What's a common misconception about your country?

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pandemonium91

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As the title says, what's something that people often get wrong about the country you live in and/or were born in?

Being from Romania, I've met a few people who thought Transylvania was a separate country, when in fact it's a part of Romania (about 1/3 of the total territory). And no, we don't have vampires, aside from the costumed ones at Halloween parties ^^'

So, what's your story? And how do the people react when you tell them the actual truth?

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mattstevenson22

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my story is i was born in lancaster sc and lived in great falls until i had to move for my dad cusing at me and my family. I went to 7 schools in my life and had to say good-bye to every friend i has there i go to lancaster high school and i have 2 sisters, 1 brother, and my mom. my mom's boyfriend is a cop and i want to be a cop when i grow up and my name is ronald william stevenson lll

that is my story and i'm sticking to it i also have atisam

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Valuna

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@Pande: But...but...they say Dracula comes from there!

Anyway, Netherlands here.

- Especially Americans, think that "Amsterdam" is a country, while it is merely the capital city of the country. You see or hear people say "I'm going to visit Amsterdam", while they would they talk about the country itself...apparently, it is just a city.
- People expect Dutch people to be white for an odd reason when the country has been multicultural for over 50 years.
- No one realizes that Santa Claus is a myth born from the actual Santa Claus, St. Nickolas who was a Bishop from Turkey. We dutch people celebrate him coming from Spain (ikr) mid November and actual celebration is on the 5th of December. The concept is basically the same...Presents! inb4 not many countries celebrate actual St.Nickolas day.
- Even though, Halloween is being promoted to be celebrated here. It is actually not a true holiday and is boring...we do celebrate St.Maarten's day which is on the 11th of November I think. I always used to think it was pretty much the same though...
- Dutch people are actually quite knowledgeable when it comes to English...most just don't know how to "communicate" because they lack experience. Nevertheless, you will never have an issue getting around when talking English only, unless you live around the farms! This country is very compatible...the same goes for German, both are common languages. Unlike most European countries, all games, nearly all don't even get translated to Dutch (caused myself to have a boost in English playing games from early on).

This will do for now...Not sure if everything fits in but I think it is fun/good to know either way :3

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Alenas

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One of the biggest issues about my country (Croatia) is that most people had never even heard of it and they wouldn't know where to place it. Or they think it's a type of fruit or a dog breed, apparently, lol.

They also like to think it's a part of Russia (ex SSSR) or still a part of ex-Yugoslavia. xD

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elisadevelon

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@Alenas: It is pretty similar with Slovakia.

Many people (again, often Americans) believe that Slovakia is either Slovenia, or is still a part of Czechoslovakia (which split like 20 years ago into Slovakia and Czech republic) or still belongs to the former SSSR... Funny thing was when I once saw a map of Europe they used in the news in the US and it had to be at least 30 years out of date because the borders and names of the countries didn't make any sense at all.

Oh, and I'm not even going to bother to talk about the movie 'Hostel'...

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Nobody knows Honduras lol
I've been asked several times where the heck is my country, people tend to think that we are part of Mexico xD or that central america doesn't exist, just north and south :P

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A main common misconception about Russia that everyone drinks vodka (lol) this is partly true, PARTLY!=); Russians can understand or even speak such languages as Polish, Check, Moldovian, Bulgarian, Ukrainian (certainly not); Russians raise bears (seriously, some people are sure about that ┐( ̄ヮ ̄)┌

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Quote by elisadevelonOh, and I'm not even going to bother to talk about the movie 'Hostel'...

Lol, that movie. Funny how popular culture has such power of creating stereotypes. I once had a class on history of comics. There was one American issue of a superhero comic (I forgot which one) in which Croats were the bad guys. They were also portrayed as dark skinned, wearing turbans on their heads and fighting with spears. We lol'd, wondering where that image came from.

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pandemonium91

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@ Valuna: haha, you could meet a few Draculas walking the streets during Halloween, though I doubt they're the romantic/scary vampire you're most likely picturing. And while most call Dracula a classic, it's so corny that I laughed/facepalmed my way through it. For a native speaker, however, it's impressive how the actors really tried to imitate the accent; Romanian sounds "rough", so I imagine it'd be more difficult for a native English speaker to adjust to it ^^'
Oh, not to mention that most people only think of the red light district when they hear "Amsterdam", but it still beats saying "I'm going to visit Europe!".
We still celebrate St. Nicholas's Day, on the 6th of December c: It's an occasion reserved for either sweets and fruit for the good kids, or a new stick for the naughty kids.

