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IU's international students talk changing their plans ahead of 2020 election



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Democratic U.S. presidential nominee Joe Biden speaks during a campaign stop outside Johnstown Train Station on Sept. 30, 2020, in Johnstown, Pennsylvania. Tribune News Service

With the November election looming, many students are deliberating how to cast their ballot. However, international students are experiencing all of the uncertainty and none of the vote. 

International students like senior Enerel Ganbold, who is studying online from Ulaanbaatar, Mongolia, have no say in the election that could decide many issues.

“Everything just felt so volatile and uncertain,” Ganbold said.

Ganbold had planned to stay in the United States for a couple of years after graduation, but her plans depend on the results of the election.

Ganbold is apprehensive of president Donald Trump, who has been a strong supporter of a border wall and tight immigration guidelines and is against sanctuary cities that care for immigrants, according to the Trump campaign website.

“With Trump being president, I'm just afraid of certain immigration legislation he might put up,” Ganbold said.

International students are also concerned with the president’s handling of the COVID-19 pandemic.

“You don't get the reassurance from the current administration that this is going to end soon,” said freshman Hayeon Byun, who is studying online from Seoul, South Korea.

Byun plans to study online through the spring semester, but if the pandemic is showing no signs of recovery, she will consider not attending college in the U.S. at all.

According to Democratic presidential candidate Joe Biden’s campaign website, Biden supports better treatment of immigrants and an easier path to citizenship but does not completely sway international students to stay if elected.

“You're just picking Biden to vote Trump out,” Byung said.

Ganbold said if Biden were elected, she would reconsider coming back to America, but acknowledges that Biden alone could not solve all the country’s problems.

“I don't think I'd consider an extended stay,” Ganbold said.

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