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Old 03-09-2010, 09:14 AM
 
9,029 posts, read 16,444,433 times
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i agree with most of the above - if you want to experience the other cultures than be honest with yourself and go as yourself

besides, you clothes and posture may give you away regardless

i lived in london for a while in college and have travelled through various parts of europe at various times in my life

i've never had a dangerous experience only because I was an american

you can have dangerous experiences by going into bad neighborhoods, putting yourself in stupid positions, etc

i have had negative experiences by being an american - these range from getting harrassed trying to get into a club, being thrown out of pubs and having some charming young lad tell me and my friends that "all americans should be f'ing shot ... in the head" - we just laughed at that dude, bitter little guy who came up to my elbows

i've had more great experiences and fond memories though being an american - from the time I was getting off the tube in london and these italian girls asked where in the states we were from (clothes and walk gave us away.....)

there was also the time in scotland where we were in the basement of this pub and a guy was down there with what was obviously a hooker - there was a french guy down there that was mocking the drunk and his sloppy prostitute towards us - we ended up drinking and chatting with that guy (best we could) for a couple hours - completely different politics, but respectful of each other

i've found that for the most part people are people - if you treat them with respect you'll be treated in kind ..... those who are looking to merely agitate aren't worth the time devoted to response and many of the vocal get a lot less secure when they are on their own legs with their face present

i also enjoyed talking about the US to many of the people who were genuinely interested - it's such a vast nation they don't always get an accurate representation of life here
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Old 03-09-2010, 09:55 AM
 
Location: MichOhioigan
1,546 posts, read 2,538,686 times
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Quote:
Originally Posted by mintleif View Post
lol. if they ask where i'm from i'd say "canada". and i've talked to some Canadians, their accent sounds just like mine.
Really? I find this hard to believe unless you live extremely close to the border or one of your parents is Canadian. I live in Michigan. The Canadian border is less than 45 minutes away yet I can nearly always pick them out as soon as they speak. I am sure they can identify us pretty quick by our accents as well. But I doubt a European (except maybe the Brits) would be able to discern the difference.

Are you overweight by chance? Depending where in Europe you go this is where Americans really stick out like a sore thumb. I was in Paris for a week last Fall and saw very few heavy people. And the few I did see generally spoke American English.

I've got to agree with what everyone seems to be saying here; Be respectful. Be courteous. Don't be loud. Don't dress like an American tourist (shorts, athletic shoes, waist pack, etc.) Make an attempt, no matter how awful it sounds, at the language. They really appreciate it. Get some travel guides like Frommers or Fodors and read up on local customs, dos and don'ts, and other tips.

Have a great trip and have fun!
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Old 03-09-2010, 10:03 AM
 
Location: Washington, DC
3,849 posts, read 3,975,374 times
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Nah, with Obama in office most Europeans are feeling much better about America and Americans.

But during the GW Bush years, I encountered alot of people who wanted to vent some fury on any American who would listen. Some of the posters on here say they have NEVER gotten any anti-American sentiment while abroad?? Well they must not get out of their tourgroups much, and must not talk to locals who are not in the tourist industry.

Sometimes I find people like Americans too much, but more often they have a general contempt for us. So try not to worry about it, communicate to them that you are part of the solution not the problem (conservatives) and you'll be fine.
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Old 03-09-2010, 10:14 AM
 
Location: Colorado (PA at heart)
8,927 posts, read 13,683,308 times
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Quote:
Originally Posted by Back to NE View Post
Some of the posters on here say they have NEVER gotten any anti-American sentiment while abroad?? Well they must not get out of their tourgroups much, and must not talk to locals who are not in the tourist industry.
I'm one of those people - I don't travel in tour groups and I've lived in England for more than 3 years. Why are you under the assumption that your travel experiences must be the same as everyone else's? Someone has a difference experience than you so they must travel in some kind of bubble?
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Old 03-09-2010, 11:01 AM
 
Location: Washington, DC
3,849 posts, read 3,975,374 times
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Quote:
Originally Posted by PA2UK View Post
I'm one of those people - I don't travel in tour groups and I've lived in England for more than 3 years. Why are you under the assumption that your travel experiences must be the same as everyone else's? Someone has a difference experience than you so they must travel in some kind of bubble?
Anything's possible PA2uk, maybe you are an attractive woman, or perhaps handicapped, or a successful businessman living in a million pound house, or some type that people kiss up to or sympathize with so as to be very polite. Or maybe you've acclimated so well that no one thinks twice when they see you walking your dog or kids, who knows. And if you are living there, it's different innit?
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Old 03-09-2010, 11:23 AM
 
