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misconception Europeans have about Americans...

misconception Europeans have about Americans...

Aug 3rd, 2001, 11:36 AM
  #1  
Laura
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misconception Europeans have about Americans...

I have met many Europeans in my travels and have even formed long-lasting friendships with some. However, I have found that many have lots of wrong ideas about Americans.

For example, my English friend was telling me that even though she enjoyed the food in the U.S., there was no way she could ever eat such large portions at every meal every day that Americans do. It took a lot for me to convince her that we DO NOT eat like that in our homes (who could afford it??) and that even we (well, most of us,...okay, a lot of us) think that the servings in many, many American restaurants are way too large. I had to use the typical English Breakfast served in England's restaurants as an example (no, no, she assured me, they do not eat that much at breakfast most days) before she would believe me. In fact, she seemed truly shocked when I told her that I usually skip breakfast most days. (I'm still not sure she believed that....she has seen the huge breakfast buffets in the hotels over here)

Anyway, what misconceptions have you come across in Europeans about Americans and which have you tried to dispel? (Or which WOULD you like to dispel?)

(this is NOT a troll posting)
 
Aug 3rd, 2001, 11:49 AM
  #2  
Well Fed in So.Cal.
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When I meet people overseas, they assume that I love junk and/or fast food.
I know most of my friends and I do not eat that way, and have not since high school days before we knew better.
If I refuse sausage, odd parts of animals, etc over there, they can't understand it.
 
Aug 3rd, 2001, 12:18 PM
  #3  
StCirq
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Among my neighbors in France there are a number who firmly believe that:

All Americans drive Cadillacs
There is no decent wine in America
We routinely drive from, say, New York to Chicago in an afternoon
We're all rich
 
Aug 3rd, 2001, 12:27 PM
  #4  
ALW
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That Americans are wholly responsible for capitalism, consumerism, and the MTVing of societies worldwide. That Americans are all Jerry Springer guests in disguise. That, as Laura said, Americans are all fat, loud, and childish. That Americans are worse than Canadians. That Americans are worse than Europeans. That Americans don't know what culture, class, or sophistication are.

Americans are judged by the worst of their excesses and by the worst actions of their compatriots. Just because Bush (or Clinton) was elected president doesn't mean that all Americans think like he does. Just because a current restaurant trend is toward enormous, inedible meals doesn't mean that all Americans eat that way. Just because X number of Americans do Y thing doesn't mean that ALL Americans do -- or even agree with -- Y.

Just think of the most annoying, obstreperous
 
Aug 3rd, 2001, 12:29 PM
  #5  
ALW
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Oops.

annoying, obstreperous person you've ever met in each country you've been to -- do you truly believe that all the citizens of that country are exactly like that person?

Sorry for the rant -- after living as an expat in Europe for a number of years, this is a rather sore topic for me...but one on which I will not speak unless invited to do so.
 
Aug 3rd, 2001, 12:30 PM
  #6  
Julie
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A London cab driver once told me that he had no desire to visit the US because of the all the violence he sees on television. An over-reaction you might say, but if you think about it, you rarely see a gun on a British Detective show.
 
Aug 3rd, 2001, 12:36 PM
  #7  
phil
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Many of the Brits I have dealt with in business continue to have a condescending attitude towards us like we are still a colony. They assume that we have an inferior education and our opinions lack sophistication. A prove to me why I'm wrong mentality!


The most interesting misconception I heard was in Africa. (I realize that IT is NOT in Europe.) In Nairobi a few years ago a cab driver proceeded to explain how AIDS was invented by the U.S. to kill off Africans.

 
Aug 3rd, 2001, 12:50 PM
  #8  
KT
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To steer clear of the big issues such as politics, education, violence...I always find is that Europeans are always surprised to find that I don't like ice in my beverages and that I don't like Coke (or Pepsi, for that matter). And back before I bought my first car a few years ago, they were absolutely shocked that there was such as a thing as an American well into the adult years who had never owned a car.
 
Aug 3rd, 2001, 12:52 PM
  #9  
Annie Oakley
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Some of them think we are living in Western Movies. One English man I met was afraid to come to the US West because of the "Red Indians" and the thought that one just might scalp him, if provoked.
 
