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Posts tagged ‘stereotypes’


After being in Botswana for the last three months, there is definitely a lot to miss about the U.S. There is a huge difference in the pace of the two countries literally and metaphorically speaking. Lines are longer here and there isn’t the same kind of service as in the U.S. Also, the technology is definitely far behind that of the U.S. Many times, this week included, there is no internet where it is supposed to be on campus so I go to internet cafes or the few places with internet on campus.

But what stands out more than the things that are appreciated in the U.S. are the things that are appreciated in Botswana that I will miss when I go home. In the U.S. there is a heavy emphasis on the work that needs to be done. Here in Botswana, it is the people that matter more. For example, sometimes I will have professors show up ten minutes late to class because they stopped to talk with an old colleague along the way, and this is routine and normal. It can be inconveniencing at times, but it really is pleasant when you adjust to it. That mentality is something I wish I could bring back to the U.S. and I probably will on a personal level.

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When Thinking About Stereotypes in SA

There was a point in my time here when a lot of my American friends back home were asking me questions like, do I see lions and zebras everyday on the way to class? Or, do I live hut? I guess you can say that a stereotype about South Africa is that the people there are of the jungle and very tribal. So far I have not seen this stereotype; the people and environment of Pietermaritzburg is very urban. Some stereotypes South Africans have about Americans are that we have a lot of money, that take-out food is a big part of our diet, and in my case as a black American, that we’re all rappers. Here, stereotypes of other cultures are acknowledged but rarely used negatively. So far I have not encountered negative uses of stereotypes, of any culture, not just Americans. If I could bring anything back from here to the US, it be the friendliness and openness of the people. You don’t really see that a lot in New York City, mostly because people are always in rush to get somewhere. The people here are more relaxed and I really appreciate that.

How to Spot an American


Wearing raincoats and backpacks. Using a camera. Having a sunburn. Walking in groups of more than three. These are just a few of the things that immediately mark us as Americans on the UKZN campus in Pietermaritzburg. I can’t tell you how many times I’ve been introduced to someone and the first words out of their mouth are, “Oh, you’re an American, right?” My go-to response is now, “Which gave it away, the sunburn or the backpack?” This is not to mention our accents. The professor of my Introduction to Zulu class made fun of how we pronounced a list of English words, saying if we don’t know how to speak English properly, how can we learn Zulu? Good question. Read more