Wednesday, October 20, 2010

My impressions so far! (part 1)

by Carl Mattias

Dear readers!

Time sure goes fast! I have now been at Luther Seminary for half a semester!

I arrived about two weeks before "first week", in order to make myself at home before the classes started, something I highly recommend, especially if are from another country.
At the first week I was overwhelmed at first. At Johannelund in Sweden we have about 100 active students, at Luther Seminary we received over 200 new students! I received a warm welcome, especially since I was an exchange student, and we had a couple of extra "first days" for us coming from other countries. It was also interesting seeing the other "international students" (I am using the term "international" since not all are "exchange students" in the aspect of exchanging students). It also helped my to get some perspective.
I am from Sweden, a rich welfare country where education is not a privilege, it is a right. Everyone has the right to study and the government in Sweden promotes it by making the school free (no tuition) and giving us money every month to support our studies. We also have the right to borrow money from "CSN" (financial aid for studies) with low interest. In Sweden we often complain about how hard the life of a student is, having to borrow money to survive, have to study all the time and during the summer break we "might" have to work if we spent too much money during the semester. Many Swedes complain about this "hard" student life. Gaining some perspective changes that. Here in the US education is not a right, it is a privilege (at least at higher levels). Most American students I have met here have to receive scholarships and still work while they are studying to be able to afford school. I admire my American friends for being able to pull this out. When I meet the other international students many of them have been forced to leave their families back in their home country for this rare change and privilege to be able to study!

This makes me consider if I should feel ashamed, coming from a welfare country and in addition to that receive all the privileges of an international student at Luther Seminary, or greatly blessed for having what I have and to be a Swedish student here at Luther Seminary.
Perhaps both?


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