Opinion

OPINION: lnternational student watches election from unique perspective

The Iowa Secretary of State’s office during election night where Wartburg intern Kristina Aleksander assisted with numerous details.
The Iowa Secretary of State’s office during election night where Wartburg intern Kristina Aleksander assisted with numerous details.

It’s interesting watching the election as an international student. You are not able to vote, but you certainly have (or had) your favorites. It’s even more interesting when the election is part of your job.

Being an intern at Secretary of State’s office gave me an opportunity to be fully immersed not just in the happenings on Election Day, but also to see how much work goes into organizing an election.

It gave me a chance to find out how elections work in practice, and not just in theory that I have read during political science classes. It taught me how harmful the allegations that the election is “rigged” are, and how hard it is to get students to vote.

But more than anything, this internship has taught me how the real world of journalism and communications works. Election Day was the hardest day of my career so far. I have worked more hours in one day (17 hours and counting) and shot more footage than I would usually do in a week.

Getting up at 7 a.m. and staying at work until after midnight is not the life I would choose for anyone. But getting to follow the Secretary of State around with a camera as he does interviews and promotes the election is easily the most fun I have had in my entire college career.

And that was just the first half of my day. The real fun started around 9 p.m. when the Secretary of State staff began calling all the county auditors and getting the results of the election.

But while my day of filming political speeches and dealing with election data might seem boring to other people, it was probably the most exciting day of my college career.

Not a lot of students (especially international students) are given the opportunity to follow the Secretary of State around all day with a camera and document during such a historic election. And not a lot of students would be able to keep up.

A part of me can’t help but feel like Christiane Amanpour in the making. Can you blame me?

(Kristina Aleksander is a fourth year journalism and communication student interning in the Secretary of State’s office this semester as part of Wartburg’s new urban studies program.)

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