@ Alenas: I admit it sounds imposing to me, kinda like Germany. Dunno, maybe it's the right combination of vowels and consonants XD But dayum, the portrayal of Romanian priests in the 1992 Dracula was spot-on, those have more bling that roughly 60% of rap singers.

@ Elisa: Kind of the same with Lithuania and Latvia (though they sound more similar in Romanian - Lituania and Letonia). I think even a Eurovision reporter got them mixed up once when announcing the points! But if we went by movie reputation, Americans are dumb (both in horror and comedies) and Romanians are the most depressed people on earth...and still living under communism.

@ Xan: it sounds exotic! And I don't think I've met anyone who's never heard of it (though I didn't exactly ask either, lol). For me it's the opposite, I've heard some say North and South America don't exist and that one continent = one country. I mean even I suck at geography, but not THAT much!

@ Yuko: I knew it! So the story about Russians raising bears in their backyard and riding them to school/work is true! Kinda like Canadians riding moose and the Inuit riding polar bears! Right, right? :D

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@Yuko: I thought that at least the one about the languages was true. Actually, I, as a Slovak, can understand Czech perfectly, Polish almost perfectly, then a little Slovenian, Croatian and Bulgarian and a tiiiiny bit of Russian. :/

@Alenas: They probably mistook you Croats for Turks or someone else living in that area? I'm not sure how it's today but Turks did wear turbans in the past, didn't they?

And of course, Slovaks lol'd at Hostel too, considering it wasn't even shot in Slovakia, but in Czech republic. And we then heard the actors speak Czech and saw all these writings in Czech in the movie and were like "Oh right, Slovakia for sure..." Honestly, the only thing that was truly Slovak in Hostel, was the music. And even that was like 30+ years old songs. Good - I admmit that - but still old. XD

@Pandemonium: Yep and then imagine that Lithuania in Slovak is "Litva" and Latvia is "Lotyšsko". Couldn't have got mixed up any more, I guess. :DD

And I never believe these stereotypes about various nations, although it often does seem like a lot of Americans are dumb. A few years ago, the ambassador from that time came to have a presentation in my school and began: "Well, I got lost on my way to Slovakia and accidentally ended up in Slovenia..." (I'm still not sure whether it was supposed to be joke or not but he couldn't have said anything more stupid in front of 300 Slovaks.)

@Valuna: I feel kinda proud because I knew all of what you wrote (except for that about Halloween and St.Maarten's day), because I'm studying Dutch and I have some lessons on the Dutch and Belgian history and culture, too. :)

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Quote by pandemonium91
@ Xan: it sounds exotic! And I don't think I've met anyone who's never heard of it (though I didn't exactly ask either, lol). For me it's the opposite, I've heard some say North and South America don't exist and that one continent = one country. I mean even I suck at geography, but not THAT much!


It is, you know your typical tropical paradise xD, there's no winter here, just rainy season -.-
And I guess the "one country" stuff comes from US movies, when they refer to United States they say "America"...

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DokiDokiChan

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I really can't think of any cliches about the U.S. that... aren't... true...

@elisadevelon: I wish I could say most Americans aren't absolute idiots. But I honestly think we have more than our fair share.
There are a ton of societal reasons I believe to be the reason but I won't bore anyone with that~

@xangel0: It is a problem that we call ourselves "Americans", but I think it comes from the fact that we don't HAVE a nationality. "United States of America" is a mouthful and you can't say USA-an.
But whether right or wrong we do it. >.>

Oh, but apparently in Japan everyone is convinced we all eat boiled peanuts. No one knows where that came from.
A Japanese teacher of mine who lived in Japan for a few years tried to convince his coworkers he hates peanuts and they said then he couldn't be American.

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Texas is often considered as if it is a sovereign country. That being said, its citizens are not all millionaires with longhorn steer and oil wells in our backyards. Many of us have the derricks in the front yard, as a matter of fact.

