It’s easy to have misconceptions about different places, especially those you’ve never been to.
Here, people reveal the biggest misconceptions people have about their country.
1. It’s a pretty brutal “sport”.
I’m from Spain and almost anybody younger that 50yo hates bullfighting.
2. If you want to start a conversation, just ask!
Finn here. MY COUNTRY DOES EXIST!! We’re right here between Russia and Sweden.
Also we’re not always drunk. Unless it’s a national holiday. Or Saturday. Or Finland wins in Hockey. Or loses…
But we are fairly quiet and keep to ourselves. Many of us are bad at starting a conversation or asking questions from foreigners, but that’s mostly just because we’ve been taught that being nosy is bad. If you want to converse with a Finn, be the one asking questions!
3. People always forget about us.
Puerto Rico here. We are part of USA. Americans don’t need a passport to come here and we don’t need one to go to the States. We are citizens and pay taxes. We aren’t in Mexico.
4. Geography, people!
Serbia. We’re not Siberia.
And Montenegro is not in Africa.
5. Still work fine without braces and bleaching.
British teeth really aren’t that bad, as a whole. I mean, mine are – terrible, in fact – but the general populace has pretty shiny gnashers. We still don’t obsess over them as much as certain nations do, mind you.
6. I’m looking at you, ‘The Little Mermaid’.
French here. NO. We are not sea lions, we do not have a laugh like “HON HON HON”.
7. No, really! Trust me!
Iceland. No misconceptions, everything you’ve heard is true, it’s magical here.
8. Then what is a shrimp?
We don’t “throw another shrimp on the barbie”. We call them prawns. But we primarily barbecue red meat – sausages and steaks.
Side note: in Australia prawns and shrimp are two different things, but what Americans call shrimp are actually prawns. It gets confusing.
9. And Leprechauns aren’t real.
The “85% Catholic” stat for Ireland isn’t an accurate portrayal of how religious the country is. Leaving the Church is nigh impossible so most Irish people are merely “technically Catholic”. I haven’t been to church in nearly two decades but am still listed as a Catholic in church records.
10. It’s important not to paint a whole group of people with one narrative.
I always wanted my country to be known to the world, but not like this. I’m sure the there are some of you who visited Syria before 2011, and I know you know this, but I’m going to say it: We are not blood thirsty crazy terrorists.
It’s a country with rich history and culture. The majority of the people are nice, generous, and open minded.
But war is hell.
11. Decriminalization is not the same as legalization.
Portugal here. No, we’re not part of Spain. And just because we were among the first to decriminalize all drugs, it doesn’t mean we are all junkies.
12. Hop over to Norway for that.
Finland. We DO NOT have polar bears!
Canadian here: If I haven’t done anything wrong I won’t apologize.
That being said I do hold doors open for awkward amounts of time.
14. Great, now I can pass off as French, no problem!
“Omelette du fromage”=>No !! It’s “omelette AU fromage”.
And Leblanc is pronounced “Leblan” the “C” is silent, please.
15. “As an American…”
As an American in the Marine Corps, no I don’t think I’m the world police. I would much rather be in my own country rather than on a Japanese island, its like I’m on Lost. Also this goes for Americans, not everyone in the military fights. I drive military vehicles and do some maintenance on them, and I have never been to a combat zone, so please don’t thank me for my service when I haven’t done anything.
16. Things aren’t always how they’re portrayed.
Iranian here. No Iran isn’t a desert, there are a lot of jungles. No the country’s real name is not Persia but in fact Iran. We don’t hate America and the west. Most of us want normalized relations. And the government isn’t that bad.
17. Okay, a lot of people do but not everyone!
As an American:
We don’t clap for everything, but we do clap for a whole lot of things. We don’t tip for everything, either.
And as a southerner:
Not everybody here has four guns per person in their household, but a lot of people own at least one. We don’t all wear camo and drive trucks, but a lot of people here do. We don’t all love country music, but again, a lot of people here do.
