Valgår i USA præger samtalerne i danske værtshjem

Til november 2016 er der præsidentvalg i USA. Igennem hele 2016 bliver valget dækket tæt – også her i Danmark. Mange af vores danske værts- og besøgsfamilier benytter muligheden til at lære mere om amerikansk politik ved at diskutere valgkampen med deres DIS-studerende. Det kan være lærerigt for vores danske familier at høre mere om baggrunden for, hvorfor amerikanerne stemmer som de gør. Vi har taget en snak med tre DIS-studerende, der alle bor hos en værtsfamilie for at høre ind til de samtaler, de har med deres værtsfamilier om det amerikanske præsidentvalg.


Hi all! So, you’ve all enjoyed talks and discussions about the upcoming US election with your host family. Tell us more about that.

Jenny: “My host dad loves talking about U.S. politics, whether it’s at the dinner table, or when we watch Danish news together. This is so refreshing because my parents back home never really kept up with current events. During primary days/debate nights, our dinner conversations are lively with our election predictions and reactions towards Trump’s most recent comments (both of us find Trump’s campaign worrisome and appalling).”

Beau: “My host family seems to be interested in US government for the novelty and antics. They are particularly enraptured by Donald Trump and Bernie Sanders. My host family often asks me if I think Trump will win, and if so, what will happen. I think they are often curious about what kind of people are voting and how they will vote. I’ve explained the attraction of younger voters to Bernie Sanders and Hilary Clinton, and they attraction of some young voters to Donald Trump.”

Justin: “I have had some discussions with my family about the US election. I am quite interested in this year’s election partially because it’s the first time I will vote in a presidential election, but also because I think there are some issues being brought up that really haven’t been talked about before in a presidential election. There is talk of universal health care, college affordability, and reducing income inequality on a level that is quite promising for our country’s future. However, my Danish host family is interested in the US election for only one reason: Donald Trump. You can’t blame them; Trump dominates media coverage and it would be nearly impossible not to follow his name in the news. When I arrived, one of the first things my family asked me was whether Trump actually had supporters. His views were so ludicrous to them that they couldn’t believe people were actually voting for him.”

Do you discuss the US election more here in Denmark than if you had been in the States? And what do you find particular interesting about discussing the election with Danes?

Beau: “I have definitely discussed the election more here, than I have in the states. But that may just be because the primaries have started. Some of the questions they ask indicate a misunderstanding of the United States election process and government. But they are very open to me explaining the concepts. I think they view the US election as a sort of theatre, which is not much different from how we view it ourselves. They elections are… decisive, but quite grandiose and often not indicative of the direction a politicians term of office will be.”

Jenny: “As a Political Science and Economics double major at Grinnell College, my interests in current events and the U.S. election have come in handy when conversing with Danes. One of the most common questions I get asked is “What’s going on with America and Donald Trump?”
Since I’m a registered Democrat and Bernie supporter, it’s also exciting to hear my host dad’s opinions on how a Scandinavian-inspired economy would work in the States. My host dad is registered with the Venstre Party of Denmark, but he said he would be a Democrat in the States. This is largely due to the progressive platform of the Democratic Party; he doesn’t understand why the US has such lax gun control policies as well as restrictions on a woman’s right to choose.
My host family and I have also been able to have honest conversations about the impact of a welfare state, the refugee crisis, and Denmark’s position in the EU amongst many other topics. Sometimes we agree to disagree, but I love how open-minded all of our conversations are. It’s a humbling and privileged position that I’m in, to be able to comparatively analyze the U.S. government and election process while abroad. I certainly treasure the more worldly perspective towards U.S. policies I’ve gained since arriving to Denmark.”

Justin: “We discusses the election a reasonable amount when I first arrived, but definitely less than I would discuss with my family in the US. We have nice discussions following dinner, when we sit sometimes for an hour after the meal just to chat. Generally we agree on most issues, since I am obviously a left-leaning voter, but the one issue that we had some disagreements on was immigration. Given the refugee crisis in Europe, my family and Danish citizens in general have more conservative views on immigrants, and don’t know why we would offer a path to citizenship for illegal immigrants. It’s actually quite nice to discuss because my family isn’t worried about being politically correct like people in the US would be.”

Har du selv lyst til at blive værtsfamilie for en amerikansk DIS-studerende, når spændingen for alvor stiger i efteråret 2016, kan du skrive dig op her:

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