How this years elections look from an exchange students perspective

My name is Yuting. I am from China. I am an exchange student from the University of Nottingham Ningbo China. This is my first time living in the U.S. However since I studied in an international British University in my home country, I have met many foreigners including Americans. Due to this, I have been able to learn about American culture from them and they have started to understand Chinese culture from us. During the communication, I found that there are usually biases and stereotypes between the two countries, which gives different perspectives on social events. Take for example the presidential election in America looks very different from someone not from this country.

In America, all adult citizens have the right to vote for the presidential candidate, however in China, we can only vote for NPC members (Deputy to the people’s congress), and then the NPC members vote for the president. Once when I was in the student union I saw staff encouraging UConn students to vote for the presidential election. One student worker came up to me, smiled and asked,” Hi! Do you want to vote for the presidential election?” and I said,” I would love to but I am not a U.S. citizen.” This really impressed me a lot because here voting is so approachable to everyone, which is not that common in China. Normal people usually don’t find it easy to vote for NPC members, let alone the chairman.

I found it interesting that Americans don’t take important things seriously. On the airplane to America, I read a newspaper titled, “Which is more important: football or presidential debates?” The moment I saw the title I laughed because in China no one would put a football game before the presidential debates. I guess here in the states, people are either deeply in love with football or not that interested in politics. However this topic also shows that Americans can freely choose what they want to do and behave the way they want (should it be legal of course). Just like Trump can use his humorous language to belittle and attack his competitors by saying things like “‘little’ Michael Bloomberg, who never had the guts to run for president, knows nothing about me.”

Sometimes seeing this American election can be really confusing to us foreigners because of the selection between Hilary Clinton and Donald Trump. Trump seems too aggressive and ridiculous sometimes. He uses dirty words in public spaces, beating other competitors by humiliation and revealing their unmoral secrets, or by giving an extreme solution to immigration problems, such as building a wall at the border of Mexico. Hilary on the other hand, changes her political insights all the time and she seems to be boring to the public.

In my view, a president of the country should be modest and calm. While Americans favor an extreme in politicians, they don’t want an uptight and calm leader, but rather a president who comes up with irrational solutions. The process of selecting a president of the country seems to be a farce. It is hard to imagine how these two extreme candidates will shape the future of the United States, and eventually, how can the world’s strongest country change the world?

This is just my opinion and experience in America about the presidential election. Overall, it is very democratic and takes quite a long time, and I definitely see the eloquent and aggressive side of Americans. It makes politics more vivid than in some other countries but it can also be ridiculous sometimes because the shortcoming of candidates is so obvious. Sometimes you doubt if he or she is capable of ruling the country while also having no other options but to vote for one of them.


Editors note: Yuting Liu is an exchange student from the University of Nottingham Ningbo China. She contributed her thoughts on the current presidential election as part of our international column focused on American politics.