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Sunpower



Joined: 22 Jan 2003
Posts: 256
Location: Taipei, TAIWAN

PostPosted: Sun May 04, 2003 5:50 pm    Post subject: Reply with quote

I see that Americans get knocked for not knowing enough about places and things going on outside its own borders.

But having lived in Asia for a few years now, I can confidently say that the majority of Asians have very little interest in and no idea where Canada is or many other countries for that matter.

The Japanese, on balance, it would seem, could care less about what happens outside their own country.

I turned to a world map in one of my Headway text books and asked my 2 25 year old Chinese female students to tell me what continent I was pointing to (Africa). They didn't know.

One woman said Australia.

I pointed to Brazil and the other woman said, 'Korea!'

I asked them to show me Canada and they had problems. I asked them what country neighbored Canada.

A long silence - They didn't quite know.

I eventually straightened them out on continents and Capital cities and some other info.

I was in disbelief.
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Beemers



Joined: 09 Apr 2003
Posts: 7

PostPosted: Sun May 04, 2003 6:15 pm    Post subject: Re: knowing about other places Reply with quote

scot47 wrote:
It would benice if we all knew something about other places. Am I being unrealistic to expect that people working in the field of education and Foreign Language Teaching should be a teensy-weensy bit aware of cultural differences ?


Yes, it would be nice. Hopefully, through sharing our experiences and our ability and desire to travel to different countries we will be able to learn of different cultures. I know I will be humbled if I go overseas, and am sure I will make many social faux-pas and will be the butt of many jokes, but I think that will make me more aware of other people, and the quirks of my own culture. I honestly can't wait!!!!

Very Happy
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SueH



Joined: 01 Feb 2003
Posts: 1022
Location: Northern Italy

PostPosted: Sun May 04, 2003 9:26 pm    Post subject: Reply with quote

Like Sunpower I once struggled with Headway, a world map and some Chinese students. They knew absolutely nothing and I am just praying that later in the year I don't get allocated to the Chinese motor vehicle technician students coming to my college in England..

As to the comments about Americans in general I think we have to remember how far some of them are from 'abroad'. Where I am it's a 12 hour sail in a yacht or a couple of hours in the ferry to France and places East. Having crossed the US by Greyhound I know that Oklahoma (for example) is a long way from anywhere!
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spatrick



Joined: 09 Apr 2003
Posts: 31

PostPosted: Sun May 04, 2003 11:46 pm    Post subject: Reply with quote

My two favs are:

From EFL students: why doesn't "Mike" sound like "Nike"

From US folks: Oh, you lived in XXXXX, isn't that next to Russia?

Of course, my fallback loved one is the perennial, Oh, you're from the US, do you know ....
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Roger



Joined: 19 Jan 2003
Posts: 9138

PostPosted: Mon May 05, 2003 4:25 am    Post subject: Reply with quote

Some of the commonplaces that are part and parcel of Chinese "knowledge of foreign countries":

- Americans are good at business!

- The French are the most romantic people in the world! And their
divorce rate is much higher than the rate in China...

- Australia is a big chunk of a country with a very small population...

- Africa is hot, very hot, so all Africans must be black, dirty and poor
("so you are from South Africa? How come your skin is white???")

- Tibetans look like Chinese, but we can tell a Japanese from a CHinese!

- The capital city of Switzerland is Geneva (perhaps because the UNO
runs its European HQ's there?)

- AIDS is a Westerners' disease!
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Celeste



Joined: 17 Jan 2003
Posts: 814
Location: Fukuoka City, Japan

PostPosted: Mon May 05, 2003 7:32 am    Post subject: Reply with quote

spatrick- When I lived in Korea, someone said to me "Oh, you're from Canada? Do you know ...?" And as it turned out, the person in question had been a classmate of mine in university. Small world, eh?
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Capergirl



Joined: 02 Feb 2003
Posts: 1232
Location: Nova Scotia, Canada

PostPosted: Mon May 05, 2003 10:58 am    Post subject: Reply with quote

Roger wrote:
-

- AIDS is a Westerners' disease!


We were discussing AIDS in my multicultural conversation class last week. I was surprised to discover that my African students believed that not only did AIDS not come from Africa, but that American scientists created AIDS and unleashed it in parts of Africa to exterminate black people. They wholeheartedly believe that so many are dying in Africa from AIDS because of racism...that they didn't have any problems with diseases until Westerners started traveling to Africa. Shocked

I have to say, their comments took me back a bit. However, I did not become involved in the discussion....just found it very interesting and a bit shocking that they held those views.
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Lucy Snow



Joined: 16 Jan 2003
Posts: 218
Location: US

PostPosted: Mon May 05, 2003 12:21 pm    Post subject: Reply with quote

That attitude is what's caused so many problems in treating/stopping AIDS in Africa. When you have the president of South Africa claiming that the drugs that treat HIV are poison, when other leaders in Africa claim that it was a form of biological warfare waged by Westerners, and when drug companies in the West refuse to lower their prices, it's really difficult to get down to the business of actually treating the disease.

