Swedish students versus the states

Written by: Susanna Pehrson
When taking a closer look at the differences between Swedish college students and BCC students, obvious differences can be made. Not only are BCC students much younger on average, but they also seem more focused on their studies and college sports. While a lot of students in Sweden and universities in Europe take their studies as an excuse to keep on partying, many BCC students are in a rush to move on to higher levels. A heavy load of classes, paired with many hours at a sport’s field does not leave much room for the party-till-you-drop mentality which is so much more common over-seas. Part of the explanation is the cost. Students at BCC simply cannot afford to spend the money for a college education and graduate with grades that will not allow them to reach their goals. The Swedish education system is free of cost, as is the case in many countries in Europe. Student loans are a right for everybody and are supported by the state to give students a lower interest rate. Should you, however, decide to linger at the university for more years than you are eligible for a student loan, you are in good company. There are plenty of older students who stay in cheap student apartments provided by the university and who support themselves by working for the student communities on campus. These communities are more like small neighborhoods than anything else. Named after different regions in Sweden, they incorporate their own restaurant, pub, band and social environment with plenty of job opportunities (not to mention party opportunities). The different communities, or “nations”, all have their own specific holidays they celebrate and there is always a good reason to party. Since it is only for students who have special student passes, prices can be kept at an affordable level. Team sports are not common though. Colleges and universities in Sweden are not well known for their sport teams but more for their political discussion clubs feeding the political parties with young and enthusiastic demagogues. Free education allows for everybody with an interest in higher studies to pursue their goals. It also means that colleges are crowded with people that neither want to work, nor travel the world. This mix makes for interesting discussions, but it is not ideal for fostering a strong competitive spirit. If a student wants to succeed, it takes self motivation. A BCC student is likely to succeed at a faster speed and gain more knowledge, but less likely to have matured. Swedish colleges and universities give more time for a student to get over the party phase, and move on. In the long run, it gives a wider perspective and a better understanding of the world around us.