Tuesday, 21 February 2012

The People

Hello and welcome to a segment I like to call MythBusters: Study Abroad Addition.  Today we will be attempting to bust the myth that most Americans believe about the people across the pond.  We think the British do not like Americans in the least and, therefore, can be rude towards said Americans.  In order to bust this myth, I have gathered information in the field by setting up several, genuine, interactions.  Okay, so mostly I just wander about a lot and end up finding interesting people, but more on that later.

The main thing to remember is that, like Americans, the British do not enjoy an obnoxious group of young adults acting like they own the place.  I mean, how many times how you glared at a large gaggle of giggling girls who refuse to move out of their five across formation?  Too many to count?  I thought so.  This can lead to the cashier, waitress, or ticket taker to be short with you; not because they happen to hate Americans, but because it is rude to walk into the store, restaurant, or castle and act like you own the place.  Luckily, this is easily fixed: be respectful of those around you.  Remember that you are a guest in this country, so you should strive to be a good one.  Also, never underestimate the power of "please" and "thank you."  Common sense, I know, but you'd be surprised at how few actually use them.

Something some Americans might not know, however, is that the British think we are very loud.  It's not the sound of our "accent" that makes them cringe; it's how loudly we're using said accent.  We might think we're talking at a very normal volume, but to someone from a different country it may seem like we're shouting in their face.  This doesn't mean you have to whisper, but it may be a good thing to dial down your volume a notch or two, just in case.

She also helped us dress in full military regalia and took our picture!
If you follow these few simple guidelines, you never know the interesting people you might meet.  In fact, most people I've come across really enjoy talking to polite Americans.  They love to tell you some of their favorite places around the city and make suggestions on what you should see while you're visiting.  Some of my friends and I went to Cardiff this past weekend and met this lovely woman who worked in the history of war section (called The Firing Line) in Cardiff Castle.  She told us all of the fun, must-sees in the city and was really excited when we told her we planned on going to most of the places she had mentioned.  She went on to ask where else we planned on going while we were in the UK and gave us a list of places to go to in Bath this weekend (she mentioned a speciality Cadbury hot chocolate and sweet shop that I am simply determined to find).  We spoke to her for a good twenty minutes before saying good-bye, and the information she gave us was priceless.

So, the myth that the British hate Americans: busted.  They love to share their wonderful country with you as long as you're polite and interested.

Also, one more helpful hint before I go.  Instead of asking what state you are from, they often ask what region you are from.  Chances are if you just say the name of your state they'll know exactly where you come from.  Hopefully this will prevent you from looking like an idiot when you're silent for a few seconds wondering if you should say the mid-west, America, or Wisconsin.  It's too late for me (one cashier at Asda probably thinks I'm a little slow), but there's still hope for you!

1 comment:

  1. Enjoyed the blog and the good sense tips. Enjoy your visit and keep meeting interesting people and making countless memories.