Don’t forget healthcare
Dear Silhouette Man, as a Scandiscot, may I direct you to the flaws in your post; firstly you claim that students in the Nordic countries don’t pay tuition fees, this is in reality not true. Sure, citizens of our countries are exempt from tuition fees, but so are Scottish students and all EU students in Scotland, whereas foreign students in the Nordic countries pay thousands of pounds a year to attend university. A Chinese student wishing to study English at my Alma Mater pays £7000 a semester for their degree. What is more, until 2010 Swedish students were enforced by law to pay a de facto tuition fee to a student union in order to be allowed to attend university.
Furthermore you seem to think that the measly stipend that is given to each and every student in Sweden is a sum we get without any strings attached, which is far from the truth. Not only are we not allowed to fail any classes while doing a course, we’re only entitled to a grant for a maximum of 12 semesters, meaning that doctors, teachers, psychologists and the like still end up having to pay for the last semesters of their degrees. What is more, the stipend on its own barely covers the rent in one of Sweden’s few student flats - campus flats do not exist as a concept in Sweden, and few if any students share flats with other people because of cultural and social reasons - meaning that in order to survive we are, lest otherwise privileged with a shitload of money, forced to take out a loan to pay for our living expenses, just like any American. At the moment my debts amount to a whooping £79,000, so to claim that my education was for free is a load of bollocks.
What is more, on account of being a massive country, the majority of Sweden’s students have to move away from their parents in order to attend uni, meaning that people cannot possibly save money by living at home. Anyone from the north of the country has to move between 150 and 900 kilometres to attend uni, making living at home and commuting virtually impossible - sure if I had been able to stay at home, I could have survived on £200 a month, but as I had to move 390 kilometres to start my degree, I had to take out a loan.
I get annoyed with the glorification of Scandinavian countries, people still seem to think that our countries constitute some socialist utopian wonderland, when the truth is that our countries at the moment are some of the most right-wing in Europe. Sweden has a right-wing government and, what is more, a very active openly racist party in parliament, and something close to 25% of all Finns, if my memory serves me right, voted for a right-wing, fascist party in the last election.
Quit talking about Scandinavia as if it was a perfect, flawless place - it isn’t, and unless you’re willing to talk real politics, i.e. compare the political, social and historical reasons behind the States’ and the Nordic Countries differing educational policies, don’t bother telling Americans that they’re stupid, because really…