18. Not everyone is a soccer star.
We have cold weather in Brazil. And we have A LOT of cities that looks just like plain normal cities, not only beaches, carnival, soccer and beautiful women.
19. It would kinda be cool if they did, though.
South Africa here.
Lions don’t roam our streets.
20. That’s so cool!
Land is free, university is free (continued on the next page…). We don’t have great universities in the country. Up until a few years ago when you finished school you’d go and sign up for university at the Ministry of Education. They’d get back to you a few months later telling you where you’d go and what you’d study. Like, “Congratulations, you’ll be an Electrical Engineer and you’ll spend four years studying in Adelaide, Australia.” Thousands of village kids have interesting careers all over the world because of this. To few were coming back so they’ve started phasing it out and educating in-house.
When you turn 21 you are entitled to apply for 4 different kinds of plots – residantial, commercial, subsistence agriculture, ranch. Waiting lists are long, but you will eventually be allocated one on which to do what you want.
It’s quite quick to get a ranch plot – just drive out in the kalahari and peg it, like the US homesteaders. You can peg a circle up to 8km in diameter.
Oh, also up until the early 2000’s you were entitled to 100 goats when you turned 21.
21. Seriously. Why do people think this?
In India, we don’t break into a collaborative dance number on the street to woo women.
22. We’re all glad to hear about that.
I’m from New Jersey and no one here is anything like the cast of the Jersey Shore. We don’t talk like them, we don’t look like them and we sure as hell don’t act like them! They aren’t even from NJ.
In fact, 99% of people in NJ hate that show. We all want it off the air. I hate it we I mention to people I’m from NJ and they bring up the Jersey Shore.
23. No need to brag.
Not all our women are blonde bombshells. We also have redheaded, black haired and brunette bombshells.
24. I think that’s just all politicians.
Chicago isn’t more windy than anywhere else. It got called the Windy City because the politicians were always “blowing hot air”.
It is cold, though. And the politicians still suck.
25. Thank you, Jamie Oliver!
That the food in England is universally awful. Undeniably this used to be the case but since the 70s the country has gone totally the other way. As a result of not really having a food heritage (at least not one we are proud of) it has left the door open for amazing fusions of foreign food and experimentation. If you don’t believe me come eat here, London has some of the very best restaurants in the world now.
26. Good to know!
Octoberfest is mostly celebrated in one region of Germany. Sauerkraut is not actually that common a dish. We don’t shout all the time and German doesn’t sound half as harsh as everyone thinks.
27. Media in the Western world has portrayed a skewed perspective.
I am from Pakistan and there is nothing but misinformation about my country. Yes, we have problems who doesn’t but one of the biggest misconception people in world have about Pakistan is that its similar to Arab countries as in dry and arid deserts. It cannot be any further from the truth. Our country is possibly one of the most geologically diverse country in the world (based on its size).
We have lush fertile fields, plenty of rivers, lakes, ponds, forests, deserts, arid mountains, green mountains, merging point of three of the biggest mountain ranges on our planet (Himalayas, Hindukush and Karakorom), glaciers, etc etc.
28. “It’s not for us. It’s for you!”
In the Netherlands, the prostitutes and weed isn’t for us. It’s for you!
The thing is, even though weed and prostitution is decriminalized in this country, the majority of adults still regards it as highly negative to be a user. This is why we say it is for you, because in general a lot of young dutch people buy weed once or twice, find out it’s not THAT interesting and move on. Personally I think making it super easy to get, makes it less interesting for the general public. And regular users would be regular users anyway, even if it were illegal.
29. Guess I’ll be leaving my Lederhosen at home, then.
Lederhosen are specific to a certain region, not all of Germany. It would be similar to thinking cowboy hats were common everywhere in the US.
30. I just thought there’d be famous people everywhere you looked.
Los Angeles: not everyone here is famous or super rich. Also the famous people don’t really live in Hollywood, a lot of them live in a neighborhood called Calabasas.
31. But do you eat haggis?
Scotland. We’re not all ginger. I do have a kilt though. No, you can’t look up it.
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