I'm supposed to be studying for tomorrow's English exam, but instead I decided to spend my afternoon writing this and reading through everything here. I'll just have to accept that I will get a not-so-good grade
So, most of the things I wanted to say have already been said here, but I guess I could mention my opinion as a Finn learning Swedish at school, and also as someone who has lived in a country where most people only speak their county's own language, Italy.
As someone who has been in a Finnish school for most of the time I've spent studying, I absolutely hate Swedish. I guess Swedish is sort of our version of Welsh as a second language, and I'm sorry to say that people really don't like studying it here. Our education system is good, but it's not working as well as people outside of Finland say it is, or at least not in terms of languages. (That said, having also been to an Italian school, Finnish education is a lot better. A lot.)
Many Swedish people live in Finland and everyone in Finland has to learn Swedish at school. There is still the problem of confidence, though. Many - if not most - people my age, the ones who go to school and have to study Swedish, can't have a conversation, or even give or ask for directions in Swedish after having studied it for 6 years. (Now, I could just happen to be in the only class in Finland that is bad at Swedish, but I'm assuming this is at least not uncommon). I don't want to hate Swedish, but this is getting pretty frustrating.
I think there are many problems that contribute to this. Firstly, the way we learn makes us just cram for the next exam and then immediately forget everything we learned. Obviously we can remember some basic stuff, like the numbers from 1 to about 999,999 (which are so useful when you can't even remember how to say "I would like two bars of chocolate, please"), how to say "hi", "bye" and some basic verbs, substantives and adjectives. For exams, we have to learn grammar and vocab that is only relevant to that one course, so when the next course starts we forget the earlier material and start again.
Secondly, you don't really hear Swedish that often if you don't live in a Swedish-speaking area. My old school used to be right next to a Swedish school, so I would hear some casual Swedish conversations at the bus stop (without understanding a singe word). Sometimes you hear some people speaking Swedish on the tram, and the most commonly seen Swedish is found on road signs (usually second, though it's first in the areas with the highest percentages of Swedish speakers) and subtitles in cinemas.
Lastly, I guess history has something to do with it. This shouldn't really be a problem in Wales, actually it's probably the opposite. I won't go into much (or any) detail, but Finland has had some bad history with Sweden so we have some people who are still bitter.
The first problem could be fixed by having a more SSi-type of approach to language learning. Don't aim for perfection and all that stuff everyone has already mentioned.
That part ended up being longer than I meant it to be...
tl;dr: Basically people in Finland who are not native speakers of Swedish, don't have friends/family or don't have use for Swedish (most people) can't and don't speak Swedish despite having "learned" it at school.
English, however, is much more common here. That is definitely because of television, movies, social media and things like that. Almost everyone can speak it to some degree and can offer customer service in it if needed.
In Italy it is not so, in my experience. I was born and have lived there for slightly over half my life, so I think I'm at least partly correct when I say that it's very common for people to not be able to speak English at all (things might have changed a bit, I lived there seven years ago). I think this is also because of television, movies and all that stuff. In Finland, the media is mostly in English with Finnish and Swedish subtitles. For this reason people want to learn English because it is useful to them directly, even without having any friends who don't speak Finnish. In Italy the media is completely in Italian. Everything is dubbed and nobody ever hears English anywhere. Slightly exaggerating, I know, but my point is it doesn't feel useful to Italians.
Points that I was trying to make:
-As others have said, give people reasons to want to study Welsh. More movies, TV, books and things like that in Welsh. Sindarin, from the Lord of the Rings is based on Welsh! Welsh is easier to learn than English! This one actor from Game of Thrones speaks Welsh! (Not gonna lie, that last one is the reason I started getting interested in Welsh...)
-Forcing people to speak/learn it is bad. People will hate it and will not want to speak it when they don't have to.
-Change the way second languages are taught in school. I like the point about not calling it a second language, but it would still be taught like a second language. It honestly needs to focus less on perfection, because the way it is now, everybody is having mostly bad experiences with the language and no confidence to speak it.
-Use history to your advantage since you have the chance.
I apologize for the length (didn't mean for this to be this long, I can't summarize) and the lack of new stuff. This started turning into a rant at some point. I guess what I was trying to do was just to back some points other have made and possibly offer a different point of view. I don't know, I tried.
(Side note: Reading these has strengthened my desire to move to Wales and become a teacher )