Ines Niksic grew up in Croatia. She speaks seven languages, is fluent in five of them, and has studied at universities in Italy, France and Sweden. She has worked at the EU Parliament, Disneyland Paris and finally as a teacher in Skövde. Now this linguist and multitasker works as Lecturer in Swedish at the University of Skövde. Meet Ines Niksic.
Ines grew up in northern Croatia. The proximity to Italy and bilingualism in the area made Ines learn Italian as a child.
“I spoke Italian at school and Croatian at home,” says Ines.
It was probably there that her great interest in languages was awakened and when Ines graduated from the Italian high school, she had also studied English, Spanish and French. With her mind set on becoming a translator or interpreter, Ines moved to Italy. She studied languages and intercultural communication at the University of Trieste. In addition to the languages she had already studied before, she also chose to study Portuguese. During her education, she had an internship as an assistant translator for Croatian lawyer-linguists at the EU Parliament in Brussels and, for a period, also worked at the translation center for EU in Luxembourg.
“Working in EU quarters and meeting people from other countries gave me an additional dimension in multiculturalism.”
Through an Erasmus programme, she moved to Paris for further studies. In France, Ines met her husband and the couple settled in a suburb of Paris. Ines started working at Disneyland, initially on the attractions and then in the booking office.
“It really became an active way to use my language skills. It was cool to be able to meet visitors in their own language,” she says.
Left Paris for Skövde
The family had a daughter, and in 2019, when Ines was expecting the family's second child, they moved to Sweden.
“My parents have been living in Skövde for eight years. During our visits, I have really felt that I want to live here too. It is so peaceful here in Sweden. My husband and I want our children, who are now eight and three years old, to go to a Swedish school with the school system Sweden has with slightly shorter school days and for the children to be outside in nature. That they simply get to be children longer.”
In love with linguistics
In the autumn 2019, Ines commuted from Skövde to Gothenburg and studied English at the university. She fell in love with linguistics and saw language studies in a new way.
“In 2020, I entered both the Fast Track in Swedish language at Adult Education and the Master's Programme in Language and Intercultural Communication at the University of Gothenburg. It was hard to choose one, as both were equally important and interesting, so I thought I'd go on and do both.
And go on, Ines does. At full speed. In Skövde, Ines has worked in retail, been a Spanish teacher, study supervisor for English, Italian and French, and has also been a mother tongue teacher in Croatian and French.
“My husband was on parental leave so I focused on learning Swedish quickly and getting a job. I worked for a while as a cashier and it really helped me in my language training, to hear and understand different accents and dialects, and to dare to speak. In August 2022, I started working at the University.”
Teaches Swedish and Rhetoric
We meet in Ines' office in the G building. On some of the shelves are colorful folders for Swedish, Rhetoric, University pedagogy and Language Café. Other shelves are filled with books – about language. Just over three years ago, she came to Sweden, and now she teaches Swedish and Rhetoric to international students, among other things. Ines also manages the University's Language Cafés for students and employees.
“Meeting students and colleagues in different languages and getting to know their culture, while also teaching them Swedish and the Swedish culture, is my motivation. Speaking the same language is much more than just talking.”
Lifelong learning in Sweden
The commitment, drive and desire to learn new things all the time is palpable. In the future, she would like to do research in linguistics and already has a variety of ideas, especially the interplay between language and identity interests her. Ines states that much in life is also about daring.
“Like we dared to leave two good jobs in France and move here. We believed that there are opportunities here in Sweden to develop further, build a family and at the same time contribute to society through our jobs. I dared to seek and gain different experiences by reading and working in different EU countries. Now I want to share my experience, and what I learned, by helping those who dare to take their first steps on their journey in the intercultural society.”