You what? – strange things my students say about the West

I’m a week away from finishing my first academic year as what can loosely be described as a university teacher in China. Someone told me that I should write some kind of retrospective/memoir, but that sounded like far too much work. I mean, I’m on holiday in a week. I’ve begun the wind-down and I’m feeling far too lazy for any actual writing. So, in lieu of me working, here are a few of my students’ odd comments and questions about us foreigners and our far away lands…

  • English men are all gentlemen.
  • London is always foggy.
  • Westerners can’t use chop-sticks.
  • All English people hate the Germans.
  • Everyone in England is a Christian.
  • Everyone in America owns a gun.
  • Scotland is in England.
  • Do you know David Beckham?
  • All Westerners are confident.
  • All Westerners are white.
  • All Americans are fat.
  • How do you get your skin to be so white?
  • How can I be handsome like you?
  • Ireland is in England.
  • All French people hate the English.
  • Why don’t you have blue eyes?
  • A bar of chocolate in England costs 50RMB.
  • Western women have low moral standards.
  • You wear a ring. You must be married.
  • Do all Western women have rings in their ears?
  • Do you know the Queen?
  • “In the West, people think that every child is a child of God.” – from a Chinese teacher
  • In England, a man’s best friend is his beer.
  • In England, it rains all the time.
  • Is everyone in the West left-handed?
  • The welfare system in the West works well.
  • Everyone in the West is rich.

I’m in a small town in Henan, and there aren’t all that many expats around here. So most of the above probably just goes to show you the high calibre of the previous foreign ‘experts’ that have done my job. What’s it like in the rest of China?

PS. I’m not entirely blameless. While I was teaching in Thailand, I convinced an 11 year-old that English people didn’t eat solid food, only soup. It took me weeks, but he finally bought it. I told him the truth in the end. Eventually.