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pandemonium91

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@ Elisa: the makers of Hostel probably relied on the fact that most of the world doesn't know what actual Slovak sounds like, so they probably went with something "eh, similar, it'll work" or could only get people speaking Czech. It is nice when movie makers go with the real language the characters are supposed to be speaking (bonus if it's grammatically correct!), even if I don't understand/know it at first and have to look it up later.

@ Doki: the most common stereotypes about Americans that I've heard here are that they're all overweight (statistically impossible unless you close off the country), prudes that shake at the very mention of a boob (only the bible belt AFAIK, and even then it's the weirder ones) and a list of stereotypes set aside for Texas.
And lol, the peanuts thing is indeed strange, can't think of any reason for it XD

@ Hoo: you mean I can actually be *gasp* safe if I come to Texas without a gun? Naw, seriously, Texas is kind of the epitome of the "American dream" from over here, what with the show Dallas.

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^ Yes, it's generally safer in Texas, even if you don't have your own gun, as the person next to you is likely to be legally carrying one concealed on their person. Contrary to popular belief, not everyone here owns a gun. However, the average in the Lone Star State is over two guns per person. If you visit east Texas, I got your back, as I have significantly more firearms than that low-balled average. More info here: Texas Less Traveled

Cirru

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A misconception about "America" is that you can move here and live the "American Dream". I've met immigrants in California that were from Asia who came to the USA and were absolutely shocked to find out that this country isn't what they thought it was. They didn't have enough money to go back, so they stayed. They drive a taxi and the other members of their family work hard just so they can live. It's the same situation they had in their home country, if not a little worse. v_v

P.S. - Know where Honduras is! : ) Had a coworker that was from Guatemala. He said the home made food from his home country was great. Would love to try more food from other countries.

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@ Hoo: that site's quite interesting, have read a bit of it and bookmarked it for later c:

@ Cirru: they most probably didn't gather enough info before setting out, sadly. There are quite a lot of downsides to living in the US as well (as is the case for every country in the world), and you shouldn't rely on an ambiguous image as the truth. Plus, from what I've heard, legislation varies from state to state so you really need to educate yourself before traveling anywhere, let alone moving there.

Hmm, another misconception about Romania...that the ladies are very beautiful. Sure, some women are beautiful (especially those who appear on TV and model), but most are normal, I guess. It's not like we have a higher concentration of beautiful women than the rest of the world XP
But bears DO come out into the city in the mountainous regions, I've seen them a few times myself (though only at night). They ignore humans most of the times and just dig through the trash, then some idiots inevitably start filming them and making noise and run away when the bear looks at them.

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Cirru

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"they most probably didn't gather enough info before setting out, sadly." - pande

Well, not sure how much info they could actually get access to 26-30 years ago (early 80s). Probably nowhere near as much as we can today.

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Hmmm.. lemme see.. it's not a well known country =/ but I think some people think that:
1) My country is a big mountain, or it's full of mountains and llamas.. so wrong D: there are many kinds of weather, and many kinds of animals here.
2)Another one is that in Bolivia people produce drugs all over the place (I guess all of you know which drug I'm talking about, it starts with c..), I've seen that in movies a lot, it's really annoying tbh, can't get rid of the bad publicity..
3) There are more but I'll use them later.

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DokiDokiChan

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@Hoo: Yeah, not everyone has a gun in Texas, just the vast majority. xD

@Pande: Yeah, the "obesity epidemic" is a ridiculous concept, but when people get fat here they do it right. I WOULD say on average we're the least healthy country.
The prude-ish-ness totally depends on where you live. The U.S. is very mixed but certain groups tend to clump together, e.g. the Bible Belt or the Mormons in Utah.
Where I live we have the opposite problem; people are way too free with the body here. o_o

@Hue: A llama got loose in my neighborhood recently. We had thirty cops following it around all "Do you know how to catch a llama? I dunno how to catch a llama. Why on earth is there a llama? No dude I dare YOU to catch the llama."
No one actually asked for that story. But Hue said llama.

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Pakistani here,

The misconception about my country is that we are all terrorist and there is a war going on here, we have the most criminal rate and that we are very unfair to others.

This is all un-true. The death rate here is 15per day in my Karachi city which is quite bigger then New York. New York got a death rate of 13per day.
The criminal rate.. well its far better then Canada where a person breaks your arm first and ask for your wallet later. They do ask your mobile and wallet here.. but very politely. They even say please. (they do point a gun at you though.. :D)
And there is no war going on here.. we wake up in the morning, go to schools, colleges, universities, offices, shops.. and we are not at war at all.. Just that the Drone attacks from america are becoming a nuisance now a days.. and we are gonna do something about it if america doesn't.

