Students abroad vote, remain up-to-date with American politics
Selena Ponio | Tuesday, November 8, 2016
Amid immersing themselves in a new culture and planning whirlwind weekend trips to other countries, students studying abroad have also been preoccupied with a topic much closer to home: the 2016 election cycle.
Anna Lyons, a junior and participant in the Toledo, Spain, program, said keeping up with the election was not that challenging since it was something she was interested in prior to studying abroad.
“The biggest challenge is it’s been harder to vote,” Lyons said. “But as far as my experience being abroad, it definitely hasn’t changed my perspective on who I’m voting for.”
Junior John Linczer, a student in the London program, said he has been following the election closely and that during his time abroad, he has realized it is not only Americans interested in this particular election. He said studying in London has made him realize how invested some foreigners are in American politics.
“I’ve found that many Londoners are eager to both share their two-cents and also get mine on the presidential election,” Linczer said. “They seem to understand the conundrum most Americans are facing with two unlikeable candidates.”
Junior Molly Knapp was an NDVotes commissioner last semester and said this provided her with the opportunity to learn more about the process of absentee voting. Currently also in the Toledo program, she said while she thought this put her at an advantage it was not until she was abroad that she became aware of the added challenges of voting overseas.
Knapp said aside from keeping up with her regular news outlets she has been keeping up with the election through another medium as well: social media.
“I think social media has definitely allowed me to keep up with maybe the more controversial aspects of this election,” Knapp said.
Junior JP Bruno, a participant in the Washington D.C. program, said election season was a factor in his decision to study away from campus. He said taking an American political journalism class this semester led to a lot of thought-provoking discussion about the election.
“Everything is so politicized here,” Bruno said. “It’s definitely tense, but I haven’t been able to compare that to how it is in other parts of the country. It gets brought up in every conversation and it’s impossible to escape.”
Knapp said being abroad during a presidential election provided her with the opportunity to look at both candidates through a more international lens. She said living with a host family has provided her with the opportunity to get an idea of what foreigners thought of both candidates and how the results of the election could affect not only America, but other countries as well.
“In regards to keeping up with the election abroad I think it has given me a different perspective especially when talking with my host family here in Toledo,” she said. “Their opinions about it and the way international relations would change if either candidate was elected has definitely been interesting.”