71 thoughts on “Will Barack Obama change the way you’re viewed when traveling overseas?

  1. C Hester

    I’ve traveled extensively – Europe, Eastern Europe, Far East since the war broke out – actually in Greece when the war started – and never have I felt unpopular being an American. I don’t hide my passport, I don’t keep my mouth shut, but I don’t wear sneakers either!

    I find most people are interested in us as individuals and do not bring up politics. They are more interested in why we are visiting. Many interesting topics have been discussed with those I have had the privlege to meet, and only once in 7 years has BUSH come up. Only once. We are not only Americans, we are human beings sharing a special moment with someone from another county. There is so much in the world to enjoy – buy a Gypsy child a McDonalds burger in Romania, dance with a Greek to Bousouki music, sing with the gondolier in the Blue Grotto, talk with a shop keeper about his heart surgery, show your grandkids pictures to a grandpap in Budapest, let a nice guy walk you to the nearest Internet cafe is in Bulgaria. Enjoy the world as an American, be proud, but don’t enter into the political scene.

  2. R. Keyes

    I have traveled to Europe but not all of it, and I don’t think I have sampled enough of European sentiment to accurately guage it. However, George Bush and his administration were despised and disrespected. It was not only Bush’s policies, but his personality and manners which were unacceptable to them. Obama has better poise, better ability to debate, and is percieved as being open to changing some US policies which were unpopular with Europeans. Yet, he is still in his ‘honeymoon’ first hundred days, and after Bush, anyone could look good. I think they would even have warmed up to McCain if he’d been elected, though he doesn’t have the emotional appeal that would make him respected.

    The US is the best and the worst that democracy has to offer. We criticize ourselves much more than any other country does to itself. Therefore, our self-criticism is not always understood by people from other countries.

    The only persons who looked down at me for being American, were Israelis, which to me, is ironic.

  3. Carolyn

    I’ve just returned from a trip to Asia, and I can vouch for the fact that people seemed cheered by Obama’s election and were eager to talk with us about it when they learned we were from the U.S. We were abroad during the inauguration; every local newspaper devoted the front page to the Obama story daily for a week, and local writers were quite knowledgeable about Obama’s policies. People we met abroad were willing, at the very least, to give the new president the benefit of the doubt and not buy into the ridiculous, debunked rumors that conservatives in the U.S. are still spreading (foreign-born? a “secret Muslim”? give me a break)–unlike some of the commenters here.

  4. J Zippin

    The ignorance of some people is stunning, that they would continue to cite long refuted arguments about Obama’s religion, tasking away guns from people, being a socialist, etc.

    I actually travel oversees, and it is a helpful change to have the rest of the world realize that not all Americans supported illegal wars, illegal torture, or diminishing our personal American liberties. Going after the bad guys in Afganistan will do more to protect Americans than the years, lives, and money wasted in Iraq, and I think most other nations will accept this action.

    I appreciate the very positive reaction of the people of foreign nations when they learn I am an American. I wish our own American people were so friendly to Obama supporters!

  5. Kevin

    I second the responder that said “Who Cares?”

  6. Lisa

    I am stunned by the vitriol expressed here towards a president that is been in office less than 100 days. Instead of answering the question posed, people have included paragraphs of political opinion (much of it not supported by fact0 that has nothing to do with how we are viewed overseas. That is sad for us as a nation; apparently we can only take so much change before we become hysterical.

  7. Nancy Iuzzolino Pepe

    We were in Italy a week after the elections and everyone was eager to talk to us about Obama. Even those who did not speak English would say “Obama”, smile and give a thumbs up. We asked a driver we had in the Sorrento area why Italians seemed to like Obama. His reply “He is, you know, sympatico.” We travel to Italy a lot, and the people are always very friendly, but this time they seemed more relaxed with Americans we met up with.

