The last weeks have been a complex mix of emotions and experiences, and to be perfectly honest, I have been putting off writing a blog post. The different things I have gone through and felt were almost too big and too personal to encapsulate in a post, also there was the usual extreme busyness. However, the last 24 hours have struck me and they really are some that I want to document. So, from 2AM onwards in one of the day rooms of the college, the incoming results of the American Presidential election were streamed. I woke at around 3AM, and went in my pyjamas in the biting night air to another residence, only planning to stay for an hour or so. Anybody reading this will doubtless know the result of the election and the new President of the United States, and there is no point describing the progression of the night in terms of states and electoral points. However, it was simply amazing to be in that room with a bunch of sleepy teenagers (and a teacher) from all over the world who really cared, each with their own country’s perspectives, whilst watching Donald Trump become the President of the USA. Frankly, I am terrified by what has taken place, but being here has made me recognise a hope I didn’t before see. At around 6.30, still not having slept, I went and watched the sun rise over the Adriatic sea, which was beautiful to say the least. And this hope lay in the voice of my American co-year, who, although crying in our lessons, still believed that it is now up to the American people to mend what they can and go forward from this day with the same ideals of liberty and democracy. A hope I saw in my Colombian co-year when Colombia voted no to the Farc peace deal, yet she still believed in a peaceful future. We had an interesting discussion during History class today about the future of America, and I also realised how quick we are, when in a bubble, to blame the Trump voters, the Brexiters, the ignorant, racist masses. I remember my reaction to Brexit – aggressive Facebook posts of desolation and, to be honest, blame. And the discussion today helped me realise that when in bubbles- whether it be the bubble of Cambridge or the bubble of the lefty, liberal UWC – we blame. But the way forward is to understand why these anti-establishment votes have occurred: who do people feel left behind by the government? Who has voted for Trump because they have suffered?
I really feel grateful right now to be in such an interesting place, with such interesting people who are becoming so close and important to me. Although I do not know what will happen with the next two years of Trump presidency, I am glad to experience them here, surrounded by people who want to make change, each in their own way. And I hope that the United States can move forward from this united: helping and looking out for each other.
I guess this is the idealistic UWCism I sort of expected would happen when I came here, but I promise you its not ridiculous idealism – it’s the subtle one I see in the faces of the people around me every day.