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Dealing with American Politics While Studying Abroad

No matter where in Europe I am traveling to the conversations always seem to be the same. The first thing everyone asks me when I mention I am an American is, "How do you feel about Trump?"

While my opinions on this topic are fairly strong, this article will be focused on my experiences of being an American citizen under Trump’s presidency, while overseas. Living in Europe as an American can honestly be really irritating at times. Not only do we have to adjust to a new culture, but we also have to cope with all the drama happening on the other side of the world. It comes to a point where I don’t even want to tell people I am an American. I feel ashamed that the first thing that comes to people's minds when they think of our country is…the new President. Little do they know there is so much more to our country then our newly-appointed POTUS.  Most of the conversations go something like this:

European: Where are you from?

Me: The United States.

European: Oh wow, so tell me how do you feel about your new President?

Me: Well I don’t really like to talk about it, I have some time before I head back to the States so I'm just trying to enjoy myself.

European: Oh okay, but like do you agree with him? Which state are you from?

Me: I live in Virginia.

European: Oh wow so you are right next to the President…how’s that?

These conversations are honestly so painful. I try my best to avoid further questions, or to change the topic, but Trump is all anyone seems to care about anymore. Leaving before inauguration I thought I would have some time in Europe away from US politics to just enjoy my time abroad and wait for things to cool down before heading back home. However, that doesn’t seem to be the case at all. Whether a teacher is calling out all the Americans and talking about the politics back home, or a student is interested in wondering how I am dealing with the new POTUS I can never escape that question, “How do you like your new President?”

There was a time where everyone was fascinated by our country, and the opportunities we are all so fortunate to have. It’s a shame that people forget about how great our country truly is, and put all their focus on the negative aspects of our new political situation.  By getting questions from Europeans on a daily basis I am constantly reminded of what is happening back home.

As a dual citizen of the United States of America and Iran the things that are going on back home actually do impact my family and I directly. However, knowing that there isn’t much I can do to change the situation I am dealing with it like an adult and taking it day by day.

I hope people start to realize that our President does not define our country and everything it is good for. We are a country known to be ethnically diverse, with great opportunities presented for everyone. I am proud to be an American, and to have the privilege of carrying a US passport. However, I am not proud of how people around the world are viewing my country. No country is perfect; they all face their own challenges and find their way through it eventually. We have to stay strong as a country and always remember where we came from and what we stand for. We are a free country and I can only hope we remain to be so.

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Ariana Tayebi

George Mason University

George Mason University '18
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