My Experience With The 2012 Presidential Election While Abroad

Each morning I frantically wake up checking the web for any and every bit of election news. Keeping up with this years election isn’t as feasible as it was in 08 because of one thing… I’m abroad! I know you’re probably reading this and saying please I should be happy I’m away from the media circus regarding the election, but the absence of American media in my daily life here has made me feel “out of the loop” at times.

Since I arrived here in Madrid, it’s been a hassle to keep up with election news. The time difference being the biggest reason, traveling through Europe leaves me little to no time to really check for updates, and also the semi irrelevance to Spaniards doesn’t make it any easier.

This past month I stayed up for the first presidential debate that came on at 3am here in Madrid. Like everyone else in the States, I was excited because it was the first time President Obama and Mitt Romney were on the same stage together and debating key issues. The debate lasted two hours and with analysis coverage another hour. Before you knew it, it was 6 am and I had to be up for class in an hour. Was it worth it? Not at all! I had 4 classes, had to tutor my kids, all with no time to come home and nap. Another reason for the sake of not making this blog biased.

But anyways, keeping up with coverage of the election has not only been a problem for me, but also for other American students. We all find ourselves behind on news. Like most college students we depend on social media more so to update us on news rather than traditional sources. But with data plans not at our leisure here, we can’t even depend on those.

What we find ourselves doing is just watching news updates when we get to Internet or when it comes to debates, we watch them on YouTube the next day. For me this isn’t ideal because I would like to know or see things as soon as they happen. Timeliness is important to me, but its just one of the things that I have to deal with here.

Today is Election Day and most students here have plans to watch the election results tonight as they come in. The news of the next President of The United States will likely be announced around 5 am Wednesday for us. I plan to stay up all night to watch election results come in even though I have two midterms with a full day of classes starting at 9am tomorrow. Yes, it’s that serious! This is the first election where I was able to cast a ballot. One that is very important when it comes to my future as a student and post grad. There is certainly a lot at stake for this election so why wouldn’t I want to participate in this? It’s important that we all exercise our right to vote and be the change that we want to see in our country. Voting is our voice and a reflection of the direction we want to move towards. So speak up and speak out by voting.  Like the old saying goes, “A close mouth doesn’t get fed”.

By: Kelvin Sherman