The #linguamarina Question: Should International Students Fear Trump’s Presidency?

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We at Mediolana take a special interest in the intersection between technology and education, and for a long time we have been mystified at the sheer paucity of compelling highered commentators who utilise social media skilfully. However, this chasm is beginning to be filled, and the excellent linguamarina brand – headed up by a Russia-born, Germany-educated and America-resident entrepreneur named, appropriately, Marina Mogliko – is rapidly becoming one of our favourites. In particular, linguamarina’s YouTube videos are an excellent source of information and discussion points from a unique-but-relatable perspective.

In a recent video (PROTESTS IN THE USA, WHAT TO EXPECT FROM TRUMP, IMMIGRATION, 11th November 2016), Marina asks a question which – given both the USA’s status as the world’s largest higher education system and the place that the greatest number of international students call home – should be given far higher prominence than it has enjoyed to date: will Donald Trump make good on his more extreme campaign promises of mass deportations and blanket entry bans – pledges which could theoretically derail or obviate thousands of university careers?

The simple answer is that no one really knows for sure – especially given that the Trump presidency is not scheduled to begin until 20th January 2017 – but its likelihood depends on which one of three broad scenarios materialises:

  1. Business As Usual. If – as Marina strongly suggests – Trump’s campaign rhetoric against Mexicans and Muslims was in fact just clever if ethically dubious marketing, then so long as he can deliver badly-needed prosperity to his core and frankly desperate constituents, repressive laws are unlikely to be enacted and international students can rest assured that the United States of America remains a viable HE destination.
  2. Business As Unusual. While both other branches of the US government have Republican Party majorities, the GOP is still smarting from a brutal civil war in which virtually every party luminary all but disowned Trump. Accordingly, these rivals may seek to block his centrepiece legislation on infrastructure – which would possibly negatively impact his popularity, and increase the probability of Trump resorting to the xenophobia which helped define his election win.
  3. Business As Madness. In the case of some seriously brown gloop hitting the fan – mass shootings, terrorist ‘events’ or a banking crisis – Trump may feel pressure to be seen to be ‘protecting the interests of ordinary Americans’, and all bets could then be off. The problem with using overtly negative tropes so successfully is that they then have the potential to take on a life of their own – and, as usual, innocent people will end up getting caught in the crossfire.

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Filed under Education, Political Science, Politics

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