The world is made up of seven continents. These continents represent different regions in the world. The main regions are North America, South America, Europe, Middle East, Asia, Australia, Eastern Europe, Scandinavia and Africa. These regions differ in terms of development, wealth, education, culture and size. What we know about each region may be limited to the ones we live in or visit.
“To all the flat-world-theorists, no the earth is not flat like this.”
What we really know about other regions is based on a variety of media sources and stereotypes that may be accurate, but may also be completely inaccurate. There are several common misconceptions that most of us share about different regions. These are nine myths that most of us believe are reality.
Myth #1: North Americans Like To Party And Their Academic Performance Is Low
“We just love to party and not care about our academics at all. Note the heart shape.”
To begin with, a common misconception when it comes to American students is that they spend most of their time partying rather than studying. This misconception is based on college movies that focus on parties going on in fraternities, sororities, and basically partying all the time anywhere, anytime. In reality, most universities require students to achieve high academic performances. Students quickly realize if they spend most of their time partying they will see they grades drop and in the process, they might fail. Some may actually lose their scholarships.
For example, one of the top 10 party universities, University of California- Santa Barbara, known for its partying, but yet it boasts a high overall academic performance. In addition to that, it also holds high academic requirements, in which proves that students are expected to have high grades before even joining and are expected to maintain this level throughout their time at the university.
Myth #2: South Americans Are All Drug Dealers
“Well this is basically what the media portrays South Americans to be? Drugs and Cash.”
A common misconception about South American students is that they are considered drug dealers, drug traffickers, or even just drug users. The media in specific portrays South Americans as drug dealers especially in movies and most TV series. Most roles for South Americans on TV are usually as brutal gangster-ish drug dealers. One of the main countries in South America with this stereotype is Columbia. However, this is not applicable to the Columbia of today.
Columbia was once a country filled with drug lords and drug trafficking. There were a number of powerful drug lords such as Pablo Escobar who dealt mainly in international cocaine trade and was the leader of Medellin drugs cartel. He was one of the most famous Columbians known around the world. In some instances, he is what people associate Columbia with. However, now Columbia has grown into a stronger, innovative and economically steady country that attracts a lot of foreign investment.
Myth #3: Europeans Are All Hard Workers
“Now let me just act hard at work so as to fool the world.”
A stereotype that people believe about most European countries is that they are hard working. This belief has come from the fact that most European countries have long working hours, Greece has the longest working hours, Italy and France used to have long working hours. However, as time passed, the reward for work has lessened. This in turn, lowers productivity as people feel underappreciated despite their effort in the workplace. In reality, according to a scientific survey done, the countries considered the laziest in terms of working hours are the most productive; these countries include Denmark, France, Norway, Germany, and the Netherlands.
Myth #4: Australians Can Surf And They All Live By The Beach
“I’m Australian cause I know how to surf and I do this everyday of my life.”
A key misconception when it comes to Australia is that everyone can either swim, surf or that they live by the beach. Whenever you see students on the news or in movies they are all at the beach going to surf. It gives the appearance that all Australians like to surf and they go the beach everyday. However, according to an analysis done on Australian Lifestyle, most Australians do not live near the beach nor do they go surfing everyday. In reality surfing and going to the beach are considered a treat and only happens during the holidays or on certain free weekends. It is not a daily occurrence stereotypically portrayed. What’s even more ironic to this misconception is that not all Australians can surf or swim.
Myth #5: Arab Women Are Uneducated
“Just so you know, my grades and knowledge of education may be better than you think.”
A myth that most people believe is true is that Arab women are uneducated. Truth be told, most girls have access to education. The amount of access to education however, differs from country to country. More so, to clear the air, Arab women receive about the same education to Arab men. The reality is that girls actually perform better than boys in most Arab countries. Way to go, ladies! Even in one of the strictest Arab countries in the world, Afghanistan, women are being educated. And guess what, the founder of the Afghan institute of learning is a woman, Dr Sakena Yaccobi. She founded the institute in 1995 and is a highly educated woman who has received a number of awards and prizes. This goes to show that women in the Arab world can be educated. Need I say more?
Myth #6: Asians Are Geniuses And Get Straight As
“How we wish all Asian nerds and geeks are like this.”
A stereotype most people believe is true is that if you are Asian you must be a math genius or science genius. Most Asians are perceived as nerds or geeks who are only into studying and getting good grades. Come on, we’ve all seen this in movies where the 4-eyed geek clasping and grasping his or her books tightly is Asian. This stereotype is based on two main factors. One of which is that Asians are considered very hardworking and is the other, due to pressure from the child’s parents. Asian mothers who push their children hard are known as Tiger Mums. Admittedly, even though there are a number of Asian geniuses and we do get that in any institute, it doesn’t mean all Asians are geniuses. It puts a lot of pressure on children to perform high and to live up to impossible expectations.
Myth #7: Russian Are Cold And Unfriendly
“Don’t worry, once we get to know each other, we’ll be fun and friendly with you.”
Russians, extremely hardy, cold, unfriendly and reserved. I’m sure we’ve all heard of at least some of this before, if not all of it. That, ladies and gents, is a big stereotype and would I call it, myth that we’ve all been accustomed to, thanks in part to movies around the globe. Their most active roles in movies consist of hardy life scarred hitmen, big burly thugs, mobsters and the list goes on. In reality and in all honesty, they are mostly friendly people but they find constant displays of affection and happiness to be idiotic and silly. If you have ever came across a Russian, you’d know for sure that though they may be quiet and to themselves, once they open up to you, they can be the most fun and jovial bunch you’ll ever meet. an>
Myth #8: Scandinavians Are All Always Happy
“The beauty of the Northern Lights is a good reason why all Scandinavians are supposedly happy.”
Another part of Europe, northern Europe to be precise is Scandinavia, which consists of Denmark, Norway, Finland, Iceland and Sweden. A common misconception about Scandinavians is that they are considered to be the happiest people. However, happiness is a subjective term that cannot be measured with quantifiable means. Did you know that the Danes consume the highest amount of anti-depressants? This second only to Iceland. People who need anti-depressants are highly unlikely to be content or more importantly happy in life. If this is not true, why then the high intake in anti-depressants? Moving on, you’ll be surprised to know that another Scandinavian country, Finland, has the highest rate of suicide. How can a country with such a high rate of suicide be happy? These statistics and surveys done make this claim that all Scandinavians are happy seem thoroughly unreasonable. Of course no one is disputing the fact that some or most of them are contented with what they have going in their lives but this indeed serves as a big eye opener.
Myth #9: Africans Do Not Have Access To Modern Technology
“Tell me this doesn’t come to mind when you think Africa. Oh wait! how wrong you are!”
Lastly, when it comes to Africa most people assume Africa is one big country or a village where every one knows every one. A myth that most people believe about Africa is that Africans have no access to technology. Some people are shocked to know that Africans do indeed have access to electricity, Wi-Fi, mobiles and computers like most us do. In schools that do not have the essential resources, the use of technology such as mobile devices, iPad’s are recommended and encouraged. One example of effective use of technology can be seen in Kenya. People all over Kenya are now using mobile payments to pay for almost anything. How it works? Instant transaction or instant money transfer!
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