International students share their views of politics

Marissa Mendel

With the upcoming presidential race and yesterday’s primary election, American politics are everywhere. Even in other parts of the world.

“It seems to me that many individuals from other cultures are aware more-so of American politics than Americans realize,” said Amy Bode, immigration compliance specialist in the Office of International Affairs.

Boryana Dzhambazova, visiting scholar from Bulgaria, said European media are interested in United States’ foreign policy.

“The United States is a world leader,” Dzhambazova said. “I think everywhere in the world, people pay attention to American politics. Especially right now with the presidential race and the primaries.”

Samuel Tekpetey, technology graduate student, said elections in his home country of Ghana are held around the same time as elections in America, which adds to how much people pay attention to U.S. politics.

“People are following them closely,” Tekpetey said. “America is the eye of the world and everyone looks up to America.”

While the United States only has two major parties, many countries have several. Tekpetey said that’s the major difference between politics here and in Ghana.

“Supporters of political parties sometimes get into fights just because of opposing opinions. Sometimes there’s a little violence. Over here, you wouldn’t see supporters of Republicans fighting against the Democrats,” Tekpetey said.

Shirley Ng, sophomore fashion merchandising exchange student from Hong Kong, said she doesn’t think people follow U.S. politics in her home country.

“We don’t focus so much on American politics,” Ng said. “We focus much on our own politics.”

Julie Mazzei, assistant professor of political science said that our campaign season is commonly viewed as long with a lot of money incorporated in it.

“In a lot of other countries, your campaign time is limited,” Mazzei said.

From her experiences traveling, Mazzei said she learned some Cubans believe that their system is more democratic than ours because it doesn’t revolve around finances as much.

“Their impression is our system is more influenced by the wealthy,” Mazzei said.

Another difference is our Electoral College.

“You really have to win the Electoral College. You don’t have to win the popular vote,” Mazzei said. “That definitely makes our system different.”

Mazzei said she thinks that can be confusing to people from other nations, and Dzhambazova agrees.

“For me, your system is complicated,” Dzhambazova said. “Basically in Bulgaria, we just have the popular vote, we don’t have Electoral College and delegates. I think it’s more simple.”

Contact international affairs reporter Marissa Mendel at [email protected].