“Travel is fatal to prejudice, bigotry, and narrow-mindedness, and many of our people need it sorely on these accounts. Broad, wholesome, charitable views of men and things cannot be acquired by vegetating in one little corner of the earth all one’s lifetime.” Mark Twain
When I first say to anyone I meet here that I am from America, they immediately question me about Trump. “How did he even win!?” most people say to me, or even “Is Beyonce going to be the next president of the States?”
Here in Amsterdam, a quite liberal and sustainability focused city, they love to make fun of Trump. On my first day of orientation for international students here, the speaker even referred to him as a “fake president.” At a comedy show as part of our orientation one of the skits was about Trump drowning in reference to him not believing in climate change.
In The Netherlands, meaning “low lands” in Dutch, about one third of the land is below sea level. Meaning that climate change is a real threat to the survival of the country. The Dutch have built an extensive dam, dike, and floodgate system to prevent the country from flooding and were built dating as far back as 1250. The beliefs of Donald Trump themselves are a major threat to the safety of the country. The canals weren’t just built for beauty, they prevent the entire county from flooding.
Today after spending the afternoon in Rembrandtpark, a new friend of mine was joking about how another student in the park had asked if I had voted for Trump. She said “Of course you didn’t vote for Trump, you’re here studying abroad. People need to travel to see that the rest of the world matters and how your life affects others.” Mark Twain was right when he talked about travel killing off bigotry and prejudice, once you see the rest of the world you appreciate why we all need to work together as countries and simply as human beings to survive.