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What the SU means to me personally

By a KU student on 22. May 2012, 15:05.

Thanks to the SU, I'm studying - at least part time - at KU. I'm 27 years old, married to a non-European Union-citizen and fighting with depression and general anxiety (I've just "celebrated" my 10th anniversary suffering from these). Neither of my parents have more money than just to survive/live themselves and my husband being from a 3rd world country, his only surviving parent is only eating and taking her medicine thanks to the economical support from her children.

After graduating from high school at 18 and until my husband and I could apply for and get permission to stay together here in Denmark when I was 24 (we met when I went abroad after high school to learn a foreign language and do some voluntary work) I have been working hard when not going abroad to spend some months with my husband and, none the less, when I could find a job - mostly in nurseries, kindergartens and schools. Unfortunately I got seriously ill (a break down) from my last job, so I know studying and with time finding a quite different kind of job is my only possibility.
Because of my situation I'm not able to study full-time and in no way able to work while studying. My husband having a minimum wage job is as far as we can hope for the moment (the financial crisis and him still learning Danish). If I were not to receive SU one of the following would happen:
1: I would have to take study loans for the rest of my studies and here we could easily be talking about at least 6 or 7 six years more (I'm theoretically in my 2nd year but 5 exams behind the normal schedule - that is IF I pass the two exams I'm taking this summer). At top of our loan in the bank (to get permission most people have to buy an apartment) we would then have hundreds of thousands more to pay off with only me working as my husband also needs/wants to study.
2: I would have to stop studying without being able to actually work more than maybe 5 days a month and without being able to receive another kind of economical support because of my age and because I don't want to lose my husband's permission to be with me in Denmark. (For those wondering: I tried living with my husband in his country for a year but it was too difficult for me, partly because of the depression and anxiety. Anyway I would also have to work there so it wouldn't really change anything).

So receiving SU while studying means so much to me - it gives me the possibility to maybe find something that I can do (without getting ill!) later in life and gives me some extra time to sort things out in my on-going struggle to get well. And all that while being able to be with the man I love.
Without it I would only get worse all the time because of increasing economical problems, and/or not being able to study what I like and not being able to be with my husband

This is of course my personal history/situation but I know that thousands of other students have similar or different problems/circumstances in their lives that makes the SU essential for their present and future lives.

And do you really think it is fair that people like me - for fighting diseases and difficulties, for falling in love with someone the politicians don't like because of prejudices and maybe racism, for not having rich parents etcetera - should not be able to study?
I, at least, do not think that.

So please remember students like me when you talk and write about spoiled and lazy students and cutting the SU. If you're a student yourself and don't know of any problems whatsoever that aren't manageable, rejoice in your good fortune! But please don't judge those of us who for some or other reason don't have lives that easy.

Finally, the fact that many Danish students aren't getting paid a salary beside their SU doesn't mean that they're just happily drinking coffee/beer and watching tv/browsing the internet when not studying. As I remember at least around 40-50 % of students in Denmark have a voluntary job beside their studies which brings the students experience and meaning, and bring help to those who otherwise wouldn't receive any. This is a central part of the Danish civil society. When the Danish Chamber of Commerce talks about students wasting money and time, have they thought about the value of that voluntary work? I guess not, because it is so much easier just to talk about the spoiled and lazy youth ("Everything was so much better in my days!" etcetera etcetera).


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