Having often considered that I’d like to live in Stockholm, Sweden, one of the (technologically speaking) greenest cities on Earth, I discovered recently — through Parker Molloy’s Hello-Giggles article — that there is yet another good reason to be living in Europe, or to just go there for a long visit. And it has nothing to do with energy efficiency or the chilly climate I crave or even girls with dragon tattoos. The other good reason to go to Europe — or at least Luxembourg, Norway, or Germany, to start with — is that the public universities in those countries have no tuition fees. And Germany, it just so happens, is open to letting international students in on this, too.
I know what some of you college students are thinking right now: I could be ingesting just ramen noodles, pizza, and beer in Germany for far less than I’m doing it here? Yes, college students, you could be. Sure, you’d have to learn to speak a little German, but they’ve probably got free classes on that as well.
While you’re packing your bags, think too about how many people spend tons of money on a college degree only to end up working in a completely unrelated field, or not working at all until they finally ask their buddy Jeff if he can get them on at RadioShack. If that may be what’s waiting down the road for you anyway, wouldn’t it be better to not also have $50,000 in student-loan debt that you’ll be paying off until the sun expands enough to consume our planet?
Dorothee Stepelfeldt, Hamburg senator for science, called tuition fees “unjust” and added, “It is a core task of politics to ensure that young women and men can study with a high quality standard free of charge in Germany.”
Parker Molloy states in her article that “taking lead from the Germans might be the best move for the U.S….” She says:
Annually, [our] federal government spends more than $100 billion subsidizing student loans and another $69 billion subsidizing education, itself. When you factor in that tuition at state universities totals just around $60 billion annually, making college education free and available for all might be the most financially reasonable approach to solving the increasingly unsustainable education crisis…
This is where so many of the most-extreme conservatives — if they’ve read this far — might scream at me with red-faced Confederate-flag-waving rage, “Go ahead and move, then!” And such screaming is a perfect example of just one major non-tuition-related problem we face: Americans who are so hopped up on “America” that they can’t abide any criticisms of “[their] country” that don’t involve words and phrases like: One thousand years of darkness, Obama, Taxes are stupid, Obamacare, The war on Christmas, Obama is an evil Voodoo magician, Scientists are making stuff up, Big Oil creates jobs (and loves you!), etc.
Despite how completely sane these folks may seem, maybe America, “the greatest country in the world,” would actually be worthy of such a moniker if the most backward of its citizens had been taught the value of learning from the many “weaker” countries that have long bested us in the areas of healthcare, sustainable energy, and book-learnin’.