The U.S. Presidential Election Does Affect Me as an International Student

Disclaimer: I write this post because I want to share this experience and because I feel that people should realize just how big of a deal this election was. This post is not about any of the candidates or your political views; it’s about the election bringing negative impacts and what we can do to make things better. The U.S. presidential election is a sensitive subject and I do respect your political views and am not trying to make you change your mind. I only ask that you read this post with an open mind.

Dear coffee,

I was writing a delayed travel article when I finally shook my head and said to myself, “I can’t do it anymore”. You must know that I have been having a thought of talking about the U.S. presidential election, and each day that thought keeps coming back like a toothache that just won’t heal. Why didn’t I write about it you ask? Simply because I was scared. I am not a citizen of this country and cannot vote; apparently that made me, and other people, feel that I was supposed to just shut up.

I ignored the “itch” on my fingers to write about the U.S. presidential elections, but the more I see what’s happening around me, the more I feel the need to write. I guess it is normal. Writing is what I do, it is what I love to do, and being a blogger makes me even have the urge to speak up. Well, I guess it’s time.

“You are a foreign citizen. So, what?”

u.s_presidential_election

Yes, I am a foreign citizen, but I am also an international student living in the United States. I thought, like many did, that this election will not affect me personally due to my status as an international student. However, that opinion changed when I started to see that the atmosphere at campus had changed after the election. Students of color, both citizens and internationals, had been called out in campus areas and had been given the message that they are not welcomed. Of course only certain parties did this, but it still made me afraid of walking around my university because I fear that someone would see me and do the same. While I am greatly thankful for having such amazing and supportive friends, this should not have happened in the first place.

At the same time, emails have been flooding my inbox, all mentioning about precautions, how to report harassment, and how to give moral support to other students. Honestly, when an environment like a university (with numerous international students studying there) has to go through all this, are you still going to say that the U.S. presidential election did not affect us all? I understand that this election was to choose a president for the U.S., but believe me when I say that the effects of this election goes beyond the people of the country.

What can I do about this?
U.S. presidential election
A support rally for fellow students

Almost two weeks have passed since the election, and my friends and I do not want to be sad about it anymore. We just hope that everyone has calmed down a bit more and everyone has had the chance to accept the vote that was made. Now the question that we should ask ourselves is “what can we do?”. At moments like this, we need to show kindness more than ever. “Any act of random kindness can help even though no one is aware about it”, says one of my professor. And truthfully, I agree. Pass on acts of random kindness, you never know what it would mean to the people around you. If you don’t have any ideas yet, maybe these can help:

  • Open and hold a door for someone.
  • Great someone who passes in the hallway with a genuine smile.
  • Go and hug someone.
  • Hold the elevator door a bit longer.
  • Write an empowering quote on a sticky note and give to someone who needs it.
  • Tip big.
  • Listen to others.
  • Need more ideas? Check out Random Act of Kindness
Spread the word

This post is not something that I usually write about, but I had to say it. Isn’t that what bloggers are here for anyway? Even though this post might only reach a small number of people, I hope that this post helps anyone who reads this. The U.S. presidential election has ended; what matters now is how we choose to go from here. In the end, hating on others, no matter what their political views are, is not right. So, if anyone is reading this, please (no matter who you voted for) respect others and help create a safe environment for everyone. If you know someone who needs support, be there for them and listen. Spread more love, not hate!

Abrazos,

Bethanny

P.S.: If you want to share an experience or discuss the matter, please feel free to comment, but please do so in a manner where we all can have a peaceful and meaningful discussion 🙂

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