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How People Feel About Us

This week, we read a document with experiences from study abroad students from a university (I think Brown). In this document, students display a wide variety of foreign beliefs about Americans. The way that these students spoke of how people felt about us was a very revealing experience, and I can definitely say that it has had an impact on how I plan on approaching my study abroad experience.

The variety of opinions about Americans is what stood out to me the most. Students that studied in Western European countries such as France or England display a rather positive experience. They said that foreign people were very friendly to them and that the only negative experiences they had were in rather sketchy parts of the city they were studying in (which, in some cases, was nowhere).

Students studying in Africa or Eastern Europe, however, had a much different experience. Students in Africa said that they felt very uncomfortable in certain instances because, for the first time in their lives, they were the minority. In Eastern Europe, civilians had a very hostile approach to the exchange students, which they attributed to the fact that the socioeconomic status of Americans is typically better than that of Eastern European countries.

What I read in this document had a fairly sufficient impact on how I will go about studying abroad. I realized that I will be treated differently based on the country I could potentially be in. I have to keep this in consideration because I haven’t made a clear decision in regards to my future, and the information I read could make or break where I decide to study.

1 Comment

  1. Hi Sam,

    I find your point on western countries vs. those in Africa/Eastern Europe to be interesting. I can say that, as an person who has had their own conceptions of Americans, I agree. In England, most Americans are treated well. Talking loudly or being overly friendly does not go over too well… but other than that, the England are friendly. Scots and the Irish are even more friendly.

    In Western Europe, the people generally are friendlier if you make an effort (it can be futile) to speak their language. I cannot attest towards Africa, or Eastern Europe, I have never lived in either.

    Do you have any ideas as to why these differences exist? Are they even real, or are these students from Brown providing skewed data?

    I’m sure that wherever you end up, you will have a great experience.

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