  8. Ed

    Take a breath. Obama is a President of the United States. I can’t see how his being elected is going to change much about overseas travel. The results of the so-called “stimulus” package may mean less disposable income in potential travelers’ hands. This will give us less money for travel. Those who think that the “world” is going to “love us” because Obama is president are listening to the media too much. Sure there are people who don’t like Americans, but they’ll continue to dislike Americans. Foreign media may “like” Americans more due to Obama’s election, but that will change if and when he stands up for America. Then they’ll go back to their old ways. We are disliked where and when we are disliked due to our success as a country. When we fail, they scorn us, when we succeed they hate us. But who should care? We are a unique country; an exceptional country. As Muhammed Ali once said, “I’m sure glad my great-granddaddy got on that slave ship”. He had his dates mixed up, but the sentiment holds.

  9. rose

    I think that people in other countries are amazed that a foreign born person with little experience was selected by the US political parties. (Barry Soetoro-Barack Obama) Most Europeans probably laugh at us. The US can not accept a woman for president yet!! As long as we spend money as tourists, they will accept and tolerate us.
    As for me, Nobama(and that crass wife)- you can Keep the Change!!!

  10. George

    It is interesting to read the responses here. Most Obama supporters throw out one or two liners from their gut while the more conservative comments are well thought out and elucidated.

    I’ll go with the conservatives.

  11. Dean

    “Be careful what you wish for…” Just two weeks in office and Obama’s “Buy American” clause in the stimulus package (reward to the American labor unions) is causing an uproar in Canada and Europe.

    With severe inflation on the horizon due to excessive spending, no resolve to combat extremist Islamic terror, and reduced military spending affecting overseas bases, it’s just a matter of time before our allies have a REAL and rational basis for Anti-American feelings.

    From the BBC:

    “The EU will launch a complaint with the World Trade Organisation (WTO) if the clause remains, the [EU]spokesman said.

    “The EU and Canadian ambassadors to Washington have already warned that the clause could promote protectionism and trigger retaliatory moves.”

  12. Sam

    Yes. We will be seen as having taken a giant step into the realm of socialism and appeasement. “For the first time in my adult life I am no longer proud of America.” God forbid that Jimmy Carter is back with different look.

  13. ELH

    YES, President Obama gives us and the rest of the world some HOPE for better days ahead..

  14. Leslie Sirag

    Oh yeah! We spent Sept & Oct in Europe & handed out Obama stickers wherever we went. Got tremendously & universally positive responses & sometimes into interesting discussions.

  15. Chloe

    We are not a state of the EU. We are part of the world. We had our role to play when there was danger against the innocent, and we were the fertile field for the great international minds of technology to swiftly threaten and stave off, although not end, horrible oppresion.

    Now let us “meld.” Caucasians in the US are from Europe. Many of us are only 2nd or 3rd generation.

    OPEN YOUR EYES AND HEART! Realize we have much to remember!

    Time has come for US to become not the greatest nation on Earth, but a fine cultivated nation on Earth.

    Our wilderness is conquered. We have arrived. Now what will we do?

  16. Lee Lutz

    Yes! With grace and dignity.He is extremely intelligent , strong and open to other views.I think the world has already spoken.

  17. Paul Hannan

    Being I have duel citizenship, I will travel as an Irishman this time. God help the USA

  18. Constance Rice

    The people who hate America will still hate America because we are strong. America has done more to save other countries from disasters, wars and ruin than any nation in the world ever has. And we have not done it to rule the world. When we go to war it is to FREE people, not enslave them as opposed to European wars, African wars, and Islamic terrorists. If Barak Obama actually carries through on his promises we will become as weak and socialist as our European brethern. Some may love us more, but the world will become a infinitely more dangerous place and they will one day long for the Reagans and Bushes who had the power to ensure peace through strength!

  19. Steve Stevens

    I do believe that the whole REASONABLE world will welcome our new administration of openness and freedom.
    They will see American, not as a wimp, but as less of a
    bully. We will project strength with concern and without vulgar egotism. This will make most foreigners more open to traveling Americans who also show a kind front.