Location: IL
2,992 posts, read 4,423,428 times
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Quote:
Originally Posted by Back to NE View Post
But during the GW Bush years, I encountered alot of people who wanted to vent some fury on any American who would listen. Some of the posters on here say they have NEVER gotten any anti-American sentiment while abroad?? Well they must not get out of their tourgroups much, and must not talk to locals who are not in the tourist industry.
I have never been in a tourgroup, as I prefer to explore on my own...and during the Bush years I was in probably ten European countries. I seriously have never felt like people don't like me because I am American. I have had people complain about Iraq to me, about how the US seemingly has our noses in everything, etc., but just because they don't agree with US International Policy doesn't mean they don't like me. Normally when I get these US complaints I listen and say I understad their point of view, even if i don't agree with it. I think most people are smart enough to understand that I don't drive International policy. Also, in political discussions, I also try to explain that people vote mainly on domestic issues, not international...which may help others explain why outsiders don't understand how certain people can be elected politicians.

I remember I was having a discussion with an Italian woman and I said that I felt private companies, with proper regulations, can be more efficient and effective than the government and she looked at me like I said the earth was flat.
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Old 03-09-2010, 11:32 AM
 
9,029 posts, read 16,444,433 times
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Yep. I've even had someone mention to me that "I don't envy you yanks - can't win regardless of what you do, but you have to do something because everyone is looking at you"

you meet all kinds out there
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Old 03-09-2010, 11:45 AM
 
2,024 posts, read 2,989,331 times
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I'm an American who moved to Scotland in 2000. Never had any problem with anti-Americanism. But in 2003 when that moron started the war in Iraq I was very tempted to start claiming I was Canadian. Didn't do it though. But it was embarrassing with W as prez to say I was American.
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Old 03-09-2010, 12:42 PM
Status: "Send HIM back- to Queens!" (set 23 hours ago)
 
Location: Eureka CA
8,275 posts, read 11,133,121 times
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I've been to Europe four times,total of maybe eight months,and NEVER had any negative reactions to my being an American. Would love to know why Back to NE's experience was so different.
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Old 03-09-2010, 12:54 PM
 
Location: on an island
13,382 posts, read 40,936,227 times
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Quote:
Originally Posted by almost3am View Post
I have had people complain about Iraq to me, about how the US seemingly has our noses in everything, etc., but just because they don't agree with US International Policy doesn't mean they don't like me. Normally when I get these US complaints I listen and say I understad their point of view,
I actually had a couple French people tell me they appreciated President Bush's policies. I do think a lot of people in other countries enjoy talking politics. I try to keep up (assuming I know what I am talking about.)

Quote:
Originally Posted by Finger Laker View Post
i agree with most of the above - if you want to experience the other cultures than be honest with yourself and go as yourself

besides, you clothes and posture may give you away regardless


i also enjoyed talking about the US to many of the people who were genuinely interested - it's such a vast nation they don't always get an accurate representation of life here
Completely agree. Even if my clothes don't give me away, my wretched language skills certainly will.
Quote:
Originally Posted by Back to NE View Post
Nah, with Obama in office most Europeans are feeling much better about America and Americans.

But during the GW Bush years, I encountered alot of people who wanted to vent some fury on any American who would listen. Some of the posters on here say they have NEVER gotten any anti-American sentiment while abroad?? Well they must not get out of their tourgroups much, and must not talk to locals who are not in the tourist industry.
Not saying I would never ever do tour groups, but I never have yet.
I wonder if a group of people speaking another language while being herded around is almost a bit of an invitation.
When my younger son, as a middle schooler was in a tour group in Greece, a young man said "F*** Bush" to them (in English), but that was as bad as it got.

I consider myself totally a tourist, but I've met lots and lots of locals.
It's also interesting to converse with tourists from other countries, and get their point of view.
I've been scouring my memories for past experiences of rudeness in Europe, and all I can come up with is my gross experience on a bus in Rome in 1978 (but that was less anti-American than it was "let's sexually harass a female tourist") and a mean train-ticket woman in Camogli in 1995.

People might well be saying horrible things about us that we do not understand, but I am willing to give them the benefit of the doubt.

Yank, some of the friendliest, nicest people I ever met were the Scots.
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