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An American Election Abroad

Part two: “Everyone burst out crying”

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With the inauguration of Barack Obama just days away, we thought we’d look back to the night he was elected — with a twist. Hundreds of Boston University study-abroad students spent November 4, 2008, on foreign soil watching American history unfold. In cities across Europe, they awaited the results along with milllions of people who had no say in the contest but nevertheless were glued to a television during an an all-night party withAmerica as its theme.

London pubs became American-style “bars,” servinghot dogs and Budweiser. Posh Geneva hotels featured country music andmechanical bulls. Televisions from Dresden to Madrid were tuned to CNNfrom the moment the polls started closing (around midnight in mostcities) until Obama was declared the winner, shortly before dawn.

And while almost half of all U.S. voters (46 percent) checked theirballot for John McCain, there seemed to be no such political split inObama-crazy Europe. Despite the tongue-in-cheek nature of the“America” conjured up by overseas entertainment spots, the BU studentswho took part in the festivities say Europeans were as interested inthe election’s outcome as any American they know.

“Everyone I talked to, I wouldn’t say envied the American system, butloved it,” says Dan Weber (CAS’09), who spent last semester interningfor a member of the British Parliament in London. Click next to the photos below to hear six BU students talk about their election-night experiences in Europe. On January14, BU Today featured group election stories from BU study-abroad students.

Chris Berdik can be reached at cberdik@bu.edu.

Amy SchweikertAmy Schweikert (CAS’09)

Geneva

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Tara Lee VaughnTara Lee Vaughn (SAR’10)

Geneva

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Gabriela FishGabriela Fish (CAS’09)

Madrid

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Laura CarpenterLaura Carpenter (CFA’10)

London

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Deanna CirinoDeanna Cirino (CFA’10)

London

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Daniel WeberDaniel Weber (CAS’09)

London

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2 Comments

2 Comments on An American Election Abroad

  • Anonymous on 01.16.2009 at 12:37 pm

    Thank you everyone. That was really nice to hear about what was going on in other parts of the world that night. It is exciting to know your experiences. Great!

  • Anonymous on 01.24.2009 at 5:32 pm

    hmm BU has so many abroad programs, though, and you pick three from london (all of whom went to pubs)..? There could have been more of an effort to reach out to other programs. And it would have been nice to hear more about the lead up to the elections, not just the night of… Still, nice idea.

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