  20. Sharon

    I am happy to see President Obama take office. I am a child of the 60’s, white and raised in the south in the USA and I had tears in my eyes when I saw Obama elected. You see I personally accepted diversity in 1967. I am a “flower child”. It took most of the USA 40 years to accept differences. I have traveled fairly extensively and I still believe that most people react positively if you show respect to their culture and are not aggressive. I believe our President it absolutely moving in the right direction.

  21. Phyllis S Waring

    Yes the election of Barack Obama as U.S. President will have a very positive impact upon foreign travel. My husband and I witnessed the enthusiasm and joy during election week while traveling through Turkey, Greece, Italy and Spain. These nations all celebrated along with the Americans that we encountered during our travels. They danced in the strreets (Italy), stopped us everywhere we went and voiced support for our new President, etc. They waved banners,we gave them campaign buttons. It was great to be there and witness this personally. I can’t wait to return to the countries in the future! We are proud to be Americans…again!

  22. Steve Cuzzone

    America gets a lot of press overseas. People are naturally curious. I spent an evening 10 years ago discussing American politics, and Bill Clinton specifically, with a group of construction workers in Cardiff. The subject of George W Bush has come up in travels to France and the UK. We are judged in part by the leaders we elect. I would expect opinions outside the US to change with a new president regardless of who he was.

  23. John Morris

    Only if you wish the USA to become another state of the European Union with no backbone and unable or unwilling to protect itself from the witches and wolves that prowl the world seeking the ruination of democracy.

  24. Pattie Meehan

    I believe the election of Barack Obama, whether you believe it is good for the US or not, is seen in the eyes of the world as a positive move for the US. Most of the Europeans we have met felt that our former president was a cowboy who didn’t care what the rest of the world thought of him or the US. In general, they feel that Obama will change the way the US looks at other countries.
    In some countries, the new president will help — in other countries, it will make no difference at all.

  25. Donald Bryden

    I travel internationally for approximately eight months out of each year since 2004, and have done a lot of international travel to that date. I want to say that Americans are treated with respect and admiration almost everywhere I have been. The only problems I have found is some people seem to think of us as all being wealthy and try to gouge us or defraud. With care none of these things need be a problem. In regard to your question, I don’t see now President Obama can fix a problem that does not exist.

  26. Kathy

    I agree.

  27. Paul Bopko

    I am bothered by the premise of the question. If anybody in Europe or anywhere else in the world thinks that America is a better place or different place is clueless. My experience is reading and travelling to Europe is that Europeans , as a group, consider Americans as a group of unsophisticated peoples. This attitude was prevalent well before George W Bush. The problem we as American face is that our size, power and influence flies in the face of how Europe considers where it was at one time. Success can admired by disliked if you are not in the same camp. Time will tell how much Obama cause America to admired abroad and how Americans really feel about him!

  28. Gil Fuld

    Yes. It already has.

  29. Sarah McArdle Cabot

    Yes, It will be a postive message to countries all over the world.

  30. Skip

    Don’t think he’ll make the slighest difference if we’re financially bankrupt, militarily weak and morally destroyed, which will all result from this Obama Administration.

  31. Eleanor Kohn

    I travelled to Europe three times during the Bush presidency and i made it known that I didn’t share most of his political views and didn’t vote for him. That said, I think that Americans are already being viewed more positively since Obama was elected.

  32. Doug P.

    I think his election will reduce anti-American feelings. These feelings started after the breakup of the Soviet Union, when America became the lone super power. Prior to that, Europe depended on our good will and strength for protection. Now we are seen as “too strong.” Obama will likely weaken our military and work to appease traditional adversaries, while China, Russia and Iran strengthen their global influence. Another gas cutoff by Russia, terrorist attack, satellite destruction or attack on Taiwan and our friends might realize that we’re not all that bad.

  33. Lynn Glover

    Frankly, I couldn’t give a rasty damn how we are viewed overseas by our fair weather friends in Europe and elsewhere or by the enemies we have everywhere. We are “King on the Hill” and negative attitude by others comes with the territory. Concern about such things is juvenile and should have no impact on our policies.

