Being abroad can feel isolating after U.S. election, students say

Erica Snow, Assistant Campus Editor

When Kimberly Hill went to bed in Paris on Tuesday night, the election was too close to call.

She woke up the next day to a Donald Trump victory.

Hill, a Weinberg junior, said she believes social progress occurred during President Barack Obama’s two-term presidency, but she said she is worried about what the future holds. After hearing the election results, she said she went in a hallway and cried for two hours.

“It’s definitely hard because I’m in a sorority and I’m really close to my family, and being away from those two support systems has been really challenging,” Hill said. “I got a lot of emails from different places at Northwestern, different communities I’m a part of that were like, ‘Here’s the on campus resources that we’re having,’ … and it’s been hard not to have those things.”

Luke Miller, a Weinberg senior studying abroad in Barcelona this quarter, said professors have singled him out in class to offer condolences or joke about the election. He said his professors and classmates felt sorry for him.

Miller also said he had to explain the U.S. political system to his international peers, and many were left in disbelief. One professor asked Miller’s entire class if they were doing well that day, before looking directly at him, he said.

“He turned at me and was like, ‘You’re not,’ and I’m like, ‘You got that right’,” Miller said. “One woman in front of me turned around and was like, ‘Why, what happened?’ and I was like, ‘I’m American.’”

Miller said his class spent an hour talking about Trump and U.S. politics.

Elaine Parizot, a Weinberg junior studying abroad in Copenhagen, Denmark, said Europeans would ask her to share her thoughts about the U.S. election and seemed like they had a stake in her answer.

“The economies over here are a lot smaller, especially Denmark, and depend a lot on what happens in the U.S., so they are genuinely concerned,” Parizot said.

Hill said dealing with the election results is difficult abroad because she has to rely on people she has only known for a few months instead of being surrounded by friends and family. Although she said moving abroad ultimately isn’t the solution after Tuesday’s election result, she joked that she considered staying abroad.

“I just want to see my friends and family, and I want to know that everything’s going to be OK,” Hill said. “It might not be, but it’s hard being here to find a support system. I was feeling a little homesick before. Now it’s like, ‘Well, do I really want to go back there?’”

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