What do non-U.S. citizens have to say about Trump?

Photo: DonaldJTrump.com

Photo: DonaldJTrump.com

I traveled to Iceland this summer to study abroad, and was overwhelmed by the number of people bringing up the T-word to me.  We were warned that some Icelanders, particularly if drunk, might confront us about our association with Trump.  Although we experienced no hostility on that subject, here are a few of the comments I heard from the friends I met abroad who wanted to talk about the U.S. Presidential Election:

An Icelander: “With Trump in America and Putin in Russia, no one is safe, not even in Iceland.  It scares me.”

A German: “I just don’t understand how anyone could support Trump.  He is so stupid.”

A Nigerian: “Please tell me you will vote for Hillary.”

A Croatian: “It is just crazy that Americans are considering Trump.  In Croatia, maybe we can imagine such a crazy election—but in America?  Nobody can understand it.”

Members of my group heard similar comments from French, Indian, and Australian travelers in Reykjavik.  It surprised me how large of a stage our Presidential Election has globally. Not only was everyone talking about it, everyone was concerned.  They were as worried as I was (am) for their own safety and the safety of their respective homelands.

Of course none of the conversations represented here can speak for their entire nations, and I know that there are plenty of Americans who would tell me that these opinions are irrelevant because it is our election and not theirs.  But if so many different people from different places can agree that someone is not the right leader for the US or for the welfare of the entire world, what is stopping so many American citizens from realizing the same thing?

I know this information won’t convince any Trump supporters to change their vote. I wouldn’t expect anyone to change a vote based on the way that I report how a bunch of strangers feel about it.  I do think, though, that this was the most striking thing about my experience as an American abroad for the first time, and that we have a lot to learn about the prominence of U.S. election theatrics across borders.

Kaitlyn Shirey (She/Her/Hers) is 20 years old, and currently studying Creative Writing and Mathematics at Chatham University.  She has previously been published in The Doctor T.J. Eckleburg Review.