  34. Don C.

    Until Obama makes some critical decisions that are contrary to what the world in general and of course “the press” thinks he should make, Americans will likely be viewed more favorably.

  35. angelface

    absolutly the best thing that could have happened after Bush to the US. we have gotten instant respect again from overseas .

  36. Mike Watt

    Absolutely agree. I think we have already seen an uptick in the attitude that, certainly, the European bloc has towards its relationship with the US.
    And I think the President’s promise to deliver a major speech from a middle eastern capital within the first 100 days is a bold stroke.

  37. John Montag

    Sure; he’s already proven popular overseas (witness the many thousands who thronged to see him in Germany), and his policies will surely undermine the ill-will bred by the Bush administration and its arrogance toward all things foreign.

    But overall, when it comes to tourist destinations, there wasn’t much of a problem with anti-American feelings, even under the worst of the Bush administration. I don’t think things will change too much, at least in those places that depend on American tourist dollars and are accustomed to Americans, since they know how to keep any anti-American sentiment to themselves in any case. We might see a few more thumbs-up signs and such if we wear Obama t-shirts around….

  38. Bede Stockill

    Of course I think Barack Obama is a good thing. I don’t expect his election to affect how I am viewed overseas. But then I am a British Canadian

  39. B. Byrnes

    That depends on who you talk to. Younger people tend to be somewhat ignorant of the facts and easily persuaded by other young people who think Obama walks on water. The first time I visited Italy was in March 2003 just days after the Iraq war started (we almost cancelled the trip for fear of being ostrasized as Americans). In Rome, we saw PACE (peace) flags and anti-Bush grafitti everywhere. However, when we got out into the countryside and talked to older Italians (middle aged on up), we discovered that many of them LOVED George W. Bush and supported the way he was handling the terrorism problem. I’ve been to Europe several times since and have found that the older Europeans don’t necessarily agree with the way Iraq was (is) being handled, but still support America and still see a need to deal with terrorism. I guess if you’re going to visit big cities and talking to a lot of young people, then the Obama factor will work in your favor, but I’ve never found any real anti-American sentiment directed at individual tourists. Just to be safe, try to avoid the topic of politics.


    No The rest of the world think we are idiots for electing a super liberal.

  41. Royce

    Yes it will be viewed as a positive because the rest of the world sees the U.S. sinking into socialism as many of them have and misery loves company

  42. michael

    I disagree. I have traveled and lived a lot abroad. Most people around the world have strong feelings about America and Americans, good and bad. That will continue. But with Barak, they will see us as weaker. We need to be strong.

  43. Elaine Fox

    I definitely think the choice of Barack Obama has improved our image already! Over the past 8 years I’ve met a lot of people around the world who “felt sorry” for us here in the US because we were stuck with George Bush. I always agreed with them and then it was easy to see them relax and enjoy talking with us. I think that 56% of our people must have had 2 very serious “senior” moments for the last President to get elected. I am looking forward to a renewed sense of mutual respect in this world with all of its residents due to our new President.
    Happy Travels! Elaine

  44. AJ

    Obama is untested as a Senator and President. He has shown then and now that he likes to spend the money of the taxpayer primarily to help his Liberal agenda in increasing the size & power of the US Government. Any favor the US may glean from this President will only last as long as it is paid for with favors and money. Obama will repeat the polices of past liberal Presidents.Therefore, other nationalities may find him a good President though the US citizens may not.

  45. Jane Cherry


  46. Karen

    BUNK!!!!!!!!! We have traveled all over the world since 2004 and have NEVER been treated poorly. People love America and Americans. You were correct in your opening statement: You should not have brought politics into your information section. Tere are countless people (46% of America) who did NOT vote for him, and probably a huge segment of the voters who are, only two weeks in, regretting they did. He is a socialist, has appointed tax evaders to his cabinet, has a disgraceful spending package he is pushing (he calls it stimulus, when it is highway robbery of generations to come) and has given terrorist rights and removed them from unborn children. Don’t make me sick with this pathetic question. Can’t wait until this term is over.