So we are a victim of false accusations by media. And about bad people.. you can find bad people every where .. even in UAE. (indeed the Sheikhs doesn't need to be bad to do some thing XD i am talking about their behavior with non-Arabs)

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Quote by elisadevelon@Alenas: They probably mistook you Croats for Turks or someone else living in that area? I'm not sure how it's today but Turks did wear turbans in the past, didn't they?

Yeah, Turks did wear turbans in the past and we have historically been under the Otoman influence so I suppose it could stem from that. That or from the theory that Croats came to these areas in the 7th century from Iran, lol. xD

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Quote by DokiDokiChan @elisadevelon: I wish I could say most Americans aren't absolute idiots. But I honestly think we have more than our fair share.
There are a ton of societal reasons I believe to be the reason but I won't bore anyone with that~

Yeah, it's not like I have anything against the US (well, actually I do, but it's all about politics only and common people or the nation as a whole have nothing to do with that). I know a few educated and intelligent Americans myself so I'd never dare say that the entire nation is stupid. It's just that when I read comments produced by Americans, sometimes I'm not sure whether to laugh or cry. XD Uh, no offense meant.

Quote by AlenasYeah, Turks did wear turbans in the past and we have historically been under the Otoman influence so I suppose it could stem from that. That or from the theory that Croats came to these areas in the 7th century from Iran, lol. xD

Huh, never heard that one before. I guess I'd stick with the first option. But it's still unbelievable what connections some people can make. :D

Quote by Huesin2)Another one is that in Bolivia people produce drugs all over the place (I guess all of you know which drug I'm talking about, it starts with c..), I've seen that in movies a lot, it's really annoying tbh, can't get rid of the bad publicity..

Quote by Daydreamer1So we are a victim of false accusations by media.

Well, according to my opinion, the media and movies really are to blame for many of the examples. Too many people believe what they see on the screen. Personally, I don't even watch the news anymore because I know that a lot of the reports are NOT objective.

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Quote by Daydreamer1 The misconception about my country is that we are all terrorist and there is a war going on here, we have the most criminal rate and that we are very unfair to others.

I think this is heavily influenced by how the media portrays what's happening and what they choose to air. If all you hear/see from a country is bad news, you'll inevitably think that place is full of the world's worst people. On one hand, it's good that people are informed about "successes" - you get some glimmer of hope when you hear someone involved in international drug trade or human trafficking is captured -, but more often than not it's about "the bad guys are winning, this place is so unstable it might blow up any minute". Then everyone else ends up thinking all the citizens of that country are hiding away in their basement all day, when instead they're trying to get on with their - admittedly more mundane than shown on TV - lives.

Quote by elisadevelon Yeah, it's not like I have anything against the US (well, actually I do, but it's all about politics only and common people or the nation as a whole have nothing to do with that). I know a few educated and intelligent Americans myself so I'd never dare say that the entire nation is stupid.

Yeah, more people need to think like this. Generalizing is never a good way to complain about something unless you have enough data to make an educated guess...which most don't. Isn't saying an entire nation is "stupid" or "vain" some sort of racism?

Quote by elisadevelonWell, according to my opinion, the media and movies really are to blame for many of the examples. Too many people believe what they see on the screen. Personally, I don't even watch the news anymore because I know that a lot of the reports are NOT objective.

IMO, movies are somewhat about making a certain country/group look good or bad (depending on who's paying for it). Even American movies with over-the-top action, dozens of police cars and enough bullets to cover the floor to my apartment are regarded as something positive here - oh, they're not really doing anything wrong, the hero's trying to get away from the cops in order to save the day so it's actually the cops who are in his way. So the whole mass shooting angle is downplayed in favor of "hero must be left to do what he wants to, and any casualties resulting from it are entirely excusable 'cause he's the good guy).
Basically: even at their worst, the US look good in (most) movies produced by them.
Contrast this to most Romanian movies; watch any two of them and you'll think Romania's still a communist country (dammit, we kicked that 20 years ago!) and we're living in Chernobyl (every city has its poor area with run-down buldings, but it's not the entire city).

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