Travel Log 9 “Exploring Stereotypes” by Doug Beebe; London, UK

imageThere are so many stereotypes that we put groups of people into and you never really realize how true or untrue they are until you live in that country. When I decided to study in London there was a whole slew of stereotypes flying through my head about British people and the U.K. itself, and for the most part all of them were true.
One of the most prominent stereotypes of British people as a whole is the fact that they do not like to engage in conversation with strangers what-so-ever. Whether it be walking down the street or sitting on the tube, Londoners are without a doubt always reading a news paper or engulfed in phone. When I first thought of going to London and then thinking of this stereotype I thought I would fit in perfect! Being a more introverted person I thought that I could just blend in with the crowd and not really have to worry about people coming up to me and trying to spark a conversation, but rather I could walk down the street in peace or sit on the tube without having to hear 10 different conversations going on at once. While I thought this would be really nice when I first arrived in London, I soon began to realize that I wouldn’t really mind people starting a conversation with me, or being open to having a conversation with a stranger because it would be great to get to know Londoners.
With that being said, a stereotype I did not know about when I arrived in London was how much the British drink. There is no doubt that if on any day of the week you walk down the street around 5-6 at night the pubs will be overflowing into the street with people holding pints in their hands. They often joke that it is because of the weather that they drink so much, but I think it is just their culture to go out for a few drinks every night. I also now know that if I ever want to talk to a British person, you just have to buy them a pint to get them a little drunk and then they will never shut up.
I think the most prominent or well known stereotype of the U.K., though, is the fact that it rains here all the time. This was one of the things that I was not looking forward to when I decided to come here because there is nothing worse than it being gloomy and rainy all the time. I thought that it was going to drive me to drink just like the British just to get through it. But this one, thankfully was busted. I have been studying here for about a month and half and have probably had a total of 3-4 actual rainy days. When I usually think of rain back home I think of a wash out, a day where it is completely down pouring and if you were to step outside you would immediately be drenched from head to toe. But in London their rain is a slow on and off rain that is almost more of a nuisance than actual rain.
In terms of stereotypes that British people have towards Americans that I have noticed is that fact that we are considered very loud and British people often fancy our perfectly straight and white teeth. As I said before, the Brits are very to themselves and don’t really share much about themselves, unless they are drunk, where as Americans are an open book and feel that anything is free rein to talk about. I feel that this mainly comes with the culture, British people are more likely to be extremely proper, eat all of their meals with a fork and knife (even if it’s a hamburger) and will say that they have to use the Lou where as us Americans will dig right in with our hands to eat that burger and will often just say “I have to pee.”
By living amongst these different stereotypes I really feel like you are able to learn so much about yourself and your host country.


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