Wry Exchange

Exchange Students are People, 2
05-20-08, 12:13 am
Filed under: Exchange Students

 I wrote a few weeks ago about stereotyping exchange students.   That post is Exchange Students are People, too.   We had some discussion about it.   I think I was trying to speak to people unfamiliar with foreign exchange students, or with any foreigner.   These people, including some of our relatives, believe the stereotypes are completely accurate.  All French people are snotty. (not true, maybe half )  All Chileans love spicy chiles.  Japanese are hard workers.  Bolivians do coke.  Italians are all in the Mafia.
 Anyone who has travelled to other countries, or met people from overseas knows the stereotypes are wrong.  With that said, stereotypes come up for a reason.  French people are at least as nationalistic as we are. Many South American boys are spoiled because their mothers or maids do everything for them.   One stereotype I believe is that Germans see things in black and white, with no shades of grey.  We all have prejudices in some way-class, race, wealth, skin color, family history, education, etc.

I think we have to go to FESlandia to understand the FESlandians.  It’s the only way to understand why they do what they do.  Every time we’ve gone to visit another country, we learn more about the people from there.  The best part of a trip is when we go “Ohhh, I see why he does it like that.”  It explains so much.  It’s one of the reasons I encourage parents to visit their child while s/he is abroad.


4 Comments so far
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I’ll share a story.

We hosted students from the former Soviet Union. They had the ability to stay up incredibly late and sleep until past noon. I know this is generally a teenage trait, but they carried it to extremes, and they were all similar in this regard.

When I went to visit, it was apparent why this was the case. Soviet apartment blocks are made of concrete (which heat up all day) and have no air conditioning. On top of that, you can’t open the windows because the mosquitos are so terrible. So, the apartments are miserably hot until maybe 3 or 4 in the morning. At 2-3 am, everyone is still outside waiting for the apartments to cool.

Comment by Theo

lap says : I absolutely agree with this !

Comment by lap

it’s true that’s the only way to know….
one more thing: come on are you serious? i’m bolivian and i know there’s people who do coke, but it is just like in any country, it’s not like everybody does it! people shouldn’t go and talk just like that without really knowing

Comment by dan

No, Dan, I didn’t mean it. But, I’ve had people ask my Bolivian students if ‘everyone’ uses cocaine. My students typically answer that drugs are much easier to come by in the US than in South America. Shuts them up every time!

Comment by Wry

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