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Why do so many Europeans assume Canada is part of the USA?

Travel Forums General Talk Why do so many Europeans assume Canada is part of the USA?

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21. Posted by Taffski (Travel Guru 182 posts) 10y

Hi Guys...

I wasn't going to post a reply to this, however, having read a bit more I think I should provide a more (without being conceited) "enlightened" point-of-view to this discussion.

"Small Nation Mentality" is what my girlfiend says I have.

There are many peoples in the world that have this affliction and I am one of them. Canadians, Irish, Scots, Welsh, Norwegians, New Zealanders etc. etc. seem to all fall into this category.

We all have a more famous (or historically more powerful) neighbour and as such we tend to dislike / envy them! Invariably there is a historical context to these stigma's (persecution / intolerance / Ethnic cleansing etc.) however, we should place our ever growing "Chips" on our "Things to moan about whenever I retire" shelves and leave them there for now!

We have a more pressing and important mission in life !!!!

Although we are less in number / influence / political prowess.. we must see (as was pointed out earlier) ourselves as ambassadors of our countries and Educate everyone... and I mean EVERYONE as to Who we actually are, what we stand for and how we differ from our more famous neighbours!

Remember... everytime someone refers to you as English / American / Australian / Swedish etc. you must point out the error of their ways and (even by drawing a map... which I have done numerous times) highlight the dividing lines (including geographical, social, political etc.) between your nation and that to which you are being associated.

Don't, however, get upset! Remember... you're an ambassador... so influence and educate those that are not as "worldy wise" as yourself (Who are the vast majority I would suggest) and help improve all people's opinions of both you and your country.

For everyone that doesn't know where you're from... there will always be someone out there who will surprise you and bring a smile to your face.

I remember talking to an old Aborigine Woman in Australia who when I told her I was Welsh replied : "Welsh.... hmm.... so can you sing fella ?"

To Coin a phrase a French friend of mine once said....

"Life is good !"

22. Posted by Kicka (Budding Member 17 posts) 10y

Simple-

They don't think Canada is a part of USA, they know it's a part of America. Now USAians call themselfs Americans, so it gets confusing.

Blessings!:):):)

23. Posted by sarahp (Budding Member 11 posts) 10y

I'v learned you encounter ignorance everywhere, I'm from Ireland but spent a summer in Vancouver 2 years ago. Most of the people I encountered were fanatstic but i also encountered some of the most ignorant comments in my life there. For example, as everyone on this site would know we speak English but some people commented on how good my English was, someone else asked me do we get American shows like friends and if so are they dubbed or subtitled! Someone else asked me what its like living in such a volatile environment thinking the troubles in the north had made ireland some kind of war zone. Im not for one second giving out about the canadians, I loved them to bits and had the best time ever there Im just saying that you will encounter idiots wherever you go, its an international epidemic!

24. Posted by Pardus (Respected Member 2356 posts) 10y

You're right there, Sarah. How many times did I hear 'Sweden is a lovely country' after I said 'I am Swiss'? I've just been talking to a colleague at lunch whose husband is Danish. He's repeatedly been called 'Dutch'.
Some people are worth educating, but others I just let ramble, especially in the pub.
There was this weird, drunken guy who started yapping about 'your people actually discovered America and colonised Greenland'. Well, that was another instance where the old 'nod, smile and pretend not to understand English very well' tactic came into play.

25. Posted by sarahp (Budding Member 11 posts) 10y

I know, I could go on forever with all the dumb things that were said to me over there but you really just have to smile and nod!

26. Posted by Clarabell (Travel Guru 1696 posts) 10y

Quoting Taffski

I remember talking to an old Aborigine Woman in Australia who when I told her I was Welsh replied : "Welsh.... hmm.... so can you sing fella ?"
"

Taffski you rock.
That made me think how my Mum can sing "Kookaburra sits in the Old Gum Tree" in Welsh. Which is strange cos she's from Leicester.

I knew a girl who was studying at a top university and had always had top grades etc and was otherwise really clever, but she didn't even know the capital of Russia, or Germany. At the time I couldn't believe it, but in fact, I think I got all through school without being taught anything like where Canada is, and so on. Schools here just don't teach stuff like that.

27. Posted by john7buck (Respected Member 458 posts) 10y

Quoting Taffski

We have a more pressing and important mission in life !!!!

Don't, however, get upset! Remember... you're an ambassador... so influence and educate those that are not as "worldy wise" as yourself (Who are the vast majority I would suggest) and help improve all people's opinions of both you and your country.

"Life is good !"

I have to really agree with Taffski here. I realize that Canadians really do not like being confused for Americans, but I have witnessed some almost downright rude retorts, often in front of me or other Americans, and I'm like, 'come on, it's not like we're a leper colony' (though some might have a funny comment to insert here).

My suggestion would be to just politely correct them and tell them about your country. I realise that some comments may come off as extremely ignorant, but don't be too judgemental. Afterall, we look alike, talk alike, dress alike, etc.

If we're going to be completely honest, I couldn't tell you off the top of my head what separates the Basque from the Spanish, but I'm sure a lot of Europeans could set me straight pretty quickly. On the same token, I could probably tell people the difference between the Quebecois and British Columbians easier than a lot of Europeans probably could. I'm just using that as an example, so don't anybody get too insulted.

Just keep some perspective and be nice about it. As our friend Taffski alluded to, there are bigger tragedies in the world than having your nationality mistaken.

28. Posted by Isadora (Travel Guru 13926 posts) 10y

I have to admit, I thought this thread was going to be problematic when it was first posted. (Hey, it happens even in the most innocent of threads.) But, it has been an interesting and thought-provoking discussion. Not often do we (Mods) take time to compliment posters. (Too busy deleting spam and e-mail addresses. ) But, I would like to take the time now to say thank you for all the positive comments that have been offered. As both Taffski and I have mentioned - we are all ambassadors for our respective countries. We are also teachers in-as-much as it is our responsibility to "teach" others that there are good people all over the world. (Just carry a world map with you at all times so you can show them exactly where you are from. KIDDING!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!) ;) ;) ;)

29. Posted by mat44 (Full Member 58 posts) 10y

i was in Melbourne in an elevator one time with an englishman and he asked me where i was coming from as i had my backpack etc I replied: "up north" (meaning far north queensland) he replied:"oh ok ive never been to Sydney before"!!!

I should have been more specific with my answer haha

30. Posted by patience (Full Member 118 posts) 10y

I dont think its bad they didnt know about canada being a seperate country from the USA. You learn something new everyday. I have a kiwi friend who didnt know London was the capital of England. I dont think it was that many years ago I found out the capital of australia. Loads of people still dont know like its a trick question. I always used to think it was sydney. You live and you learn.