While students from 39 countries call John Brown University their college home, those allowed to vote in the upcoming election are naturally limited to citizens of the United States.
The lack of ability to actively participate does not prevent the international students from holding opinions about the political environment of their host country. Additionally, the 10 percent of the campus population who are missionary kids also have unique views of the American elections.
For senior Misha Kolemasou, the United States seems like a country where freedom of people is the most important thing.
“We Russian people say that we are free in our country, but we can do so little,” Kolemasou said. “We cannot speak negatively about our politicians, especially about Putin. In the United States, you can say what you think about your president.”
Sophomore Ethel Ilias Simon said politics in the United States are structured differently than in Honduras.
“We first select a representative to run for each of the five political parties, called Internal Elections,” Ilias Simon said. “And then a year later all citizens have to vote for any of these candidates and the one who has the majority of the votes will win the presidency.”
As for the debates, Freshmen Torleif Joensen of the Faroe Islands has been actively watching.
“I was more interested in the election while Ron Paul was active,” Joensen said. “Some of my friends and I have been long-time Ron Paul supporters, as his view on freedom is the same view as mine.”
Joensen also noted that he liked how much Americans seem to get involved with politics.
As a missionary kid from Brazil, junior Rachel Palm views political corruption in both the States and Brazil alike.
“Everyone says whatever will make them look good,” Palm said. “We do elections in Brazil as well, but you only have to be 16 to vote and it’s mandatory. You literally get fined if you don’t vote.”
Palm has had the election on her mind, but missed the deadline for absentee ballots. She also said that while she has been thinking about the election, she has not had time to watch the debates or study the issues.
“I think the election process is effective in that if we have someone we don’t like we can potentially take them out of power,” Palm said. “The idea works as long as the majority can agree on what is right for the people.”
Ilias Simon agreed.
“The process is really detailed and it seems that there is no corruption in it, unlike Latin countries where there is always corruption in it and the same politicians stay as the head of the chair.”
Kolemasou said airing the debates on TV is helpful and shows more aspects of what the candidates really stand for. This did not happen in Russia for the current president.
“I think people should be able to see their candidates in action,” Kolemasou said.
“I hope American presidents will keep doing things honestly and fight for the people,” Kolemasou added. “Perhaps other nations will see it, and it might cause them to do things honestly in their country as well.”