Locals Share The Biggest Misconceptions About Their Country
It seems that no matter where you live, people are going to assume things about your beloved country. They think you either do things at an earlier age or use animals as transportation. Because of sitcoms and typical rumors, it’s sometimes hard to dispel these things to the average person. These people discuss some horrible misconceptions people have made about where they live.
35. Have You Had Your Break Today?
I will start this off with saying I am from the US. Years ago while I was in Taiwan I stayed with a family for two weeks before my friend came back to town for me to stay with them. During this time, the family was very hospitable and was fantastic. Every afternoon for lunch, they would take me to McDonald’s. Every evening they would bring home Pizza Hut for dinner. It didn’t take me long to realize that they were doing this on my behalf, but I let it slide because I wasn’t gonna turn down free pizza. After a week I finally told them, they don’t need to do this every day for me. They stated that they thought that is what every American ate daily. McD’s for lunch and Pizza Hut for dinner. As a man nearly 30 years old now. I can’t say that they were wrong. Regardless, I talked them into making traditional meals that they normally had, they were so much better than any McD’s or Pizza Hut. Except for the McRib.
34. Getting Ink Done
Indian here (from Mumbai). This happened while I was in London. Meet a distant cousin at a wedding, he asks about the Harry Potter tattoo on my ankle, presuming I got it done in London. I tell him I got it a while ago, back home. He couldn’t believe that Mumbai had tattoo parlours. He then proceeds to compliment me on my English, which seemed to have “really improved”. I was in London to study for my Master’s. In PUBLISHING. To become a Book Editor.
P.S.: It’s not like he’d not visited Mumbai before and this guy’s ‘worldly’ knowledge comes from having been brought up in Leicester and attended uni at Leeds. I didn’t know whether to laugh or hit him on the head.
33. Born To Be Free
That Finland is still under Russian rule.
A friend went to an exchange student program somewhere in the bible belt I think, and actually argued about this with a teacher. The teacher was adamant that Finland never won their independence, were still a part of Russia.
Another gem came a year later, when another friend took a year in the states. “How do you handle the polar bears?” I guess just having landmass in the arctic circle qualifies for polar bear land.
32. This Bud’s For You
When I was in high school, we went on an exchange with an Italian high school. A classmate of mine had a host mom that packed lunches for her kid and him, only they were a bit different. Her kid got a normal lunch. My classmate got bread and two different sort of drinks, one for breakfast and one for lunch, because she honestly thought that that is for Germans what water is for the rest of the world.
31. Hopping To School
Will never forget this lady in NYC while I was holidaying was convinced that Australian schoolchildren rode kangaroos to school. Not jokingly, with a straight face. She talked about the dangers of allowing kids near wild animals.
Being a relatively shy person I tried to end the conversation as it took all on my willpower not to laugh so instead I made the mistake of agreeing. This led to a 20 minute conversation about my imaginary kangaroo named Frank who ended up drowning. His imaginery death was too painful for me to have any reminder which is why I had no pictures.
30. Long Road Trip
Less of a misconception and more of a lack of understanding: the times required to travel between places in the US.
I spent 5 years teaching in South Korea and more time traveling around, made a lot of friends from everywhere. Most of them had no clue how big the US actually was. They’d be planning vacations and the plan would be something like 2 days in New York, then they’d drive over and spend the afternoon in Chicago, and they’d leave the next day and spend the next day in vegas before heading to LA to finish out their week vacation. They had absolutely no concept of how far apart these things actually are, and never seemed to do any research into it. Soooo many people planning to see LA and NY on consecutive days while driving between them.
29. Living The Good Life
Someone once told me that they thought everyone in America is incredibly wealthy because all of the houses are so big. Compared to a lot of countries most Americans are doing fantastically, but I think this person meant that we all live in mansions and drive Ferraris when they said “rich”, not “the majority of the population has a roof over their heads and usually get to eat three meals a day.”
28. The Land Of The Midnight Sun
A Russian exchange student told me that her friends didn’t know what language we spoke here in Sweden. They were convinced that we just spoke English. Which, I mean, is fair enough, since like 85 percent of our population speak passable English but come on! Also, her mother was convinced that we had winter all year round and wanted her to pack nothing but winter clothing. I’m surprised she didn’t mention the polar bears we ride to school as children.
27. Baby, It’s (Not So) Cold Outside
Mine mainly involve people from other temperate areas of Europe assuming that English weather is bordering on arctic, when the temperatures are actually not much different from their home regions, or often in some cases slightly warmer.
I had a friend from Northern Spain (it gets really cold up there in winter and he lived about 30 miles from a ski resort) who was heading to Southern England in October. His friends and family in Spain worked him into such a state about how freezing cold it would be in England that he went to a ski shop and bought a big puffy ski coat and ski gloves and hat. It was like 10ºC when he arrived, so chilly, but hardly arctic conditions and he was very surprised that it snows way less here than it does in his home town.
