It has been a pretty exciting week.
After a very lazy weekend and feeling like I needed to do something, since after all I do live in Ireland, one of my roommates and I decided to go on a tour of the Burren and the Cliffs of Moher. Even though we had to get up at 8 am on a Sunday and it was freezing outside (literally, it was 32F…) and of course, its western Ireland, it was raining! Regardless, it was actually a really good tour. Dublin Tour Company has deals for students so we’re able to buy one ticket and go on tours of Connemara and the Cliffs of Moher as often as we want, which is a deal, and the tour guides are always informed and entertaining.
Then of course, there were was the US presidential election.
It was interesting viewing things from Ireland’s perspective, and Europe in general. People here love Obama. I mean LOVE. I’m used to being around politics and having involved debates over political ideals as an International Affairs major in Washington, DC, but you usually have a good mixture of opinions and a whole lot of passion when it comes to those debates. I’m not however being used to having people randomly ask me who I voted for or if I’m a Republican or Democrat as soon as they find out I’m American. Not that I mind exactly, I loved talking about politics with people who are somewhat removed from the debate (although the campaign and election were followed closely by the news here and as the US is such a big power people are invested in who wins, regardless of whether they’re US citizens or not). It was just overwhelming how much people love Obama in Europe and Ireland!
I’m taking a few political science classes at NUIG and I love them. One of them is a large lecture class on European Politics, but my professor really knows how to make things relatable to students, especially international students, and regularly brings up America as an example or as something to compare a case study. It’s kind of fascinating viewing how Europeans see us, especially since I always had this idea that Europeans thought all Americans were loud and fat and patriotic and a little stupid. Yes, they do think we’re loud (and that’s not really a stereotype because in general we actually just talk louder) and we are definitely very patriotic especially compared to many European countries, and maybe they think all of those other things but aren’t going to tell us. But they by no means hate us. They know a lot about us. They watch almost all of the same movies and television shows we watch, their news has a regular section on America, and they keep up with our current affairs much better than a lot of Americans do. If an Irish person came to America they would probably be much more culturally comfortable than any American is coming to Ireland because they just know more about us than we know about them.
In general Europeans tend to pay more attention to the political activity of other countries. This makes sense since they’re geographically close to several other nations that they constantly interact with and are part of the EU with and share currency and open borders. They also seem to know more about even South America or Eastern Europe or Asia’s political activities as well though. I’m a little biased since I’m around a lot of political science majors here, but it’s still pretty evident that most average Irish people are more internationally aware than most Americans. Maybe it’s because Ireland is a small country population and border wise and because they’re geographically and politically connected/reliant on more countries than the US is, but I wish more US citizens would take on this mindset of reading up on current affairs. It’s something I definitely plan on taking home with me and spreading!