I am writing this while sitting at a Joe & The Juice somewhere in Denmark, where the deep house music is roaring and a brown, green-eyed ‘PrimaDonna-Swim’-model is staring at my face. I feel like a prisoner in a capitalist prison.
Either way, the boozts here are very good. So is the coffee. Everything tastes exactly like it does at home. The stories dominating the news cycle are that “Caroline Wozniacki er klar til semifinale i Miami og Jonathan Harboe satser alt for at slå igennem i Hollywood. Så har Arsenal tabt igen.“*
There are so many things that are similar in Denmark and Iceland. The biggest difference is possibly that Denmark has a little bit nicer weather and guys on Tinder invite you out on dates.
It is also interesting to compare the universities in Denmark and Iceland. According to the Times Higher Education (THE) World University Rankings, the University of Iceland is ranked in the 201st-250th place, but some Danish universities have a similar ranking. However, those universities receive a higher contribution per student, than the University of Iceland.
The contributions to Icelandic universities, after they are divided between students, are only around 65% of the contribution made to each student in Danish universities. Still, Denmark’s universities receives lower contributions than universities in the other Nordic countries. In that category, Iceland and Denmark occupy the two lowest places (another fun thing we have in common) but Denmark is still ahead of us by 35 percentage points (and that is without taking the SU grant and the Danish student loan system into consideration). If the universities’ international competition were a tennis tournament, we would not be on our way to compete in the semi-finals in Miami.
While discussing contributions to the university system, it is important to point out that proportionally, there are similar numbers of students at universities in Iceland, Denmark and in the rest of the Nordic countries. That means that we are not admitting more students to Icelandic universities. The contributions are just much lower for each student that we do admit.
The theme of this fourth and last issue of the university paper this term is the past and the future. The only thing that I’d like to say about that theme is that the future does not look any different from the past if we do not try to escape from the rut in which we are stuck.
Actually – the future is sort of looking worse. If we compare us to others. A living proof of that is, for example, Arsenal. Some maintain that the team is currently doing so poorly because their coach, Arsène Wenger, cannot adapt to changed circumstances. He has been making his players play the same kind of soccer for the last 20 years. But the world changes, and so does soccer.
We also need to adapt to changed circumstances. The Icelandic government must invest in university students. Right now, they are behaving a bit like Arsène Wenger.
Let’s be less like Arsène Wenger. Let’s be Caroline Wozniacki.
*mx - metroxpress, “the most widely read newspaper in Denmark.”
Column by Ragna Sigurðardóttir, chairperson of SHÍ
Translation: Sólrún Harpa Sveinbjörnsdóttir
Article first published in 4th issue, vol. 92 of Stúdentablaðið.