In the Loop

In the Loop: February 14, 2008 Archive

America . . . as viewed by Romanian school children

Posted at 11:20 AM on February 14, 2008 by Sanden Totten (1 Comments)

These days, it's hard not to notice that America's image abroad ain't what it use to be. But could it really be all bad?

A friend of mine is currently living in Romania teaching English to 9th graders. Right now they are focusing on "American Culture and Civilization" and to get started she had her children break into groups. Each group put together a list of words to answer the question "What Does It Mean to Be An American?" Here is what they said:

Group 1: money, crashing planes, big buildings, hot dogs, black people, NATO, party animals, wars, Independence Day, rebellious

Group 2: "dude", FBI, free, fighter, smart, stupid, NASA, justice, Hooters

(photo by graciepoo via Creative Commons)
Group 3: diversity, non-conformity, education, the American dream, drinking-age, marshmallows, skyscrapers, Halloween, VIP clubs

Group 4: Spongebob, Skittles, inventive, rock music, Robert Deniro, fast food

* * *

I think the back to back pairing of "smart" and "stupid" says a lot. Mostly, that our image isn't all bad, just . . . mixed. Also, I'm sure Robert Deniro would be pleased to know that he is now as internationally recognized as Spongebob. Can Al Pacino say as much?

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