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Old 01-15-2009, 12:29 PM
 
Location: Port Chester
10 posts, read 87,126 times
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I love to travel, but I loathe xenophobia. It is a strange concept to me, to not be interested in learning about other cultures, meeting different people.

For instance, recently I was talking to a Slovakian woman and man, and they were very friendly, quick to talk geography and travel, languages and culture. But recently when I have met French people, they seem to take no interest in such conversation. I have found it difficult in general to get a conversation going with French people.

A rule of Islam is to welcome foreigners. I have no experience traveling in the Arab world, but it would seem that despite stereotypes people would be welcomed there.

Can you name which countries you have been too that are xenophobic, so I can put them on the bottom of my list of places I wish to visit? Vice versa?
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Old 01-15-2009, 01:13 PM
 
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It depends - xenophobic against whom? You mentioned Slovakia. Interestingly enough it's not the greatest country for the Romany minority.

I understand xenophobia is a dislike for foreigners. But dislike or aloofness is not always because of racism or ethnocentrism. Social classes of the same nationality and ethnicity discriminate against each other. Scandinavians can be cold against strangers. It's a mentality against their own kind too.

The Arab world is not all the same. I've got a German friend who lived in Yemen, which is one of the poorer and more radical Arab countries. He said they dislike Americans, but like Germans because the latter don't have an interest to meddle in their affairs. He used to make sure taxi drivers (for some reason they are xenophobic in most countries, you wouldn't want to know what British ones told me) know he's German.

As a visitor I don't think there's much to be concerned about unless you would run the risk of being a victim of violence.

Last edited by internat; 01-15-2009 at 01:25 PM..
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Old 01-15-2009, 01:19 PM
 
Location: Port Chester
10 posts, read 87,126 times
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Ahhh yes, I didn't factor that some countries and ethnicities have bitter rivalries. For instance I wouldn't want to be a Turk traveling in Greece.

I am an American, caucasian.
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Old 01-15-2009, 01:38 PM
 
Location: Axarquía, Andalucía, Spain
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Scotland isn't xenophobic.
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Old 01-15-2009, 01:40 PM
 
1,148 posts, read 4,119,314 times
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Quote:
Originally Posted by soahc View Post
Ahhh yes, I didn't factor that some countries and ethnicities have bitter rivalries. For instance I wouldn't want to be a Turk traveling in Greece.

I am an American, caucasian.
Generally speaking, the former eastern bloc countries aren't as politically correct as northwest European countries. Having been closed to the outside world they aren't multi-cultural. You can just compare the football (soccer) teams of most European countries with the French, Dutch and English team.

You should be fine when it comes to racism as you're caucasian. A lot of foreigners in Europe are the underclass so it depends if you can pass for one of them. It's sometimes easy to tell apart American tourists though. A lot of caucasians look foreign in Scandinavia. Russia might be the exception against people who look like they are from the Caucasus. From what I know Brits and Scandinavians are the most American friendly.

I think you're more concerned about being able to have a good conversation. Some countries are simply more polite than friendly. You won't be met with "southern hospitality" in most of northern Europe. Being American if anything you're more likely to encounter people who are bitter against American foreign policy. There's a thread now in the UK forum about anti-American feelings.

I've had American friends who felt uncomfortable having been asked political questions. I don't think a lot of Americans are used to it and get nervous.
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Old 01-15-2009, 01:41 PM
 
1,148 posts, read 4,119,314 times
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Originally Posted by Scotslass View Post
Scotland isn't xenophobic.
In my experience, the Scottish are more relaxed and less formal than the English. I'm thinking mostly of the southern English. Northern England (I only know the northwest) is a bit different.
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Old 01-15-2009, 01:47 PM
 
Location: Port Chester
10 posts, read 87,126 times
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Yes, conversation is important to me. I am an avid geographer. When I meet someone from a different culture I ask questions, many questions. If they speak a foreign language I try to learn what I can. In this sense Southern hospitality would be a good example, yes. I am just wondering which cultures are open to curious traveleurs. The French do not seem to be. I ask them questions, and they shut the conversation down. They do not oblige my desire to practice my French.
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Old 01-15-2009, 02:24 PM
 
1,148 posts, read 4,119,314 times
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Quote:
Originally Posted by soahc View Post
Yes, conversation is important to me. I am an avid geographer. When I meet someone from a different culture I ask questions, many questions. If they speak a foreign language I try to learn what I can. In this sense Southern hospitality would be a good example, yes. I am just wondering which cultures are open to curious traveleurs.
I like geography too. Americans are known for having poor knowledge about geography so they will appreciate that.

It's not going to be easy to get to know random strangers. I've never been to Thailand but people close to me who have told me the locals are so nice to you it's almost embarrassing.

When I was in Ukraine even young women tried to force me to speak Ukrainian or Russian to them instead of English (even the ones who could speak the language!). A few of them were clearly nationalistic. The recent political climate against Britain and USA had affected them.

From the way you describe yourself you would feel the most comfortable where people are a little more extraverted. Denmark will be the best country for you in Scandinavia. Don't expect to be invited to the home of some random person in Finland. It just doesn't happen - except maybe rare cases.

I found the Dutch to be quite open and they speak excellent English. The Irish can be chatty, especially when they drink. They enjoy a good craic.

Otherwise it would be mostly Mediterranean countries. The problem with southern Europe is that few speak (even young people) comprehensible English so you won't be able to have much of a conversation unless you can speak the local language. You're more likely to find something similar to southern politeness among Iranians love (one should forget politics - definitely more than ordinary Arabs who are allies on government level) American people and are hospitable.

Quote:
The French do not seem to be. I ask them questions, and they shut the conversation down. They do not oblige my desire to practice my French.
I know there's such a stereotype of the French that they only want to speak in their own language. French was once an important language. The few French people I've been in contact with have not acted the way you describe. I didn't meet them in France though.
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Old 01-15-2009, 02:55 PM
 
Location: Port Chester
10 posts, read 87,126 times
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Quote:
Originally Posted by internat View Post
I like geography too. Americans are known for having poor knowledge about geography so they will appreciate that.

It's not going to be easy to get to know random strangers. I've never been to Thailand but people close to me who have told me the locals are so nice to you it's almost embarrassing.
Indeed I have heard that Thailand is the "land of smiles". I would love to travel there sometime.
Quote:
From the way you describe yourself you would feel the most comfortable where people are a little more extraverted.
It is funny, because around many American's and other people who haven't travelled much, I am quite introverted. The subjects I like to talk about are travelling, culture, language, geography. My fellow American's chatter often about mundane things that bore me.


Quote:
I know there's such a stereotype of the French that they only want to speak in their own language. French was once an important language. The few French people I've been in contact with have not acted the way you describe. I didn't meet them in France though.
Yes, they may prefer to speak French, but that does not mean that they are likely to indulge an American who has very limited French to practice the language.

My main peeve is foreigners who do not welcome questions about their native culture, cuisine, language, etc. This has happened to me many times, and I consider it rude.
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Old 01-15-2009, 03:17 PM
 
Location: Axarquía, Andalucía, Spain
2,940 posts, read 5,172,133 times
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Quote:
Originally Posted by internat View Post
In my experience, the Scottish are more relaxed and less formal than the English. I'm thinking mostly of the southern English. Northern England (I only know the northwest) is a bit different.
Your correct, we are relaxed, open and friendly and can make anyone feel at ease no matter where they are from.
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