I’m from the United States of America, born in New York City, and I’ve had the great pleasure and opportunity to live and travel in a few countries outside of my own, so I’ll take a stab at this one.
1. Many Americans seem to honestly think that the rest of the world (like the whole thing), hates us. Like, a deep-seated, they will kill us on sight so we better stay in our houses, type of hate.
2. There is a “distance” issue (and this goes for everyone in the world, not just Americans) – people tend to have no real idea how *far* things are from each other.
3. There is a lack of understanding about scale of economy (People may offhandedly say things like “I can live for a month in Thailand for $10!” Without any concept of the reality or even why this may be.
4. “Australia” is a country, but Oceania is the continent.
5. And something that makes me overtly sad – not just about America but about any country I’ve ever visited or lived in – is a general lack of interest in outside cultures and attitudes. I’ve found that is a rare person who would even be curious about what one person thinks or feels about someone else’s culture, and instead attempts to impose their own.
People have all sorts of reasons for justifying this: “It’s only a short trip; this is a tourist town; America “won”; England ruled here for a hundred years; (the especially obnoxious) All “x” look the same to me.”
It doesn’t matter where you are, or where you are from, you will likely find the same attitudes in your own country while thinking about somewhere “foreign.”
My personal favorite example is this:
My husband and I look German (especially together, due to our strong German heritage.)
We have traveled in places that rarely see Americans, but German tourists are common.
In one particular country, we were asking for directions in French (the language of the country) and as usual, were asked where in Germany we were from. We mentioned that we were from the U.S., and there were huge smiles all around, and a crowd formed.
Happy shouts of everything they knew of America started – “Yankees!” “George Bush!” “Brad Pitt!” “Hollywood!” “New York city!”
When I told them I was from New York, they went crazy and started asking me about movie stars and whether I knew this one and that one – until I explained that Hollywood was on the other side of the country – farther than they could walk in a year.
They didn’t get it.
So I told them I grew up in the same town as the Jonas Brothers and they went crazy again 😉
Originally Posted: https://www.quora.com/What-are-the-top-10-things-Americans-dont-know-about-the-rest-of-the-world
Originally Posted On: 2015-09-24