Beyond stereotypes …

My last post was about the French vision of America and Americans. Yet, I hope you’ve understood that this vision was mainly based on stereotypes. Indeed, after 2 years spent in the US I have to confess that I love America and I love Americans even more. Here are the reasons why:

love america

  • Friendly and smiling

Compared to French people Americans are way more friendly and smilling. Back home, it’s hard to get a smile from someone you don’t know whereas here in the US, it’s almost natural. When I first got here I was very surprised to see people that I didn’t know smiling to me and asking how I was doing. I was first kind of suspicious (“what’s wrong with him/her? What does he/she want from me?”) but it didn’t take long for me to realize that Americans or at least people from Louisiana are just naturally very friendly. On the contrary, if you are from Louisiana and want to go to France, you may be surprised, especially in big cities such as Paris, how unfriendly and unsmiling people are. French people are definitely as not friendly as you Americans are, and don’t smile as much as you Americans do.

  • Outgoing and open-minded

I think I didn’t realize how French people were hung-up and inhibited till I came to the US. I personally was and still am shy and reserved but this country and my experience here forced me to change my nature. In a more general way, I can definitely say that Americans are way more outgoing and open minded than French people are. Here you can talk with pretty much everybody about pretty much everything. Back home unless you are with closed friends people are more discreet. For example nobody would talk about his monthly salary to someone that he is not closed to. Money is one of those subject you don’t deal with too much in France. On the contrary, Americans don’t feel any embarrassment talking about it. Plus, Americans are more outgoing in the way they dress, the way they talk, and the way they act in general. I was personally amazed when I first went to US club by the way girls were dancing. You don’t dance that sexy back home. Americans are just funnier and hanging out with them definitely makes your life funnier.

stereotypesTo conclude, I think we should all take distance from stereotypes and think by ourselves before trusting media. Americans are nor arrogant, nor lazy. Yes, a lot of them are fat but they don’t spend their time eating burgers and watching TV as well as French people don’t spend their time eating cheese while drinking wine. If you look beyond stereotypes you’ll realize that Americans are actually more friendly and open-minded than we, French people are.

Last but not least I advice you to travel and go discover by yourself how people are and live outside their frontiers.

Stereotypes about America and Americans …

  • Fat
  • Lazy
  • Proud
  • Self-centered

Here are the four main adjectives used by French people to describe American people. However, what is striking is that the majority of them have never been to the USA before. How can they have such a bad image of America and Americans? The answer is very simple, because of the Media. Indeed, this negative image of Americans based on stereotypes is spreading through the media (movies, video clips etc.) all over the world. Yet, is this French vision of Americans justified? Not always and this is what I’ve found out after 2 years in the US.

How French people see Americans?

American-Stereotypes-2Physical characteristics:

Here is the basic American for a random French. One fat guy eating a hamburger while drinking a soda with a cow boy hat and an American flag as a shirt. The flag on the tee shirt is an important element in that patriotism is a big deal in the US. If you ask a random French to describe an American he would probably depict one of this kind and maybe add some details by depicting him as laying in a couch while watching the Super bowl.

uncle-samMental characteristics:

French people see Americans as very proud and self-centered. Here what a French person would say about Americans in terms of mentality: Americans think they are the best and act as they are. They believe the world revolves around them. In fact, they have no clue what’s going on outside their frontiers. Neither they  know, nor they care because they country is all what matters. That’s why they are bad in geography. Ask an American to explain where are the Netherlands, where are the Alps located or what is the capital of Mongolia …

Europe according to Americans:

Europe According to the United States of America

Please don’t take this post too seriously and read the next one “Beyond Stereotypes” …

What’s in your wardrobe ?

SMALLIMAGE_294160Sport shoes,  a sport short, and a shirt promoting whatever event,  university,  sport team or  association, all usually with a little quote at the back … Here we go ! You got the typical outfit most American students go to class with. As a French student being used to dress up to go to class, I struggled hiding my astonishment.

How can Americans go to class like this? Do they want to feel comfortable or do they just put whatever comes first in their nicholls shortwardrobe before going to class? This is what I first wondered.

Try to go to school dressed like this in France and everybody will make fun of you. Indeed, in France and more generally in western Europe, going to class may seem like going to a fashion show, especially when you are a high school girl. Every girl wants to be the best dressed  and fashion is definitely a big deal back home. No need to say that you better fit in the “mold”.

Coming to the US and being confronted to this new type of clothes permitted me to take some distance. I’ve realized that fashion is not the most important although I do like fashion. What I mean is that in Europe, people should not be judged as much as they are according to their clothes. Yet, I think that American people should sometimes take care a little more about their appearance and the way they are dressed because although it is not the most important, appearance matters. It is what you want to show of yourself and what you decide people will see of yourself.

That’s why French should put things into perspective concerning fashion and take inspiration from American students, so do Americans from French. It’s all about balance …

What’s in your plate ?

Arriving as a Frenchie in the United States requires some acclimation. Getting used to the food is part of that acclimation. Indeed, entering in your university’s cafeteria for the first time and being surrounded by pizzas, burgers, hot dogs, fries, sandwiches, cakes, ice cream as well a multitude of different drinks (among which some completely unfamiliar to you) may be a little surprising for a French girl used to relatively healthy and tiny food. Yet, this is what I’ve experienced when I first arrived in America. To be honest, my first “contact” with American food definitely makes me realize how different my food habits were.

French and American food have little in common. Despite stereotypes, most Americans really like eating burgers, drinking soda and frequenting fast foods. French people on the contrary tend to eat more healthier. They don’t eat less, they just eat better.

Yuuuuuum !

However, what I ‘ve liked and found interesting was discovering the Louisiana food. Gumbo, shrimp, crawfish, red beans are food that I was not used to. I notably experienced my first crawfish last year. To tell the truth, I didn’t like it, but it didn’t kill me. Anyway, in spite of the crawfish’s taste, getting to know a new culture, especially when it is very different from yours is always rewarding.

The famous French Baguette

The famous French Baguette

France has also its typical food, you probably all know about the French Baguette. Baking, tiny food as well as cheese are also well known back home. But overall, what I personally miss the most from home in terms of food is our homemade bread.

Finally, I have to admit that I got used to the American food and more especially the one of Louisiana. It is not my favorite one … Indeed, I’m not fond of fried or seafood but I can handle it and I think that no matter what, living in a new environment with another type of food remains an incredible experience.

Welcome

Welcome to my blog !

As its title suggests, through it you will find information about my experience as a French student athlete who has decided to spend four years in an American college. I  more precisely ended up at Nicholls State University in Louisiana two years ago thanks to a tennis scholarship. My difference in terms of language, culture, way of life etc. made my integration quite difficult. However it also contributes to make my experience more interesting and a lot funnier. This blog is notably aimed at sharing with you all those funny and unexpected moments in which I had to adapt myself to this new country. Some are hilarious, others are more embarrassing but all of them have contributed to make me grow up. If you want to learn about France and the French culture as well as the way a 20 years old French girl can fit in a completely different environment, you have chosen the right website.

Explore my blog and you will discover that being a Frenchie in the Uncle Sam’s Country is definitely a unique experience …

Enjoy your visit !