Anyway, being in Rome has really allowed me to witness and observe the actions of the so-called "typical American." The typical American (tA for short..haha) will complain, yell obscenities while heavily intoxicated, and act as if they should be catered to at all times. Other tA's will just laugh at each others' actions and partake in all the ignorance. They pay no respect to others and basically think it's wrong that a country functions differently than the US. Hmm, how absurd? Who would've thought that other countries actually do things their own way? Damn. But anyway, in order to examine the tA, let's look at the issues at hand...
- Why does the tA go to another country and act the exact same way as they do at home?
- What makes the tA think that they should act even crazier while in another country?
- Why does the tA expect to receive the same products and services as in the US?
In an attempt to answer these questions, I will, based on my own opinions and observations, discuss the forces contributing to this obnoxious behavior. So let's begin...
First, the tA lacks the knowledge and open mind needed to appreciate another culture. Due to various reasons, such as the education system in America and the huge pride that exists within each American (which can also be attributed to the education system), the tA has been somewhat sheltered from the rest of the world. (I mean many people are only learning Spanish because they say it'll be a prevalent language in the US due to the large number of immigrants coming from Hispanic countries.) The majority of Americans just aren't exposed to other cultures and there aren't really classes in Jr High or High School that give kids a glimpse of what other cultures are like. Not that there should be classes, but it should at least be touched upon and explored a little bit more, so people don't think that the American way is always the right way. People need to question things more. What kids learn at school is mostly taken at face value. Memorize it so you can do well on the test. No questioning needed. America as a country is overly glorified at schools. Ask kids what they think about Columbus "discovering" America, or how the US government had laws that segregated and discriminated against people. Have kids rethink the country, instead of always making it seem so amazing.
This brings me to my next point that the tA thinks that American products, services, and processes are superior. Since the tA is so accustomed to the same processes and lifestyle, they soon believe that if those same processes aren't followed, then it just doesn't work. Instead of thinking that, why not just realize that it just works differently? For example, the Italian siesta where businesses close in the early afternoon for a few hours and then re-open around 4. To some, this doesn't make sense. If these businesses were in the US, they're probably right. But they're not. They are in Italy, catering to an Italian consumer base. And the way these people have grown up is to have these breaks in the middle of the day. Other people who go to the US probably wonder why restaurants are busy at like 6 or 7pm. Because Americans typically eat at that time. It's just the way things are.
Lastly, since I've been here, it's been a non-stop party for some people. Don't get me wrong, I like to party also, but c'mon, get an effing handle on yourself. For some people, that's their basic goal while doing a STUDY abroad. Just party as hard and as often as they possibly can until it's time to leave. Now why is this happening? My belief is that it's because the tA think that they can get away with anything. Their passports will save them from anything, so they'll treat every city as a playground. This goes back to the tA not being exposed to the culture and the belief that the American culture is superior. They believe that their culture is better, so they'll live it wherever they go. They don't care about the taboos. It's anything goes. If we can do it in the US, we can do it anywhere. And if it's probably not allowed here, oh well, I have an American passport, they can't touch me.
The tA's are not bad people. They just lack the respect of other cultures to adapt and accept.