Wednesday, June 10, 2015

...while germans laugh at the vampire squid



BBC | In a kitchen in rural South Carolina one night, Hunter Bliss told his mother he wanted to apply to university in Germany. Amy Hall chuckled, dismissed it, and told him he could go if he got in.
"When he got accepted I burst into tears," says Amy, a single mother. "I was happy but also scared to let him go that far away from home."
Across the US parents are preparing for their children to leave the nest this summer, but not many send them 4,800 miles (7,700km) away - or to a continent that no family member has ever set foot in.
Yet the appeal of a good education, and one that doesn't cost anything, was hard for Hunter and Amy to ignore.
"For him to stay here in the US was going to be very costly," says Amy. "We would have had to get federal loans and student loans because he has a very fit mind and great goals."
More than 4,600 US students are fully enrolled at Germany universities, an increase of 20% over three years. At the same time, the total student debt in the US has reached $1.3 trillion (£850 billion).
Each semester, Hunter pays a fee of €111 ($120) to the Technical University of Munich (TUM), one of the most highly regarded universities in Europe, to get his degree in physics.
Included in that fee is a public transportation ticket that enables Hunter to travel freely around Munich.
Health insurance for students in Germany is €80 ($87) a month, much less than what Amy would have had to pay in the US to add him to her plan.
"The healthcare gives her peace of mind," says Hunter. "Saving money of course is fantastic for her because she can actually afford this without any loans."
To cover rent, mandatory health insurance and other expenses, Hunter's mother sends him between $6,000-7,000 each year.
At his nearest school back home, the University of South Carolina, that amount would not have covered the tuition fees. Even with scholarships, that would have totalled about $10,000 a year. Housing, books and living expenses would make that number much higher.
The simple maths made Hunter's job of convincing his mother easy.
"You have to pay for my college, mom - do you want to pay this much or this much?"