I was cleaning up my e-mails the other day. Usually it can take me months to respond to people. I’d like to say that it is because I am so busy I just don’t have time, but really I’m just horribly self-absorbed. This means I have e-mails from years ago. And I found a good one.
Anyway, way back in my unemployed, bored out of my mind, why did I move to Sweden days, I was considering going back to school. Swedish school is cheap. Seeing as how I had never really paid taxes at that point, it was essentially free. I like learning and reading. Clearly school was the place to be.
So I started looking into it. First, I was told that because I had never been to high school in Sweden, I would need to prove my Swedish skills. Fine, I produced my university transcripts stating that I had, in fact, taken a couple of Swedish courses. Please note that this was all done in Swedish. Of course. Tyvärr. Rules are rules and I would have to prove the equivalent of high school Swedish. Rather than take the courses though, I could take a test. Spectacular I thought. I had missed the test. It was only given twice a year. Fine.
My English skills are pretty good though so I thought I’d look for graduate programs in English. I checked things out, did some research, even sent an e-mail or two asking about the possibility. I did not reveal my grades, I did not reveal any sort of test score, I revealed nothing. They had nothing that would immediately make them think, “Wow, we do not want this guy at our school.” I just asked about the possibility of studying at Stockholm University. I received the following from an advisor at Stockholm University: “Unfortunately Stockholm University does not offer any scholarships and there is also a shortage of student accommodations in Stockholm.”
That one statement reveals a lot about Sweden, especially in Stockholm. It suggests first off, that despite the assumption that school is free in Sweden, it is not. Not even close. Turns out living in Stockholm isn’t exactly cheap. And speaking of living. You won’t, at least not under any good looking roof. A shortage is an understatement. A midget-age would be more appropriate. Having to wait in line for over a year just in hopes of living 45 minutes away from school isn’t a shortage. That’s a midget-age. Or dwarf-age. I’m not up on the proper politically correct term.
There is something to be said for honesty. There is also something to be said though for not crushing the dreams of someone wanting to learn. And my dreams were crushed. Instead, I find myself working full time pretending to be an adult. It’s exhausting.
Welcome to Sweden. And Stockholm student housing midget-ages.
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