What's really worrying is not only that there are so many orphans because of this disease, but now girls as young as 6 months old are raped in parts of Africa because it's believed it will either protect the man from AIDS, or that because the child is so young, she won't pass the disease on to him.
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scot47



Joined: 10 Jan 2003
Posts: 12203
Location: Ultima Thule

PostPosted: Mon May 05, 2003 4:52 pm    Post subject: AIDS - it's all an imperialist plot Reply with quote

"AIDS as CIA Conspiracy Against Africa" This story has been around for a long time. The idea that it originated as germ warfare against a coalition of the CIA and Apartheid South Africa is hardly new.

Interesting how these nice, easy explanations of disaster put all the responsibilty on someone else. This mindset of blaming the Colonialists, Imperialists, or the Capitalists or the Zionists seems an easy way to get out of accepting responsibilty for a disaster and doing something about it.
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Chunderbuttocks



Joined: 09 Apr 2003
Posts: 7
Location: Mexico

PostPosted: Mon May 05, 2003 5:23 pm    Post subject: Accents Reply with quote

Someone mentioned being told they hadn't lost their accent after living in Japan for 12 years...

Well I have no idea about picking up a Japanese accent, but I know a ton of people who have returned from afar (particularly OZ for some reason) who have returned with the strangest twang!
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Lucy Snow



Joined: 16 Jan 2003
Posts: 218
Location: US

PostPosted: Mon May 05, 2003 6:51 pm    Post subject: Accents Reply with quote

After living in Japan for about 5 years, I was told by someone in my hometown that I talked a little funny. Since everyone in my hometown sounds like they're in the movie Fargo, I took that as a compliment.
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scot47



Joined: 10 Jan 2003
Posts: 12203
Location: Ultima Thule

PostPosted: Mon May 05, 2003 6:58 pm    Post subject: losing your original accent Reply with quote

Losing your original accent is part of the whole process of being "decultured" that happens to many of us. It goes hand-in-hand with losing touch with what is happening "back home". For some of us this may be a liberation !
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johnslat



Joined: 21 Jan 2003
Posts: 12438
Location: Santa Fe, New Mexico, USA

PostPosted: Tue May 06, 2003 3:19 am    Post subject: Freedom's just another word for nothing left to lose Reply with quote

Dear scot47,
Ah, yet another area where we Yanks have the advantage. You can't be " decultured " you see, if you don't have any to begin with. Eat your heart out.
Regards,
John
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veiledsentiments



Joined: 20 Feb 2003
Posts: 15998
Location: USA

PostPosted: Tue May 06, 2003 3:35 am    Post subject: accents? Reply with quote

First off Lucy - just what is wrong with sounding like the movie Fargo?? I won't even get into the fact that their supposed North Dakota accents weren't quite right. ya sure, you betcha Smile

When I would come home in the summer, people around the US of A would constantly ask if I was British. ???? This really cracked up all the Brits that I worked with. None of them would have ever thought such a thing - as they guffawed at the mere idea.

I suspect that we tend to talk much more slowly than average and enunciate those consonants that most tend to ignore.
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isabel



Joined: 07 Mar 2003
Posts: 490
Location: God's green earth

PostPosted: Tue May 06, 2003 8:17 am    Post subject: Reply with quote

The only comments I generally get from people in the States concern safety (I am currently in Korea, but it was the same thing when I was in Mexico). Suffice it to say, I have felt safer in both those places compared to the U.S.- especially in gun free Korea, where nobody seems to lock much of anything.

In general there is a stupendous lack of curiousity about the world in the U.S.. And a great fear of the outside world.

I agree with a previous poster about the ignorance regarding geography in Korea. I was looking for my way around Taegu (in Southern Korea, where I live) and started showing a map to locals to get directions. They loooked at the map as if it were of Mars. They called other people over, and no one, no matter how many I asked, could even identify where we were at the moment (yes, the map was a local one in Korean.) Some of my Korean colleagues think that I am a genius because I know that a particular place is south-east of town, or north-west- all they seem to know is which bus to take and what other mall or bus station is nearby. They are curious about the world, but don't seem to know where it is.
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