I interviewed three different people about their attitudes toward the United States. The first was an 18 year old woman from Denmark. She told me that her overall impression of American and Americans was a positive one. She had visited New York and Houston and loved the big city atmosphere compared to her small, rural Danish island. However, she did have a negative view of Americans in thinking that we were somewhat lazy. In Denmark, she walked or biked nearly everywhere. She disliked the fact that Americans seemed to take a car or bus even to cover short distances, and that we have polluted the environment greatly with this practice. This attitude was largely based on her interactions with Americans during her visits to our country, as well as Americans like me that she had met in Europe.
The second person that I interviewed was a 26 year old man from southern Germany. He also had a positive overall view of America and Americans. As a former member of the army, he had a lot of respect and admiration for America’s military strength. He told me that he wishes he was American so that he could have served in our army instead of the German one. However, he had a somewhat negative viewpoint on American college students. He considered all of us to be huge partiers who were more concerned about joining the best fraternity and drinking all the time than actually going to class and studying for our degrees. He was surprised at how hard we worked and how little we went out to the bars and clubs in Munich. This attitude likely was grown in him from watching American television and movies.
The third and final person I interviewed was a 55 year old German-Turkish man. He was my professor for the first month of lessons. He enjoyed making fun of Americans, and always made jokes about us during class. But, it was all in good fun and he told me during the interview that he actually thought very highly of America and Americans. He did, however, find us to sometimes be cocky and self-absorbed. He also had a negative view on our government. He told me that Trump was disliked by the vast majority of the German population, and that the general opinion was that he was ruining relations with European nations. He especially disliked Trump’s immigration policy. He thought that the treatment of many immigrant groups was inhumane, and that Trump should be more welcoming and less cruel to our southern neighbors. This attitude was one of someone who approved of German Chancellor Angela Merkel’s decision to open their own southern borders and accept a large number of immigrants, especially refugees from nearby wars or natural disasters.