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Old 11-16-2007, 08:18 AM
 
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One of the complaints of foreigners visiting the US (or even foreigners receiving US visitors) is that Americans sometimes ask incredibly ridiculous questions of them, about their countries. Things like "is there electricity in Ireland???" or "can I get ketchup in Canada???"

Have you ever seen any questions like this being asked, or do you know people who would likely ask questions like that if they were talking to a foreigner? Also, more generally, is this an educational failure? Should schools try to give students a general sense of perspective as to "how things are" in other countries?
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Old 11-16-2007, 08:37 AM
 
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Sure. But when I lived in Europe, I was constantly asked questions by various peoples which could only be classified as inane, absurd or just plain idiotic.
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Old 11-16-2007, 08:58 AM
 
Location: Dallas, Texas
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Quote:
Originally Posted by Moth View Post
Sure. But when I lived in Europe, I was constantly asked questions by various peoples which could only be classified as inane, absurd or just plain idiotic.
Me too; I was asked lots of stupid questions by Europeans.

Americans asked me questions about the UK that British people might classify as "dumb" but I didn't think they were. A lot of people seemed confused about how the parliamentary system worked, which makes sense since we don't have one here in the USA. They were curious as to what the Queen's role was in government and what powers, if any, she had. The distinction between "barrister" and "solicitor" was confusing, but mostly they asked about slang. "Quid? What's a quid? What are trainers?"
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Old 11-16-2007, 09:05 AM
 
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Same here when I was in Europe. There is always such a thrust to put down Americans on any and everything. How did that begin I wonder? It is not American "nature", it is HUMAN NATURE to be stupid about other cultures!! What the failing school system should be teaching students is accurate American (US) History first, then world history.

So we just laughed when someone in England asked us about how we dealt with the cowboys shooting the buffalo!
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Old 11-16-2007, 09:13 AM
 
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Most people here haven't any idea of what a place as similar to this one as Europe is actually like. If they have been there at all, it was on one of those If-It's-Tuesday-This-Must-Be-Belgium tours where they saw some cathedrals, ate in some tourist restaurants, and actually interacted only with other Americans on the tour. We are by and large brought up with next to no understanding of other places or cultures at all and hence are always starting at the beginning. There is, by contrast, almost nowhere in the world where the basic ideas and practices of American culture have not been a part local culture and often education. If we look stupid in comparison to many, perhaps even most, foreigners in this regard, it's only because we tend to come late to the game...
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Old 11-16-2007, 09:15 AM
 
Location: Pinal County, Arizona
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I don't really consider any question "stupid" - If someone is unsure or confused about something, ask.
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Old 11-16-2007, 09:19 AM
 
Location: Near Manito
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If the dollar continues to decline in value against other currencies, we can expect many more foreign visitors in the future, and more questions about our country, both inane and well-informed. I hope we can all learn to put aside our prejudices and partisanship and respond intelligently.
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Old 11-16-2007, 09:29 AM
 
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There is, by contrast, almost nowhere in the world where the basic ideas and practices of American culture have not been a part local culture and often education.
Sorry Sag, but you are so wrong. At best, our European friends have been pummeled with what could only be considered propaganda by a questionable educational system and a histrionic media. I studied at a first rate German university and the ignorance and misinformation was staggering.
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Old 11-16-2007, 09:54 AM
 
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We had an exchange student from Australia live with us for a year. One clueless American said to her once she arrived, "Wow, your English is so good. How long have you been studying?" Being a clever girl, she quickly said, "Oh I just picked it up on the plane"
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Old 11-16-2007, 10:27 AM
 
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Originally Posted by akm4 View Post
We had an exchange student from Australia live with us for a year. One clueless American said to her once she arrived, "Wow, your English is so good. How long have you been studying?" Being a clever girl, she quickly said, "Oh I just picked it up on the plane"
Ha ha. We had a Finnish exchange student and people use to ask her if she used reindeer for transportation!
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