  47. Pete Winkler

    Absolutely! If Obama had run fo9r President almost anywhere in the world, he would have won by a much wider margin than he did in the US. That positive attitude will no doubt carry over to conversations with American tourists.

  48. Suzanne

    I just came back from 3 weeks in Spain over Christmas. Everyone wanted to talk about Obama and how wonderful it was. What surprised me though was the concern for his safety. I guess we here (US) just don’t want to think about that.

  49. CC

    Absolutely NOT.

  50. Dallas Young

    I certainly think so; I was in Salzburg, Austria, on Election Day and then in England for two weeks after that. I wore my Obama pin on my jacket, and everywhere I went I was getting thumbs up and smiles. It might have also saved me from a speeding ticket in Austria; I was driving through a speed trap in a village east of Salzburg, and two polizei flagged me over to the side. I started to get out my passport, but one policeman saw my button, smiled and said “Obama ist sehr gut!” and told me in halting English to drive on, but slow down next time going through the village!

  51. Liz

    I recently had a email inquiry from a friend in Germany who has been dicussing the election & inauguration as part of her english class (class comprised of mostly 50+ year old ladies). Her class was very interested to know what the American peoples views of President Obama are, and stated her class felt the inauguration was very moving in their perspective from Germany.

    Our friend does in no way hold any anti-American feelings towards the American people in general. In our travels throughout Europe and the Carribbean the sentiment has always been expressed to us that they understand that the general public can not control government leaders. This sentiment is very well understood especially in Germany and many Carribbean islands due to what they have had to endure in their histories.

  52. Sandra Levy

    So far the new administration has been kicked around by the Iranians and criticized by the Brits, the latter because the stimulus package is protectionist. As for ordinary people, that depends on what the world press decides, and generally they love to kick us around. It comes with being a big country. Personally I don’t think it’s healthy to worry about whether people love us. Few other countries love the Russians or the Chinese and it doesn’t seem to keep them up at night.

  53. Kay Belk

    Yes, I definitely agree that it will change the way the USA is perceived. We lived in Romania for a year; Zimbabwe for a year; and my husband and I have traveled extensively around the world. During Pre-Obama; NOT one citizen of any country had much of anything good to say about the US government. We now live in Canada but are still US citizens and for once I am proud to be from the USA. Canadians across the country were very happy to see Obama elected; and hope to see great changes in US policies. In fact a number of Canadians wish they had someone like Obama to run for office in Canada.

  54. Barbara Ison

    If what you insinuate is true, then we do not have a president of the United States. But instead we have a president who puts the US second behind what those in the world would think. As a US citizen who has traveled extensively in Europe, I have never been told not to come and spend my money there. If you really believe that the United States of American is nothing more than a cog in the European Union, why hasn’t the United Kingdom also joined that political arena? You are witnessing the American Idol, a figment of role playing. If you think he is such a good selection, please take him over to your country and add to the socialism there. Thank you.

  55. Craig R Dickson

    I hope it does. Being an American, the Bush Adminisration did not stand for the values most Americans have and ignored the will of the people. Right after 911, most of the world was with us. That sadly took a steady decline with the Bush Adminstration to a level which embarassed most of us. I believe Obama will begin to rebuild our reputation as a country with the highest values an compassion for a world quite often in crisis. We travel quite a bit so are always Good Will Ambassadors. America stands for so much more to us, hopefully we return to our place of respect under the new administration and help shape the future in a positive way, and once again become a Role Model.

  56. Lou

    It will be seen as a positive thing because many in the world, like 52% of Americans, have been duped into believing that Obama will be good for the USA and the world. Unfortunately, he is an inexperienced, dishonest individual who has been promoted by a left wing media. No other individual with his background and lack of experience could have been elected President.

