College in Germany and Scandinavia

College in Germany or Scandinavia?

A university education in Germany, Norway or Finland is absolutely free, even to international students such as Americans and Canadians.  You don’t necessarily even have to speak the language, because many university programs in these countries, particularly those in science and technology, are actually taught in English.  In Sweden you pay some tuition but it isn’t that much.  You just need money to meet your own living expenses – European universities rarely offer on-campus housing.  These universities are just a sample:

Free University of Berlin
Humboldt University of Berlin
Technische Universität München
Heidelberg University
University of Oslo
Norwegian University of Science and Technology
University of Helsinki

How can they do this for free?  Even for foreigners?  Northern Europeans have a “we’re all in this together” attitude.  That means they pay a little more in taxes and expect a lot more from their governments than we do.  Also, European universities offer just the academics.  They don’t think it’s their job to take care of you while you’re not in class.  So there are relatively few dorms, dining halls, sports teams, clubs, deans of students, counselors, orientations aides, gym facilities, etc.  Remember, in American universities the administrators outnumber the professors by more than two to one.  Students in Europe live off campus and their meals and social lives are up to them to provide.  When all an institution does is teach classes, it’s cheap.  American community colleges do the same thing.  Only in Europe, your university may have been founded in the middle ages.

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