Last week on Twitter I forwarded this article on how the UK sees Americans.

@nocrowds, @andrewghayes and @LEHedges all forwarded the article with the comment:

“A Brit defending Americans. I’m speechless”

That made me think. It’s probably true that in the UK (and maybe the rest of Europe too) we hear more about the negative aspects of American culture than the positive ones.

Like the article’s author, when I visited the USA I was not prepared for the friendly, open nature of the Americans I met. Eating a sandwich on a park bench, complete strangers sat down next to me and began chatting. I’m used to this living in Turkey, but in the UK? That doesn’t happen very often.

When I’m in the UK, I’m far more likely to hear reports of bad American junk food than the friendliness of American people, or the many other good things about life in the USA.

And Americans online (so it seems from here) are more likely to be talking about travelling the world than writing about life in their own country. In our Food of the World photo group PocketCultures readers have shared photos of food from over 30 different countries, but apart from the fantastic contributions of Marfa Food Shark, we don’t have any examples of food from the USA.

In the rest of the world we think we know US culture. American brands, films, fast food chains are everywhere right?

But just like watching Four Weddings and a Funeral won’t tell you anything about life outside a small subsection of English society, I’m guessing that eating in McDonald’s doesn’t help you make any generalisations about America either.

Sean Oliver of Language and Culture says: “the thing to always remember about the US is how big and varied it is”

“When Americans travel around the country, fast food/Gap blue jeans/popular movies are something familiar to eat/buy/watch… They’re certainly not the best of, or representative of, what many of us eat/wear/watch on a daily basis”.

Julie Schweitert Collazo wrote on her blog Collazo Projects that for her 2010 will be the year of America. I’m looking forward to 2010 being a year of opportunities to learn more about America’s many other sides.

Read more:
PocketCultures is looking for regional contributors
A tale of 50 states: around the USA in photos
Food of the world: PocketCultures readers share their food

About the author

Lucy is English and first ventured out of the UK she was 19. Since then she has lived in 4 different countries and tried to see as much of the world as possible. She loves learning languages, learning about different cultures and hearing different points of view.