“I feel so conflicted right now,” a friend's status read – shared along with a Trump interview on the Middle East Conflict. “He's starting to sound so sensible.”
A year ago, it seemed unlikely that Donald Trump would make it anywhere near the Oval Office. As we laughed, grimaced and often collectively hurled insults at the screen during many of his outrageous rhetoric, Americans woke up to a starkly different world in the early hours of November 9, 2016. It seemed the man with the blonde husk for hair was set to inherit Obama's legacy. As Bangladeshis at home got excited at the thought of guaranteed memes for the next four years, our friends and relatives in the “land of the free” were flocking to the Canadian immigration website. As for those who have applied to US colleges, what does this mean for you?
Don't write off higher education in the US just yet.
Beyond the incredulity surrounding the 2016 US Elections and what it would mean for the rest of the international community, it is worth pondering why Trump won. In the wake of this frenzied election, people are starting to wonder if, in fact, there are millions of pro-Trump voters. Has Donald Trump successfully mobilised previously unnoticed masses of racists and bigots?
Numbers do not lie. In truth, this election's Republican campaign brought in about a million votes less than Mitt Romney's run in 2012. Trump did not tap into some unknown voter-hideout; Clinton just failed to mobilise even half of the Democrat voters from the two Obama runs.
What does this all mean for you, dear college applicant? It means that all is not lost – the US hasn't been taken over by white supremacists (yet), and the Trump administration cannot afford to rile up the largely neutral interest groups, minority communities, and countless others.
A Trump presidency could mean an overhaul of immigration policies, but – while we can't accurately say what the effects may be on Bangladeshi students interested in higher education in the US – it is unlikely for drastically conservative policies to come up just yet. This is evident in the distinctly diplomatic tone Trump himself seems to have adopted right after his victory. He did try to sound sensible in his victory speech, and frankly managed to, to a great extent!
However, the Trump administration might possibly make immigration difficult. You just might be destined to spend the rest of your life in the sewage-soaked streets of Dhaka, gritting your teeth, as the occasional passer-by hums Bondhu tui local bus.
Mid-campaign, Trump proposed a plan to halt immigration from countries that are “compromised by terrorism”. The Dhaka Attack would officially put Bangladesh in that category. However, this supposedly applies only to immigration, not tourist or student visas. You can get back to planning that spring break road trip you've been daydreaming about since you were six.
The bottom line is perhaps this: time will tell. As long as you don't start cursing anybody in the airport in vaguely “Arabic-sounding” words, you should be fine.
Mithi Chowdhury is a dog-loving-movie-watching-mediocrity-fearing normal person. Either that or a penguin. Find out at email@example.com