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15 Americans teachers abroad share the craziest stereotypes students had about the USA.

15 Americans teachers abroad share the craziest stereotypes students had about the USA.


Leaving your country of origin to explore can be massively exciting and eye-opening.

There's something really amazing about witnessing just how many different ways there are to live, eat, and process the world.

But one of the funniest parts of the experience can be hearing all the stereotypes and rumors about your country of origin. America, as a loud and politically moneyed country, has amassed quite lot of stereotypes for both good and bad reasons.

In a popular Reddit thread, American teachers abroad shared some of the craziest and funniest things their students believe about the USA.

1. From willmaster123:

At my high school, I was the immigrant mediator who would teach newly arrived Russian and Ukrainian immigrants (and sometimes Jamaican and Haitian immigrants) English and assimilate them into American society.

This was in southern Brooklyn, where there were thousands of Russian immigrants coming in during the early 2000s every year. I was picked for the Russians mostly because I was from Chechnya and knew Russian.

The biggest thing they would ask is how do they start with dealing drugs, joining gangs, and where is the nearest gun store.

They came from places with atrocious crime, and often they were criminals, and they probably heard about American drug and gang problems and thought they could make a better living doing that in America.

They had watched movies like the Godfather or even stuff like Menace II society and thought America was this bada*s outlaw land, when in reality their countries were a ton worse.

Many of them came during the 2000s during the early Putin era when crime was dropping fast and it became harder to be a criminal in Russia.

But many were shocked that NYC was not the crime-filled nation it was back in the 1980s and 1990s.

2. From rellef:

When I was teaching in Spain, I introduced myself to the class and told them I'm from Miami. I hear a kid shout out in Spanish 'Wow! How is this guy alive??'

CSI Miami/Dexter/Miami Vice have really corrupted foreigner's views of my city :(

3. From katie5386:

I was living in Tokyo in 2006 and the movie '8 Mile' was still a pretty big hit over there. When people would ask where in America I was from and I would respond with Detroit, they would go nuts.

They would immediately ask how many shootings have I seen, if I knew Eminem, and so on. I could feel my bada*s points going down each time I responded with 'no...'

4. From selery:

I was presenting at an exhibition in Shanghai of about 95% Chinese people, and a young woman came up asked me where I was from. I am white with brown hair and eyes.

When I said I was American, she looked baffled and responded, 'But don't all Americans have blue eyes?' A lot of people also think all Americans are fat and tall. It is a bit more understandable when the person is old.

An old man in a Shanghai park asked where I was from and when I said the US, he hollered 'Then how are you so short???' (I'm just over 5'2)

5. From paper_birds:

In South Korea here. Have been asked by co-workers if high schools really have vending machines full of birth control pills. Also, if I know any cowboys (not the football team) and if I have a gun back home.

Students ask me if I know Obama. Some kids yell 'Obama!' any time they see a Black person in their books or in a video. We're working on that.

6. From Cameron92:

They asked me to explain what 'white trash' meant. And then they got confused when I said that it didn't apply to Black people.

7. From beastjjang:

My students seemed pretty shocked I didn't personally know Obama. Also, they call every Black guy Obama and every black girl Beyonce.

8. From ask_me_if_Im_lying:

A friend of mine did a few years teaching in South Korea, and every new class he taught, there was always at least one kid who would ask him if he knew Leonardo DiCaprio. They were always so disappointed when he said no.

9. From ethertrace:

When I was teaching English in Japan, I had a 15 year old girl ask me if I saw everything in blue because my eyes are blue. I almost laughed, but she was dead serious and everyone else looked at me expectantly while waiting for the answer.

Not a specifically American stereotype, but similarly indicative of an insulated culture. Which actually reminds me, I also had an ethnically Japanese co-worker who had grown up in Las Vegas (but who also spoke Japanese).

His students often refused to believe he was American. They thought it was some elaborate ruse.

10. From montereyo:

A guy I knew when I lived in Central America asked if there was time to get out of the way of the snow. Upon questioning it turned out that he thought that snow fell all at once - FWOOMP! - like a big blanket.

11. From Grifty_McGrift:

I got a few surprised looks when I told students we didn't sleep with our shoes on.

12. From Casualbat007:

An exchange student from Italy was disappointed when he came to Colorado and attacks by Native American tribes weren't a regular thing anymore.

13. From Weather_No_Blues:

I teach in the Middle East and one of my students was legitimately scared of gay people in America because he thought they were aggressive. Like they would pull you from a car and r*pe you aggressive.

Just a lot of scary, weird misconceptions about gay people.

14. From worrboss:

When I was mentoring University students in Kyrgyzstan (US Embassy outreach program) they thought The Bachelor was how we actually dated in the US.

15. From sparkly_trex:

I was teaching in the public schools in Shanghai. My students didn't believe me when I told them I was American because A) I was not huge, B) I didn't bring a cheese sandwich with me for lunch, and C) I don't own any guns.

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