Copenhagen/Gothenburg/Oslo - Winter is cold in Scandinavia, even more so if you come from afar and are used to warmer climates, as for many international students who choose to defy the low temperatures and buckle up to study up north.
The highs and lows of International students studying in three Scandinavian cities.
The Scandinavian welfare system provides free schooling and university to all its citizens plus those of countries within the European Union and European Economic Area.
Less than 20 years ago everyone, regardless of their passport, could study for free in all three countries. In Denmark fees were introduced in 2006, in Sweden in 2011 and last of all Norway with tuition fees being introduced in 2023.
Often international students take a lot of debt with family members and banks in their home countries in order to pay the fees. Once in Scandinavia, many try to work besides their studies, but the challenges are many. Combining studies and work is often stressful and their stories rarely feature on local and national media.
A team of investigative journalists from Sweden, Denmark and Norway have spoken to students at universities in the cities of Copenhagen, Gothenburg and Oslo to document a series of problematics and injustices they face. These stories guided the team's work in building an understanding of the shortcomings that can make their life challenging.