The University of Iowa

Extranjeros Después de La Elección

November 11th, 2016

By Elly Martens*

The election sparked a lot of animosity among the Gringos, and I fully support this creative outlet to protest peacefully!

When you are in a foreign country, you walk around with wide eyes, comparing this and that between your host country and your home country, you realize the flaws of your host country and your home country, you defend your host and home country from the ridiculous stereotypes…  This election has been a roller coaster from the get go, and walking around the streets of Santiago on November 9th gave me that sort of nauseous feeling in the pit of my stomach.

Maybe it was because I had stayed awake till the wee hours of the morn, to find that Trump is now our President-Elect, or maybe it was the sopayo italiano from the night before.  Either way, I thought it was a dream.  It wasn’t really until my host mom came into my room and asked me if I’d heard the news, that Donald Trump will be the 45th president of the United States, that it became real.

My Chilean friend, Pilar, texted me, asking if I had voted.

A lot of the students in the CIEE program were watching the election unfold, and were commenting in our group-chat, apologizing for the outcome of their states, some even saying they were ashamed.  And this made me upset.  Even though Iowa went red, I shouldn't feel like I have to apologize for where I'm from or what school I go to in the States.  That's not the kind of mindset we should have while representing our country, abroad.  People in my program are proud to be Americans and I am as well.

So I wore my University of Iowa shirt loud and proud, November 9th.  In response to all of the “¡¿Qué pasó?!”s that I received:  “Democracía.”  Yes, our upcoming president has sparked quite the conversation in the States and abroad, but our country voted the way it did and that’s that.  All Americans, especially those abroad, need to represent their country in the most honorable, and respectable way possible.  Even if we don’t agree with Trump’s ideals and his plan for our future, we can’t let that taint the way we represent the United States of America.

In Chile, the garbage-disposal personnel are on a non-violent strike, just leaving the trash where it is. I think Americans (both home and abroad) can take some notes!

After the election, a few of the students in my program made “Love Trumps Hate” shirts.  I thought that was a really good way to voice their opinion on the matter, while not running around Santiago spewing aggressive and hateful rhetoric everywhere.  When I look on Facebook and Snapchat and whatever other social media, I’m seeing a lot of “Now we fight” and “He’s not my president,” and I just want to remind people that the American populous voted, Trump won, and now we continue to represent the States as we would have a month ago, or a year ago, or a decade ago.  Feel free to exercise our first amendment rights, but remember you’re a representative of our country, not our president.

So whether you were for or against Trump throughout this election, try not to let hateful rhetoric fuel your protests.  Hateful and violent protests don’t do much besides spark more hate and violence, and that’s not what America stands for.  That’s not how I want to represent my country.

*Elly Martens is studying biomedical engineering with a minor in Spanish at the University of Iowa. The Lindenhurst, Illinois, native is spending her semester at Universidad de Chile as part of the CIEE Liberal Arts Program in Santiago, Chile

Student blog entries posted to this International Accents page may not reflect the opinions and recommendations of UI Study Abroad and International Programs.  The blog is intended to give students a forum for free expression of thoughts and experiences abroad in a respectful space.