Foreign Perspective: Americans Ask International Students the Silliest Things

If you’ve ever studied abroad, then you know what it’s like to be submerged in an entirely foreign culture. But have you ever wondered what it’s like on the flip side of the experience – what it’s like for someone going abroad to America? Join columnists Amy Chilcott, of Australia, and Kasumi Hirokawa, of China, as they encounter all things American and Penn State – and tell it as they see it the way only one with a foreign perspective can.

Williams.ForeignPerspective02One of my favorite things about being an international student in America is when people ask really ridiculous questions. I asked some of the other international students, compiled a list of some of the weirdest things we’ve been asked, and have provided answers – just in case you were wondering the same thing.

An English student told a girl he was from London and she said, “Wait, so what’s your native language?”
They speak English in England.

“Have you heard of Forrest Gump? It’s an American movie.”
Yes, people outside America have seen Forrest Gump.

Someone thought an Australian student was from Austria.
Australia is in the southern hemisphere under Asia. Austria is in Europe.

“Do they have grass in Norway? They do?! Is it different?”
Yes, there is grass in Norway. It’s pretty much the same as American grass.

“So, if ya’ll in Australia drive on the left hand side of the road, does that mean ya’ll are left handed?”

To a Norweigan student: “What?! You’ve heard of South Park?”
Yes, South Park is broadcast outside America.

American: “Where are you from?”
Brit: “I’m from London.”
American: “I’ve been to London!”
Brit: “Oh, really? Cool! Where?”
American: “Australia!”
Australia is not in London, or England, or the United Kingdom or the northern hemisphere.

“Wait, Australia has an Air Force?! Do you have any planes?”
Yes, Australia has an Air Force, and yes, Australia’s Air Force has many planes.

“Do you see kangaroos/koalas all the time?”
No. Australians that live in the city have probably never seen a kangaroo or koala in the wild. We see them at nature parks and wildlife sanctuaries.

Photo by Shantelle Williams 


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