell about Sweden, says Jessica.

In addition, Lina, Linda and Jessica regularly come up with activities with their students and show off the local life.

– We are close to so much that is free, so many places close where you can do things together and that suits everyone, says Lina.

Among other things, they have sledged in Pagla, ridden at Boden’s riding club, played cub and volleyball at Kvarnängen, visited Havremagasinet, gone to the cinema, bowled and run together.

– It is usually very appreciated, it is like an introduction to what is in Boden. We are grateful for all the help we received from the people of Bodens, says Jessica.

Gets a lot back

It was Linda who started the school together with her sister in the spring of 2013.

– We knew some from West Africa who were so sad. We thought “it can not be that difficult to teach them Swedish” and started teaching them simple sentences.

They invited their acquaintances and and there are still new ones coming every week. When the sister moved in 2014, Lina was invited to visit but immediately started helping and got stuck. In the same way, Jessica came in a few weeks later. Lina is a teacher at the university and Jessica has worked as a preschool teacher and they all three have a very great commitment. All the work they put in is non-profit, but it has never felt hard for any of them.

– We get so much back and so many new friends. It’s like traveling the whole world. Most come from war and horrors, but here there is so much love and joy anyway, says Linda.

Everyone is welcome

When there are 50 people outside the school waiting to learn Swedish, Lina, Linda and Jessica feel very appreciated. In the classrooms there is a strong will to learn and everyone here is voluntary. The only rule is that you should be on time if you come, but you do not have to go to all the lessons.

– To us, everyone is always welcome. We have managed to create a good atmosphere where even new people can feel at home, says Lina.

– We respect everyone no matter where you come from, gender, age or religion. And we have never seen the slightest tendency to quarrel, but everyone is friends, says Linda.

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