Aug 3rd, 2001, 12:57 PM
  #10  
Marilyn Ham
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I road in a London taxi and the driver said he had been under the impression that all American women looked like Charlie's Angels until he visited the United States. M.
 
Aug 3rd, 2001, 12:58 PM
  #11  
ryan
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A friend from France admitted that as a child he thought American's were rough and macho because in cowboy movies they drank coffee from big, giant mugs. He assumed it was the strong French coffee he was used to and couldn't believe that people could drink big cups like that.
 
Aug 3rd, 2001, 01:06 PM
  #12  
elvira
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News-reporting-for-profit is a big cause of misconceptions. My friend Georges was convinced he'd have to cancel his trip to the American West because it was completely engulfed in flames (wildfire season). Many French think *all* Americans are obsessed with the sexual peccadillos of their politicians and public figures, and find that really weird. I had to explain the phrase "if it bleeds, it leads". They thought that was even weirder.
 
Aug 3rd, 2001, 01:08 PM
  #13  
S
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We had a British guest last summer. He was amazed at the distance between the cities.
 
Aug 3rd, 2001, 01:27 PM
  #14  
Thyra
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My husband and I are both really pale and stay out of the sun... a lot of Europeans don't believe we are from Los Angeles... On taxi driver said we couldn't come from L.A because we didn't look anything like the people from Bay Watch...We really found that funny.
 
Aug 3rd, 2001, 03:07 PM
  #15  
Art
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Annie Oakley, that was kind of funny re scalping, since it was introduced to the "Indians" by the Spanish.
I agree with the posters re distances between cities. When I lived in Germany I occasionally would drive to Switzerland or the Netherlands for the weekend and it would amaze my local friends. Of course, I was working for the military and gas cost me 19 cents a gallon at that time.
Art
 
Aug 3rd, 2001, 03:15 PM
  #16  
xxx
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Here's what I've noticed:

1. All Americans are rich & money grows on trees
3. We eat McDonald's everyday
 
Aug 3rd, 2001, 03:57 PM
  #17  
tcc
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Something that has already been mentioned, that we're all rich. While in Paris in June, my husband and I walked into a convenience store to buy an umbrella due an unexpected rain shower and the proprietor noticed our bad French (not hard to do . He asked us where we were from and when we said New York City in America, he said, oh- rich! We said no no, not at all.

I think a lot of people don't realize how affordable it is to travel between Europe and the U.S. now in this day and age, so they think if one does they must have money, which is usually not the truth.
 
Aug 3rd, 2001, 04:18 PM
  #18  
mywayor
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1. that we are spoiled (true in many cases)
2.That we drink water without gas and coke
3. we dont like blutwurst,tripe or any thing made of organs(sometimes true)
4.That we're a bit uneducated about european culture and history
5. we don't speak any other languages
6.the money thing because alot of average Europeans never leave the country
7.we dont have manners
This is what I percieved
 
Aug 3rd, 2001, 04:20 PM
  #19  
Surlok
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Well, TCC, it depends.. it's so relative..

Don't forget that the Dollar rate against the French, or Italian currency are now very favorable ( to Americans, I mean).

Also, even having the same income, if an European has his income converted to Dollars, in America everything ( or almost, maybe not French wines, or Italian truffles or aceto balsamico...) is cheaper than in Europe. Americans usually can afford much more than Europeans in general, in their day to day life.

Europeans, in general, are very careful spending money, preparing food, and even housekeeping. They try to save water, because water in Europe can be very expensive, so, they don't normally use dishwashing machines, nor they use much electrical appliances, or at least, when they use them, they do it with much more parsimony.

I'm referring strictly to mid middle class, not higher or lower. I'm not European, I'm South American, but I have many European friends, in England, Italy, Netherlands and France, so I know how they live, and what their standards of living are.

So, the general American middle class way of living can be perceived as richness. Does it make sense...?

Surlok
 
Aug 3rd, 2001, 04:25 PM
  #20  
Philip
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That we are not all loud, pushy, uneducated people. I travel in Europe to learn and broaden my horizons. I would much prefer a day in the Louvre and a night at the theater over a trip to Euro Disney or other tourist trap.
 

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