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The Daily Tar Heel

International Students React to U.S. Election

"The inability to punch a hole in a piece of paper fits the typical British stereotype of Americans," said Lewis, a junior political science major from England.

Several UNC international students, some more critical than others, also offered their outside perspectives regarding the Florida ballot recount and its reflection on the U.S. political system.

These students are ambivalent about U.S. integrity being jeopardized because of its inability to select a president.

"It's a very bad situation for the U.S. because they are such a big power and can't decide on a president," said Jaouad Bentaguena, a senior business major from France.

These feelings of surprise, confusion and even humor have resonated among foreign students around campus.

"I think people are chuckling a little bit, but it doesn't show frailty because the people need to make sure they choose the correct person," said Derek Cool, a sophomore from Canada.

But not all international students find the indecision amusing. "I don't think it's silly," said Ariadna Orozco, a senior business major from Mexico. "As far as I know, this is the first time it has happened in the U.S., and it's just part of the process."

Sophomore Alistair Cooper from Scotland has a more negative outlook on the election indecision.

"The U.S. is going to struggle to retain its dignity and respect," Cooper said. "They take it for granted on an international level."

Despite varied opinions on the quality of the U.S. electoral process, international students said they have a greater understanding of how it works by being here during the election and seeing the continuous media coverage.

"The fact that I am down here for an election has helped me understand more about the electoral process," Cool said.

Other international students said the election coverage has provoked questions for them. "I follow the election by the Internet because I don't have a TV," Orozco said. "I asked friends about electoral votes, and it seems like the votes of citizens don't really count, so why vote?"

Indeed, opinions regarding the two-party system and Electoral College vary.

"I think a big country like the U.S. should have more than two parties because not all the people's interests are represented," Bentaguena said.

But freshman business major Udayan Seksaria from India said, "I like the two-party system because in India, we have two main parties along with several smaller parties.

"This hurts, having a majority in the house, which is needed in government."

Bentaguena said the delayed election results reveal the nation's priorities. "This kind of big show is stupid because the public is looking for a president, not a celebrity."

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