A foreigner´s view on the USA ...

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A foreigner´s view on the USA ...

Postby (doctorno) » Fri Apr 30, 2010 10:06 pm

I love the USA. My parents work and live near Boston, MA, and I often visit them. The people are great. In many ways life is much freer in the USA than it is in good old Europe. On the other hand people are quite down to earth there, which is something I really love.

Of course, there are things I miss, when I am in America. Here in the Aachen/Cologne region of Germany I can walk through almost any (small) town or larger city and find places that are almost a thousand years old or even older. I can touch walls that were built by the Romans. I can have as many beers as I like in a pub and walk home or take the bus, train, streetcar or subway, I have a choice of many public television stations with reliable information for everyone and a proper health care system for everyone including the poorest. But nevertheless America offers something Europe can not offer ...

The people are more friendly, more tolerant, they do not tell you what you should do or how you should live all the time. This is great. On the other hand most of the people do not know anything about the world outside of the USA and they constantly allow their politicians to do stupid things like fighting wars in Vietnam, Chile, Irak, Afghanistan a.s.o. This is very sad.

After she had lived in the USA for a few years, my mother once said, the Americans are really nice and friendly people but sometimes they are as naive as little children.

Now this is my foreigner´s view on the USA, I am really curious about your reactions and answers.
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Re: A foreigner´s view on the USA ...

Postby (collin) » Fri Apr 30, 2010 10:25 pm

Good points, Markus.


The USA is still in its infancy, despite the fact that we all forget it sometimes.

It seems like it's still "settling in." People don't get the sense of history and tradition that comes with living in/around Roman ruins in western Europe. That kind of stuff isn't taken for granted there, it is just a part of life.

The oldest settled parts of the US (obviously I mean non-native) are only 400 years old, and that strikes most Americans as OLD. :shock:

Heck, some of my relatives in England live in houses that are nearly that old, and it's not even a big deal.


As far as the people and politics.....we could be traveling down a fickle-path in conversation, but I think Americans would have a decidedly different view of war if we ever had a lengthy war fought on home soil.
In Europe and Asia and other parts of the world, they have a far different idea of how war negatively affects your lives and community and it often makes them far more tolerant of other people and their lifestyles.
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Re: A foreigner´s view on the USA ...

Postby (doctorno) » Sat Jun 19, 2010 1:29 pm

This is off-topic: but I am really happy to see the national team of the USA play such a successful soccer at the World Championships, especially as Michael Bradley, who plays for my "home" team "Borussia" here in Mönchengladbach, has scored the very important 2:2 against Slovenia. The USA were the better team in the game against England as well.
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Re: A foreigner´s view on the USA ...

Postby (longhouse) » Sat Jun 19, 2010 3:35 pm

One thing I've discovered in my travels is that you absolutely must separate the citizens from the actions of their governments. Remember that the actions of governing bodies and militaries don't always reflect the will of the average citizens. When reduced to our barest elements, mano a mano, I have almost always found there to be a lot more common ground than divisions. After a few sips of coffee (or a few ounces of a good single malt) most folks can find themselves in great conversations with people from very different backgrounds.

Of course, our national identities and cultures shape and color us in indelible ways also. Traveling just from state-to-state in the US will reveal that (even county-to-county in my current state of Kentucky!). I am blessed with friends from all over the globe; from Tasmania, Oz to Berlin, German to Nimes, France to Durban, South Africa to Buenos Aires, Argentina to Dundee, Scotland, etc. The ties that bind are stronger and more resilient than the knife.
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Re: A foreigner´s view on the USA ...

Postby (doctorno) » Sat Jun 19, 2010 8:49 pm

longhouse wrote:When reduced to our barest elements, mano a mano, I have almost always found there to be a lot more common ground than divisions. After a few sips of coffee (or a few ounces of a good single malt) most folks can find themselves in great conversations with people from very different backgrounds.

This is something I have experienced as well.

longhouse wrote:The ties that bind are stronger and more resilient than the knife.

