Which is your currency?

Started 6 months ago | Polls thread
pkosewski
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Re: Is there a world outside the US?
In reply to darklamp, 6 months ago

darklamp wrote:

Our mental maps still tend to be very tightly centered on our locale.

Not really.

Situation in the US is really very different. This is a huge country. They have access to 2 oceans. They have only 2 borders with other countries (large ones; one also English-speaking). And crucially: they don't have a very long history.

This has a huge effect on education and everyday life, so also on general knowledge/awareness.

When you learn history in Europe, you're mostly told about conflicts between countries. So people in Germany know quite a lot about who ruled France or UK in the XII century and so on.

When you watch weather forecast, you see borders.
When you go to a shop to buy vegetables, they have tags with country they came from.
People also watch a lot of foreign TV, follow foreign sport leagues and so on.
Half of people going on vacation choose a different country. And if someone lives near a border, he might cross it every day (for work, shopping or leisure).

And when you cross a border, you end up in a place with different language, cuisine, administration, architecture and so on.

Life in US is really different. You're surrounded mostly by things from your country (media, food, cars, still a lot of electronics and clothes).

This has some obvious effects. If I remember correctly, less than 20% of Americans are bilingual (so they can easily communicate in something other than English). Only 30% have a passport. Only about 5% travel overseas (not to Mexico and Canada) every year. In Europe these numbers would be around 60%, 70% and 30% respectively.

Of course there is nothing wrong about not being interested about the rest of the world, if you really don't have to be. And Americans really don't.

But still some things make us Europeans laugh :). E.g. most Americans can find Iraq on a map. And that many of them believe Europe is a country (because the idea of so many small countries is just unbelievable :)). And that meteorites and aliens always land in US in Hollywood movies!

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