Election Outlook From Hawks Abroad

Election Outlook From Hawks Abroad

Saint Joseph’s University Juniors: Bridget Kilgallen, Anna Garofalo, and Dylan Ferri were too young to vote in the 2012 Presidential Election. This historic election was the first year they were able to legally enter a voting booth. However, the North Atlantic Ocean and the Mediterranean Sea separated these students from their designated voting polls. These three SJU juniors would have to watch the campaigns and polls roll in from Florence, Italy.

When making the decision to live in Europe for half of their junior year, Garofalo, and Kilgallen did not factor election year into their decision at all. However, both girls felt it was important to apply for their absentee ballots. “I applied for an absentee ballot because this was the first presidential election I could vote in, and I felt this was an especially important election get my word in for.” Says Garofalo.

Ferri did not apply for his absentee ballot but wishes he was back in America for the election; he believes that he would be more interested in the election if he were home. When asked how it feels to be watching the American election abroad Ferri responds: “Weird because this is such a huge election and I am not there to experience it.” Kilgallen agrees about not being home for the election, “It would be interesting because people are saying this is the most historical election in America but at the same time, I don’t want either candidate to win.” Says Kilgallen.

Their university in Europe has hosted events for students to sign up for their absentee ballots, but other then that, students abroad need to look elsewhere to seek election information. Garofalo has been keeping close tabs on this election. “I follow the election from updates on my skim account, (a news service that sends me an email every morning from the news the day before) New York Times updates, and YouTube videos.” Kilgallen has also been getting news from The Skim and The Wall Street Journal.

When asked about the Italian media coverage of the election, Ferri does not believe the election coverage is biased in any way. Kilgallen believes that most Europeans are for Hilary Clinton. “Many Europeans ask us whom we are voting for. They things like your country is in some trouble with this election, or you better stay over here if Trump gets elected. They think it’s a joke that both candidates have made it this far.” Says Kilgallen. “I don’t watch a ton of Italian news but I did when my parents were visiting and almost all of the news stations were confused about our election. I watched a speech by Matteo Renzi (Italy’s President) who basically endorsed Hilary in his speech and said Trump would make a horrible leader.” Says Garofalo.

As these students’ semester abroad comes to a conclusion the reality of coming home to a new president elect has started to sink in. Ferri and Kilgallen are ready to leave their host countries regardless of the election outcome. “We take it for granted but we are truly so fortunate to be American citizens. Being abroad has helped me realize the endless opportunities and rights we have in the United States. So many people wish to be in our shoes and live in the USA and experience the “American Dream.” So no matter who wins, America will persevere and still be an amazing country that I am grateful to live in.”

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