I hope you are right. But when I look at the actions of the governments I sometimes fear that the knife is too strong still. I think it is the responsibility of every single person, to bring love and peace and understanding into this world and try to keep away from anger, hate and prejudice.
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Re: A foreigner´s view on the USA ...

Postby (jingle_jangle) » Sat Jun 19, 2010 9:07 pm

Americans naive? Well, I'd have to say, "define naive", and also qualify it with regional variations.

I typically use the term "naive" to mean the opposite of street-smart, and you don't have to live in a big city to be world-wise. But the real educator is simply, lots of travel and the experiences that come from being in other places.

I do find Americans who haven't traveled, to be very provincial / regional / local, oftentimes ignorant of geographic and cultural aspects of "other" places, and occasionally xenophobic.

No doubt this is due to us having such a huge country with as much consistency as variety. Unlike Europe, where you could potentially visit four countries (and cultures) in a single day, it takes almost a full day just to traverse Texas N-S or E-W, for example.
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Re: A foreigner´s view on the USA ...

Postby (doctorno) » Sat Jun 19, 2010 9:22 pm

jingle_jangle wrote:Unlike Europe, where you could potentially visit four countries (and cultures) in a single day, it takes almost a full day just to traverse Texas N-S or E-W, for example.

Where I live I can visit three countries with three different mother languages in 30 minutes, if I take my car, and in only a few hours if I take the bicycle. I am 15 kilometres away from the Dutch speaking Netherlands, about 30 km away from the Dutch speaking Belgium and 60 km away from the French speaking Belgium. In less than 8 hours I could reach either London, Paris, Amsterdam, Brussels, Luxembourg, Zürich, Vienna, Kopenhagen or Berlin by car.

And yet, if the Netherlands play soccer against Germany most people behave as if these two countries were a thousand miles apart ;-) ... well, maybe they are just to close together. :D
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Re: A foreigner´s view on the USA ...

Postby (libratune) » Sat Jun 19, 2010 11:09 pm

doctorno wrote:On the other hand most of the people [in the USA] do not know anything about the world outside of the USA and they constantly allow their politicians to do stupid things like fighting wars in Vietnam, Chile, Irak, Afghanistan a.s.o. This is very sad.


The first part of the sentence -- that most of the people [in the USA] don't know about the world outside of the USA, is probably true of many people throughout the world and not just the USA. Perhaps in Europe people know more about their fellow EU countries than we in the US do, but I question whether those in Europe know more about the goings on in Asia, for example, than do we in the US.

You criticize the US for "constantly allow[ing] their politicians to do stupid things like fighting wars." From a historical perspective, the wars initiated during the first part of the 20th Century by certain European and Asian powers with the support of their people were very sad indeed.

And the role of the US in sending its citizens overseas to fight in those wars was very important indeed.
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Re: A foreigner´s view on the USA ...

Postby (cjj) » Sun Jun 20, 2010 12:57 am

doctorno wrote:
jingle_jangle wrote:Unlike Europe, where you could potentially visit four countries (and cultures) in a single day, it takes almost a full day just to traverse Texas N-S or E-W, for example.

Where I live I can visit three countries with three different mother languages in 30 minutes, if I take my car, and in only a few hours if I take the bicycle. I am 15 kilometres away from the Dutch speaking Netherlands, about 30 km away from the Dutch speaking Belgium and 60 km away from the French speaking Belgium. In less than 8 hours I could reach either London, Paris, Amsterdam, Brussels, Luxembourg, Zürich, Vienna, Kopenhagen or Berlin by car.

And yet, if the Netherlands play soccer against Germany most people behave as if these two countries were a thousand miles apart ;-) ... well, maybe they are just to close together. :D


Where I live, I can visit another country (Canada), by car in a bit less than an hour. But to get to a city that has much of anything as far as shopping or entertainment, and more than a few thousand people, takes 4 to 5 hours by car. Yes, the U.S.A. is huge, and where I live (Montana) is pretty much empty.

