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Swedes and immigrants become friends through culture

Published torsdag 22 december 2016 kl 10.22
Abdulla from Syria: You learn the secret codes of a new country
(6:30 min)
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Abdulla Ahmad Miri with Syrian baklava and Swedish saffron buns. Credit: Karin Nilsson/Radio Sweden
Matilda Johansson
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Matilda Johansson, project manager for Kulturkompis at the study association Bilda. Credit: Karin Nilsson/Radio Sweden
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Roula from Syria with her daughters, Bana and Jana. Credit: Karin Nilsson/Radio Sweden
Sanna & Maria
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Sanna Älv and Maria Dahlbäcker, two of the Swedes taking part in the Kulturkompis project. Credit: Karin Nilsson/Radio Sweden
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Katri Heinämäki from Finland. Credit: Karin Nilsson/Radio Sweden
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Board games centred on conversational Swedish or English. Credit: Karin Nilsson/Radio Sweden
Playing board games
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Board games under way. Credit: Karin Nilsson/Radio Sweden
Board game
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A card from the board game played by the participants. Credit: Karin Nilsson/Radio Sweden
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Some of the Swedish 'fika' brought in by participants. Credit: Karin Nilsson/Radio Sweden

Could culture be the key to unlocking the secret codes of a new country? Radio Sweden met with participants in a project that brings together Swedes with newly-arrived immigrants through cultural actitivites.

The project is called Kulturkompis, which translates as "culture friend." Participants are paired together in groups of four, and together they visit museums, theatres and cinemas. Afterwards they discuss the experience, in Swedish or English.

Radio Sweden visited the end-of-term celebrations for Kulturkompis Stockholm. One of the participants, Abdulla Ahmad Miri from Syria, said the project had been good for improving his language skills, but even more so for understanding Swedish society.

"You get to learn the secret codes of a new country through culture," he told Radio Sweden.

Kulturkompis is run by the study association Bilda and was launched earlier this year. Project manager Matilda Johansson told Radio Sweden the project had turned out to be more popular than the organisers had dared to hope, with both Swedes and new arrivals interested in taking part.

One of the native Swedes taking part in the project was Sanna Älv:

"It's a good way to meet new people and get new perspectives, and also to go to cultural events and do things I enjoy doing anyway," she said.

Our journalism is based on credibility and impartiality. Swedish Radio is independent and not affiliated to any political, religious, financial, public or private interests.
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