I get asked a lot of questions when traveling the world as an American. Some funny, some rude and some are just completely out of the blue. America has such a big influence on the world, whether it’s politics or Hollywood, people are often curious and need a reality check.
For the most part, the questions are driven by TV shows or movies that they have seen, or whatever that’s going on in the news at the time. It’s no surprise that people tend to generalize and stereotype things. I am always happy to chat with people about America as I am sure I am just as ignorant when it comes to other countries. It’s always fun to exchange cultural differences and see how you are perceived from another country’s point of view.
Here are the top questions I get when traveling:
Does everyone shop at Walmart?
This is for the Aussies. I still scratch my head on this one. For some reason they seemed to have a fascination (or fear perhaps) over Walmart. Maybe it’s something they saw on the TV or PeopleofWalmart.com, but no, not everyone shops at Walmart.
It’s just happens to be a national grocery/retail chain that sells cheaper goods. Save money, live better! That’s their slogan.
To be fair and for your reference, it is quite a fun place for people watching at Walmart. Just don’t go there during Black Friday sale as people get very crazy, and you may even see some fights!
Are there a lot of fat Americans?
Many Asian friends would ask me this. I guess Asian people tend to be smaller and slender (including myself), so in the eyes of Asians, even average American would appear to be over-weight.
I remember my girlfriend was mortified when my mom grabbed her arm fat saying that she gained weight. My girlfriend is no where near being fat, and even though my mom meant no harm, that’s just how an old and skinny Asian lady would think.
The US does have an obesity problem, especially in the Midwest. But the new trend of eating healthier and exercising is certainly helping.
What do you think of Ivanka Trump? (Eyes gleaming with anticipation)
Cool I guess? This one is completely out of the blue, but I have gotten this question a few times. Apparently Ivanka Trump is quite popular in Asia, especially among young female adults. I guess this makes sense consider Asia is very fashion-driven, and Ivanka Trump is fits that bill.
At the same time, someone living in Asia could care less about the wall Trump wants to build, or any of the immigration bans. All they see is the glamour on TV. After all, the Trumps are reality stars.
Why is America so dangerous? I don’t ever want to go because I don’t want to get shot.
This question came from many people of different nationalities. There probably isn’t another country on Earth where people can get guns so easily like America, thus shooting is a lot less common elsewhere. It also doesn’t help with all the terrorist attacks.
I remember meeting this French guy and he was so traumatized that he doesn’t even feel safe in France not to mention America, and he just wanted to move to a small town.
Yes, crazy stuff does happen all the time in America, but it is also a big country. Be smart and don’t go to places that people tell you not to go just like anywhere else. It really is not that bad once you see it for yourself.
American girls are easy right?
I remember in Europe, guys would often say that if you want to get laid, just go find an American. On the other side of the globe in India, blogger Beth wrote that she was shocked when the first date she went on in India, the guy immediately pulled out condoms saying that he’s ready. You could only imagine Beth’s reaction, and I feel bad for her.
The reason people think this way has everything to do with the TV shows and movies came out of Hollywood. I see how if you have never been to America you might feel this way. But it’s just crazy still how people would just assume.
Don’t let what you see on TV or movies fool you. Yes, stereotypes are based on facts, but at the same time, the United States is such a big country. Everyone is so different so it’s impossible to generalize things. What’s the best way to find it out for yourself? Go visit!
I highly recommend going to the Midwest to get the full American experience as I wrote in this article.