I have had the privilege of visiting numerous other countries, Australia, New Zealand, France, Germany, Austria, Italy, Switzerland, Sweden, Norway, to name a few. And yes, for the most part, people, as individuals, are people. We all have pretty much the same basic desires. Countries/governments, on the other hand are a completely different story. Unfortunately, it's far to easy to get caught up in whatever political fervor the government or the media is feeding the populace and totally forget the actual individuals, who often have little to say about what their governments decide to do...
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Re: A foreigner´s view on the USA ...

Postby (winston) » Sun Jun 20, 2010 1:39 am

Gents just a small reminder to stay within bounds of the rules.
“We can't solve problems by using the same kind of thinking we used when we created them.” - Albert Einstein

"You do not really understand something unless you can explain it to your grandmother" - Albert Einstein
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Re: A foreigner´s view on the USA ...

Postby (xpitt) » Sun Jun 20, 2010 4:06 am

winston wrote:Gents just a small reminder to stay within bounds of the rules.


... so I guess that most of the US people out in the big country don't know anything about Rickenbackers , just like most of the people living on the european continent don't, or in Germany in special... :wink:
... so this is the place for us to meet !
:) :)
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Re: A foreigner´s view on the USA ...

Postby (scotty) » Sun Jun 20, 2010 5:48 am

doctorno wrote:.

Now this is my foreigner´s view on the USA, I am really curious about your reactions and answers.


Americans are very like the Scots full of Numpies and fruit shoots.Thank God we all arent the same the world is a great place its just a very few select that tarnish the gloss. :twisted: Got that beer chillin Tony?
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Re: A foreigner´s view on the USA ...

Postby (johnnysain) » Sun Jun 20, 2010 7:25 am

As a proud American, when I'm abroad, I know how to become respected, well-liked and admired.

Bash America.

Then I laugh to myself about how easily I fool the gullible and naive.
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Re: A foreigner´s view on the USA ...

Postby (doctorno) » Sun Jun 20, 2010 6:20 pm

libratune wrote:You criticize the US for "constantly allow[ing] their politicians to do stupid things like fighting wars." From a historical perspective, the wars initiated during the first part of the 20th Century by certain European and Asian powers with the support of their people were very sad indeed.

And the role of the US in sending its citizens overseas to fight in those wars was very important indeed.

You are certainly right with that. Almost all people in Germany are thankful for the role America played in freeing Germany from the Nazis and the generous way America and the other allies treated Germany after the war for example. Unfortunately the majority of people in Afghanistan, Irak or Vietnam will never be thankful for America "freeing" them. I think the difference is that Germany and the USA share the same cultural heritage for the most part and (for the majority of its people) the same religion, while this is different in Afghanistan, Irak or Vietnam.

By the way I am not criticizing the US in general. As I have said above, I love the USA. It is a great country. And of course, music, guitars, the arts, literature and movies play a big part concerning that. But when I visit the country I observe certain things, such as the absence of public media with information about the world, and this makes me think.

You see, if a friend visits my house and observes things that I have not recognized myself, I am thankful for his advice rather than offended by him "criticizing" me, even if in the end I find out that I do not agree.

winston wrote:Gents just a small reminder to stay within bounds of the rules.

Brian, do you think that this is not an appropriate topic for this chapter of the forum? If so, I am really sorry.
Last edited by doctorno on Sun Jun 20, 2010 6:34 pm, edited 1 time in total.
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Re: A foreigner´s view on the USA ...

Postby (johnnysain) » Sun Jun 20, 2010 6:43 pm

doctorno wrote:
You see, if a friend visits my house and observes things that I have not recognized myself, I am thankful for his advice rather than offended by him "criticizing" me.



I like to restrain myself in judging the ways of people while in their country. Not everyone is open to it.

I have to know the individual I share these opinions with well enough to be reasonably assured they'll not be offended.

But, of course, on the internet there are no boundaries,....mostly.
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