Also apparently in France they have a stereotype that it’s really foggy in England. It’s very rarely foggy. I think the misconception comes from the early 20th century when there was smog in London, but a) that was just London and b) that was pollution, not weather [and c) we got rid of that at least 50 years ago].
26. Spice Up Your Life
I’m Cuban and the all-too-common stereotype that annoys me most is that we eat a lot of spicy food (which is not true at all). So people don’t warn me/expect me to be okay with eating spicy foods and then my mouth will be on fire with no warning. We’re not Mexicans. We have zero spiciness in our diet. I can barely handle pepperoni. Please stop assaulting my tongue.
25. Wrong Country, Dad
About 15 years ago I was talking with my (Australian) dad and I can’t remember how the topic came up exactly, but he thought the capital of Mexico was Barcelona. It was just so out of the blue and weird because he’s pretty intelligent in general and I almost thought he was joking at first.
When I politely set him straight about that not being the capital of Mexico and not even the capital of Spain he seemed so embarrassed about it and as I remember it he just changed the topic, I can only guess he thought of Barcelona because of the 1992 Olympics and somehow conflated those two Spanish speaking countries together in his head for some reason.
24. Animals Running Wild
I met two Australians in Tokyo (I’m an American) that were telling me about how we have much bigger animals than them that could hurt us at any time(?). After some prodding around the statement, it was apparent that they thought we just had grizzly bears and bobcats(?) waltzing around. I live in Oregon and I haven’t seen either of those animals outside of the zoo. It was a pretty funny conversation and we all laughed about it later. One of the best nights I had in Tokyo!
23. Just Like Every Other Country
CANADA. My boyfriend and I were on vacation in Cancun when I was in my early 20’s and we were on some sort of tour/excursion outside of the resort. We were waiting for the bus to pick us up to take us to the next location and were passing time by chatting with another couple, who happened to be American. The wife asked me if I had to buy a whole new wardrobe in order to come to Mexico. Uhhh, no… we do have summer in Canada. To her surprise, it regularly exceeds 26°C (79°F) during the summer and I even live in North America’s northernmost major city (where a major city is defined as a metropolitan area with a population over 1 million).
It has always puzzled me how some people rationalize how when crossing the US- Canada borders the climate changes (from that of Seattle, Detroit, Buffalo, etc.) to an Arctic one with year round snow, igloos and snowmobiles.
22. Ahead In Technology
I grew up in Israel. In the nineties when I first went on the internet and chatted with Americans I was surprised to learn how many of them think that we all live in tents and get around on camel backs. I didn’t have the heart to tell them that the Intel CPUs in their computers had probably been designed and manufactured there.
21. A Haunting Drop
An American friend of mine encountered drop bears in the monster manual for d20 Modern and assumed they were as made up as dragons or goblins. You can imagine his surprise when one narrowly missed him when he was on a nature hike here in Australia a few years ago. I wasn’t there, unfortunately, but I’m told his girlish scream was pretty hilarious.
20. Get That Modem Going
Waaow, South Africa. So do you guys, like, have lions walking around?
My friend’s brother made a lot of online friends, and he made a point of messing with them as far as possible. At one point, he was asked if they had Internet. From someone he had met online… He tried to convince her that we use zebras for ethernet ports, but the difficulty is getting them to stay still for long enough.
19. One Potato, Two Potato
Russia. Went to Italy for a month as an 11 year old exchange….child. I had to eat so much potatoes. Breakfast? Potatoes and lemon! Lunch. Potatoes and basil! Dinner? Potatoes and veggie and some sort of meat! Don’t want potatoes?! MORE POTATOES!!! Although I think they were informed that these dudes( a group of Russian boys and girls) like nothing but potatoes and were trying to be helpful. The people were incredibly nice though and I had a blast! Though that many potatoes made me so gassy it made me embarrassed and I had like no Italian to explain.
18. A Cold Awakening
A European acquaintance visiting my country, Australia, was gobsmacked that we had cool weather in Melbourne in spring. He proposed that he might leave Melbourne for Tasmania, our most southern state. I asked what he intended to do there. He planned to lie on a beach for several days to get an Australian suntan and experience the island lifestyle. I had to break it to him gently that we are in the southern hemisphere …. so South is cold, North is hot.
17. Year Of The Snake
India. People eat meat, go out like crazy. And also, not everyone is smart. We do see cows on streets blocking traffic which has reduced. But we surely don’t see snakes lying around with the charmer. Also known as a 3rd world country, technological people are in the 1st world but mindset it still 3rd world which would change with the next generation. Btw, On my way for a delicious cheeseburger.
16. Not That Nice, Eh?
That Canadians are nice.
Some are. Some parts of the country (like the east coast) have it as a cultural value. The rest of the country is largely just polite, not nice. I’ve met far more genuinely friendly, warm people in the southern States than in Canadian cities (outside of the east coast).
