Illinois State International Students Voice Opinions On Presidential Election

This story was written by Sam Schild, The Daily Vidette


This Tuesday the presidential campaign will be over. November 4 will be the end of a two year campaign for Barack Obama and John McCain.

With this end, Americans can finally turn on the television and hear about something else besides Joe the Plumber, Bridges to Nowhere, ACORN and economic policies.

Illinois State University students may think they have heard it all about this election. Between television, the Internet, and conversations they may think they have heard every opinion they could possibly have heard. But there is one more that most students probably have not considered: the opinion of the rest of the world.

Although non-citizens cannot vote on Tuesday, this does not mean the international community does not have strong opinions about who they think should become the next president of the United States of America.

Eight international students were asked there opinions on the upcoming election, and all of their opinions were overwhelmingly in favor of Barack Obama being the next U.S. president.

Stefan Goranovic, a senior journalism major, is from Serbia. When asked who he felt was the better presidential candidate Goranovic said, "of course, Obama."

"I think the American foreign policy needs to change [especially] towards less developed countries, and not just start wars for no reason," Goranovic said.

Foreign policy was said to be the most important issue to most international students interviewed, understandably so.

Andy Sung, a senior economics major from Taiwan, said, "I don't want another George [W.] Bush [so I am for Obama]."

Sung then pulled up a world map compiled by economist.com titled Global Electoral College, a hypothetical map in which the whole world can vote using the American Electoral College system. This map showed what Sung said, "the world wants Obama [to win]," every country but three was blue.

Heilyn Rodriguez, a junior communications major from Costa Rica, supports Obama because, "He's more open [to other groups of people] and he has better social ideas."

Eunmin Seo, an English major from Korea, has only been in the U.S. for three months.

"I think Obama is better. [A black American president] can change the world."

When Ryosuke Kawai, a junior business major from Japan, was asked about the presidential election, he said, "What surprised me [about the American political system] was how the mass media has so much power. In Japan the mass media cannot critique politicians [like they can in America]." Kawai also said he "is impressed by Obama's attitude."

Nathalie Waffelaert, a senior business major from France, has issues with the American political system as well.

"I am for Obama. I don't like republicans, [even though] in France I am for the right party. The Democratic Party [in America] is closer [to my beliefs]. Republicans are too extreme," Waffelaert said.

There are some international students who do not engage themselves in American politics.

Milan Vujinovic, a junior physics major from Serbia, is this way.

"I am a little bit for Obama if I could actually vote I would have been more interested [in the presidential race] [but] I didn't really collect a lot of information on the candidates [because of this]," Vujinovic said.

The major issues that international students seemed to be most interested in were those related to economic and foreign policy. There are not many reasons for someone who is not a permanent resident in a country to have strong stances on the social issues of that country, but American economic and foreign policy issues do affect he rest of the world.

Pierre-Alexandre Feuillet, a senior business management major from France, is interested in the presidential election primarily because of economic issues.

"Economically [the United States] is not good, [it] needs change. After eight years of Bush it was really bad, so maybe it's time for change," Feuillet said.

As Feuillet concluded his response he said, "change we can believe in," one of Barack Obama's many slogans.

Although they cannot vote and are not directly affected by many policies of American presidents, international community members and students generally think it is time for a change in America. This is just one more thing to take into account come this Tuesday as Americans enter the voting booth.
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