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UA students recount election reactions from abroad

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J. Conrad Williams, Jr. | The Daily Wildcat President-elect Donald Trump speaks to supporters at the Election Night Party at the Hilton Midtown Hotel in New York City on Wednesday, Nov. 9, 2016. (J. Conrad Williams Jr./Newsday/TNS)

Since election night, the country has watched protesters take to the streets in opposition of President-elect Donald Trump. The results of the election came as a shock not only to the country, but to the rest of the world.

Dana Willis, a family studies and human development junior studying abroad in Alcalá de Henares, Spain. She said people have been talking about the election since she arrived in Alcalá de Henares at the start of the semester.

“In general, my Spanish friends, families and professors considered Hillary Clinton the obvious choice,” Willis said. “There were a lot of questions about why Donald Trump was even an option.”

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Annie Nguyen, a nutritional sciences junior, experienced similar sentiments in Nottingham, England leading up to the night of the election.

“Most think the debates are quite entertaining and funny, but they became more serious and worried about the election as the final day drew closer,” Nguyen said.

Corie Linn, a junior studying Spanish , is studying abroad in Viña del Mar, Chile. She said there's been a lot of negative emotion towards the election.

“The people here in Chile, from my point of view, have clearly wanted Hillary,” Linn said. “Not because they liked her, but because they don’t like Trump.”

Once the results came in on election night, both Nguyen and Willis noticed a change in news coverage.

The Spanish news coverage of what's happening in the U.S. is constant, according to Willis. News crews even arrived at her institution to capture the responses of American students.

“Trump is now everywhere,” Nguyen said. “In London, he's on billboards. In Ireland, he's on the café advertising boards outside the shops. On buses people discuss the election and what they think Trump will do.”

In Chile, Linn said people are constantly coming up to her and the group of Americans at the university she attends. People ask Linn and other American students if they want to stay in Chile forever, and how could Americans be so stupid?

“I have encountered a variety of these questions since the election has passed,” Linn said. “Everyone has gone on to live their lives just as before, but it's as if everyone is sitting on the edge of their seats waiting for the world to end.”

Nguyen explained how the University of Nottingham is a major international hub of students. Since attending classes, she has gained perspectives from not only the British, but people from Singapore, Indonesia, Germany, Poland, Belgium and Italy. She said her international friends are worried about Trump’s impact on international relations.

“Like Brexit, Trump is so unpredictable, so the main consensus is that they are all curious to see what he will do in these next four years,” Nguyen said.

Linn also attends a university with international students from 10 other countries. She explained how every single one of them knew about the election. They discuss American politics and how the decisions of the U.S. will affect them.

“This experience has allowed me to see the bigger picture,” Linn said. “It made me realize how important our decisions are as a country. When America isn't united, the rest of the world can see that, and it makes them nervous.”

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Nguyen said how certain aspects of being in England have made her proud to be an American. The efficiency and the opportunities offered in America have made Nguyen look at it in a better light.

“Being here has made me appreciate the diversity we’ve been exposed to and all the cultures we are able to get a taste of, compared to people living in other European or Asian countries,” Nguyen said. “But—and this isn’t necessarily new because there's always been certain issues that I don't like about America—it's solidified my frustration with how we’ve handled key issues.”

After living in a different country during this election cycle, Linn, Nguyen and Willis all say their views on America have changed in some way.

“It has been interesting to learn about what people in other countries assume about Americans,” Willis said. “Some would say we care most about money and power instead of people and family. I love America, but I do wish we cared more about learning other cultures, languages and ways of life.”


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