15. Hut, Hut, Hike!
Live in The Bahamas. People don’t understand how ridiculously foolish they sound when they ask If we live in huts. I can never and will never take that question serious…..somehow I took a plane to your country but you still feel the need to ask if we all live in huts
14. The Cowboy Rides Away
I’m a bit late, but we used to get a lot of German exchange students in my tiny rural high school in Arizona (I think the organizers were just trying to find the exact opposite of a large German city.)
All of them thought cowboys weren’t real anymore. Like knights in armor or something– they used to exist, but not anymore. Boy, were they excited during rodeo week every year. One girl about fainted when she found out a couple fellow students actually rode broncs and roped cattle.
13. Game Winning Hero
I live in Texas and in highschool we had a foreign exchange student from Germany. He had no idea that we actually played (American) football in high school. We were sophomores in a large football program, we convinced him to join, and he played on the J.V. team with the majority of us. He ended up being our kicker and TE. Our last game of the season he caught the game winning pass then kicked the PAT, I imagine he’ll never forget that awesome moment lol
12. Land Of The Palms
All Brazilian woman are beautiful! when an old bf of mine and I broke up … later that same year he visited Brazil for Rock n Rio festival and he later said to me he thought every Brazilian woman would look like me and he was surprised at how many women he was not attracted to. I’ve seen my fair share of Brazilians and we’re like every other country.when it comes to “looks” it varies. And of course the same goes for Brazilian men.
All Brazilians get a wax! it’s def the majority of woman that get the wax but there are many women who prefer to shave or just bleach the hair, so the hair turns blonde.
And although I like soccer I only watch it during the soccer World Cup every 4 years and there are many other Brazilians that do the same and many who don’t even like sports at all. But even if you don’t like sports when the World Cup comes around we all root for them.
11. Fake News Indeed
I’m from South Africa. A little place the rest of the world thinks Lions roam the streets, we have no Internet and there aren’t any white people. Also, your adverts make people think there are tons of little starving kids with flies on their eyes. Yes, we have crime, there’s quite some big problems and the tourists can see the big five. In a park, far away from the cities.
10. Turks In All Flavors
As a Turkish bloke, everyone thinks we are dark skinned and dark haired etc. Definitely not. Most Turks are white skinned, some pale and some even gingers, or blonde as much as Scandinavians. so we Turks can’t even say whether someone is Turkish or not.
Oh, I also get “Tu italiano??” quite a lot.
9. Oil Of Angels
That we’re all rich, spoilt, posh people with oil money coming out of our ears. Some people don’t know we only found oil in the 70’s and most of our parent generation had a meager upbringing, growing up amongst farmers with the toilet in an outhouse. The reason why our country has been doing well is due to the saving of that oil money. Not generations of wealthy families. (Norwegian)
8. Big Fat Greek Misunderstanding
Greek here. You would be surprised how many times I have been asked if I “worship Zeus”. I mean- you can literally read about the Apostle Paul corresponding with us in the New Testament! We were Christians like hundreds of years before most westerners!
Also- we don’t break plates, we throw flowers.
7. 100% Middle Earth
That we’re a part of Australia or located somewhere in Europe. I’m from New Zealand…. Also once heard someone say they were surprised when they got here because they didn’t think we had cities or power etc, they thought we were a third world country (in some ways we are but not this bad) and lived in tribal villages.
6. Out Of Lives
USA here. Apparently, the Europeans have this story floating around about an American woman putting a wet cat in the microwave to dry out its fur, and then suing the microwave manufacturer over what inevitably happened. It seems like every European has heard of this story and yet no Americans know about this.
5. The Tooth Is Out There
The idea that British people have bad teeth. It’s not that it’s particularly offensive; it’s just that it’s wrong to a bizarre degree. In fact, we have pretty much the best average dental health in the world. Which is fine as such; there are plenty of stereotypes which are wildly inaccurate. But it’s also a belief that’s pretty much unique to Americans, so far as I know. Literally, no-one makes these jokes.
4. America Without The Excessive Buildings
That Australia is a small country because of its population size. Geographically it is a similar size to the USA. It takes 5.5 hours to fly from one coast to the other. Australia’s population density is roughly 3.1 people/sq km. We have 24million people living on a continent the size of USA
3. Such Great Heights
South Korean here. My ex-English teacher from the US once said that when he told his friends that he will go South Korea, all of them told him he will see all people shorter than him. However, as he came to Korea, he saw many people are in the same hight. He was 6 feet(183cm approx).
2. Carry That Weight
That the USA is the fattest country in the world. Look it up I think last time I checked we were number 8 out of 10. The top 3 were middle eastern countries where lack of food and increasing appearance of cheap accessibility to fast food as doomed them
1. No Fancy Attire Here
It seems a lot of people think Canadian police look like Dudley Do-Right. I remember a bit on Fox news a few years ago where a bunch of anchors were going off on how pathetic Canada was — but their main point was the police wore redcoats and rode horses.
(For anyone who doesn’t know the Red coat and stripey pants are formal gear for parades and such. For day to day activity RCMP dress pretty much like US cops) Most of the time you’d be dealing with various city departments anyway, which are a pretty mixed bag.