Tuesday, 31 January 2012

Types of Americans

Ok, so I know I'm suppose to be taking more pictures. I already took a few, but they are not meant for this post. For this post, We need a map of the US.
I like this particular map because it has all the capitals on, of which I quizzed one of the UK students on and he knew quite a few of them impressively! Ok, moving on.

So, last night I went to a little get together with some of the other study abroad students. I met lots of people. It was fine. A little overwhelming because I think everyone was under the impression that there would maybe be 20 people... and there was double that number. When I arrived and introduced myself, I would say "I'm from the US. Where are you from?" And each one of them said "Germany". So, Germany makes up quite a large part of the study abroad population and includes the girl from my building I went to the get together with, Do Rina.

Ok, I know I'm not the only American in London. So let's talk about the Americans I did meet at this little get together. There were six people from Buffalo (four guys and two girls), three girls originally from San Diego that all go to the same college in San Francisco (but didn't know each other before their study abroad experience. PS they've been here since last semester), one girl from Chicago that was originally from Poland, one guy from Los Angeles, and one guy from New York. Ok, so take a look at the map. Yea yea yea, there is a girl from Chicago... but she is really from Poland, citizen of Poland and everything. 

Oh, and the guy from New York deserves mention. Dave. Dave from New York. I told him I was from a little town in the Midwest with a population of about 20,000. He said "20,000! Oh that's pretty big. I'm from a town of about that size." Happy to find someone to relate to, I asked "Really? Where in New York are you from?" To my dismay, he said "It's a suburb just outside New York City." And then, very boldly, I told him that his town of 20,000 does not count because suburbs are totally different from little town. We are surrounded on all four sides with corn fields. His little town of 20,000... is next to New York City! New York freaking CITY! When going to Louisville, Indianapolis, and (although I've never been) Chicago is somewhat of a treat, come see me. Dave Dave Dave.

Back to my original point. Look at the map. Look at where all those people were from. Now, do you see that gigantic gap in the middle? The gap that I merely touch the border of? Where are all those kids? I'd like to say that they chose cheaper study abroad destinations, but let's be real... How many students actually get to study abroad? Better yet, how many people from the US leave the country in their lives? (and, for some reason, I really don't think that a cruise to the Bahamas counts, but you could make an argument for it) I spoke with a girl from Russia that studies in Germany that said to me "When I talk to Americans, I feel like they really don't know what's going on in the world" Unfortunately, I think that stereotype has quite a bit of truth to it. But why? Maybe because we have everything we need here. East coast, west coast, huge country, plenty to see, plenty to do for a whole lifetime. Sometimes we do seem like our own world.

But we're not the only country in the world. And I think the best way to see that is to leave the country. I really think that college students, all college students, need to be encouraged to leave the country. They need to be told "This is something you can and should do." And that's the point I wanted to make. So now I'm off to my first day of orientation at the university. Maybe I will take some more pictures ;) Cheer!

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