Image Credits: AP Photo
Everyone has heard about the the ongoing protests around the country in response to President Trump taking office; however, how much do we really know about what citizens in other countries think?
I spoke to Haley, an undergraduate student studying international business. She is currently studying abroad at Webster University in Leiden, located in South Holland. As many college campuses are, Webster University is predominantly liberal. As inauguration day got closer, her fellow classmates began to boldly speak their mind about the issues. Being a conservative, she was the odd one out and because “Trump supporters are so rare here,” she agreed to be interviewed by a Dutch radio station. This lead to disagreement and opened her eyes to American politics in Europe. Here’s what she had to say.
What do you think Holland’s views of America is at the moment?
“Not that I speak for all of the Netherlands, but overall I have not met any conservative Dutch people. They take President Trump as a joke. I see the Netherlands as a progressive country concerned with climate change, which is weird because a ton of Dutch people smoke and it is so common here.”
Are there or have there been any protests in the area? If so, what were they protesting?
“Yes. Actually a ton of protests have occurred in Amsterdam since I’ve arrived. I get emails from the U.S. Consulate that warn me to stay away from the areas of demonstrations if they have received notifications of them taking place. One was for the Women’s March and another is taking place tomorrow evening protesting President Trump’s executive order limiting immigration from certain countries.”
Below are several of the warnings Haley has received.
What seems to be the biggest issue Europeans have with America and/or Trump?
“One of the biggest issues that I am actually studying in one of my classes right now is Climate Change. This seems to be a large area of concern for Europeans. One of my instructors vehemently dislikes Trump and makes it clear by his biased lectures, even though the instructor is British. American politics seems to be a topic of discussion for all of Europe. It’s strange how much people from other countries know about the United States and its political system.”
Have any natives tried to persuade your views?
“No natives have tried to persuade my views and I am grateful for that. After doing an interview with a Dutch national radio station during the inauguration, I talked with the people conducting the interview afterwards and they respected my opinions and views of the matter. It was refreshing to me that they politely saw my side of things and refrained from passing judgment, which is not at all the response I received from two fellow Americans and Webster classmates that I had the pleasure of meeting through the interview. They were extreme liberals who I felt did not respect me or my opinions at all.”
Do you notice any relative differences between European politics vs. American politics?
“I am not very involved with European politics at all, but I hope to learn a lot more about the political systems of countries here while I have the opportunity to be here. I know that the Netherlands have a king and not much more than that. I will say that it’s surprising to me that not a lot of patriotism is shown in comparison to the U.S. I don’t like making generalizations but it seems that America as a whole is more patriotic than European countries.”
What do you miss most about America as an entirety?
“I love America. I miss the sense of American pride and patriotism. I miss seeing American flags everywhere. I miss my family and friends (and dogs). I miss going to church. I miss English.”