A recent thread under the Europe section about "anti-american" thoughts and actions around the world prompted some members to suggest the idea of "dressing" or "acting" like a Canadian. I guess that means wear a maple leaf and enjoy any spontaneous hockey fights
What I am wondering, does that do anything? You see packages for sale on the internet "Travel Canadian" and such.
My experience has been that around the world Canada is treated as the 52nd state of the United States. Or perhaps that the entire continent is the United States.
I do try sometimes to sway their views but it can get ... interesting. And other Canadians run into that? Anyone in general here run into that? Perhaps others here have had similar experiences with their own country abroad?
In the places I have been, generally Canadians and Americans aren't viewed that differently. As someone said in the anti-american thread, I think most people who protest American Government policy are able to separate that from individual Americans travellers.
I did meet a woman who used to travel as a Canadian though she was American. I don't think people treated her any differently.
I've personally found two things, although I haven't travelled extensively outside Canada. One is that there is just a general lack of knowledge about Canada - people tend to lump it in with the US - however its akin to countries like say.. Denmark (sorry) being lumped in as "part of europe" not many people know much about the country - no offence is intended by the remarks though. Canadians tend to take it far too personally when we're lumped in with the US - most people don't realise we're sensitive about that.
The second thing I find is those that have met Canadians or know something about the country tend to have a better opinion of us than they do of Americans. I beleive this is due to our foreign policies and the general reputation that has been built up of Canadians travelling abroad. That said I think we luck out a bit because the more obnoxious Canadian travellers are often mistaken for Americans simply due to stereotyping.
I think the flag on the pack helps for initial interactions but in the end its the individual's behaviour that is judged not the country they're from.
I think I posted this in another forum somewhere, but in case...
Paris is the only place I've ever consistently been picked out as "une petite Canadianne", and that was most probably because the Quebec accent is pretty unique. In most other places, people thought I was an American. Then I'd say "no, no, I'm Canadian" and they'd smile and say "Oh". It mattered more to me than to them.
Thank you for the reply's, you all made some good points.
I think that people see Canada as the America's friendly, peace-keeping neighbour. Most people I have met abroad don't lump us together (52 state, etc, etc), other than the fact that we look similar (funny, since we're both multi-cultural countries) and dress the same while travelling (or so I've been told).
For those I've met that follow the news out there, Canada is looked upon favourably because of their low-key stance on war and other peaceful policies. Many out there disagree with George Jr. and his "take-over-the-world" mentality (I could get into a rant about right-wing conservatives right now, but I don't want to go too much off-topic). For those who don't, they just think Canadians are warmer and friendier than our U.S. counterparts.
I have been confused for an American on numerous occasions, mostly because the only Canadian flag I have on me is my luggage tag (and since I don't carry my suitcase around with me...). One time was rather scary when a drunk, Italian man in Florence began following my friends and I down the street yelling "&#$%ing Americanos!" over and over again. We finally lost him, but it was not a great experience.
JMJimmy, I agree with you...it's only initally about perceptions and then it's the individual that makes it or breaks it.
I've been mistaken for a Canadian on quite a few occassions. I'm half American, but don't have a 'real' American accent, although still somewhat. As a result, people often say 'Canadian'. So there you go, an American who gets mistaken for a Canadian
I don't know many people who lump Canada and the US together. I think the majority understand the difference (though they may not be able to spot the difference in accent).
I live very close to Canada...and when I am disgusted with my own country/government/bureaucracy/powers that be ...I very much consider myself a Canadian wannabe.
I guess the place I found it the most was in Vietnam, there seemed to be more confusion there about Canadian and American.
I heard a story about a canadian guy with a maple leaf on the back of his pack who asked some directions in Asia (I think China or something) and was replied to in Chinese with some hand gestures about where he was roughly supposed to go. When he walked off though, the guy saw the maple leaf and came running after him and then in perfect english said, 'oh I'm sorry, I thought you were american, the place you want to go is right over there'....