  57. Lynn Davenport

    Agree. My husband and I visited Spain from November 5-19, right after the elections. British news channels showed nothing but glowing stories of Barack. The locals were completely infatuated with Barack, and they were outwardly giddy over the future of America. Instead of the usual, disdainful “Are you American?” as we chatted with locals, we heard boisterous “American? Go Barack!” I think that alone shows the high hopes and expectations of Europeans regarding Obama. I guess we will see what the future holds, but we got a real sense that Europe felt a big wave of change and were more positive toward America than in recent years.

  58. Recruiter

    Unfortunately, I do agree with your statement, however, I was not in support of Barack Obama and actually think that America is in danger with his presidency. I’m not surprised that Europeans and others overseas view him favorably. In my opinion, it’s simply because the overseas countries would like the US to more closely resemble and embrace their Socialist policies.

  59. linda thieben

    Yes, Obama will certainly change the way people in other countrys think about Americans. I was in Croatia when Obama was elected and everyone on the steets were cheering.

  60. Stan

    I couldn’t care less what people in other countries think about Americans. I don’t care about their politics either. I have lived, worked and traveled all over the world. With the exception of the time I spent working in Afghanistan I have never experienced any anti-American feelings. When I travel I never discus politics with the locals and I make sure that I don’t stand out as a tourist.
    If you think that Obama’s push towards Socialism will be viewed as a good thing overseas you may be right. Of course that will be short lived until our country goes bankrupt and we’re forced to quit sending our dollars overseas.

  61. Alice Berglund

    Yes, absolutely…after several rude comments (even in London), I began saying that I was Canadian to people I did not know…

  62. Wendy McIlroy

    During the Clinton years, I never had a problem overseas as an American. It wasn’t until the Irag debaucle that attitudes changed. I can’t even count how many times I had to tell people how many Americans, including me, did NOT vote for Bush either time. Traveling during 2008, I have made a point of labeling my luggage with Obama stickers (I was for him from the start), and had very positive comments about how happy people were to see our country turning away from the “dark side”, and wishing us luck. While there will continue to be problems, I have no doubt, I do think the response will continue to be positive now that we have an intelligent, thoughtful president instead of a cowboy.

  63. Christine

    Yes – definitely! The fact that most Americans are now looking past “color” and assessing a person on their character versus their color or culture – should serve to put us as Americans in a better light when viewed by foreigners in other countries.

  64. Mary Moore

    I agree completely. We won’t have to pretend we are Canadian any more.

    For several years you could tell in foreign airports who the Americans were – they were the ones with passport covers.

  65. Kevin Masrud

    Maybe other countries will no longer resent us as the big rich nation when our currency has as little value as theirs. Coming soon.

  66. Dan

    I would rather NOT be admired by many of the spineless weenies who refuse to recognize that there are people out there that want to kill us. If people around the world dislike George Bush for keeping us safe for the 7 years following 9/11, thats their problem. Lets hope President O’Bama is so resolute.

  67. Robert

    I dont think it will be positive after they see what he is all about.

  68. William Dossenbach

    I really could care less how non US people view the fact that we were so stupid as to elect this lying, cheat, hack politician from Chicago. He is an empty suit and a Muslim sympathizer, if no a secret Muslim.

  69. JD

    Who cares?

  70. Dan, Washington, DC

    I agree with the premise that overall other countries’ perceptions of Americans will be improved over the last eight years. It will be somewhat refreshing. But truth be told, travleing in Canada, Spain, England and Ireland since the war began, people have been nothing but kind. I realize it is different in other parts of the world. But overall, yes, it will be a refreshing change and more people will look again to the States as a moral compass, or at least as a cultural icon.

  71. Mike

    Looking at the way the world viewed McCain and Obama, I feel that having Obama as president is a positive thing. Anti-American feelings will take time to wear off assuming that America is going to stop it’s war-mongering ways with a new regime in office.

    I’m optimistic and I hope my future European travels are fun without being hassled for coming from America with Bush in office.

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