“The American”

In Georgia, I was often referred to as the American student.

The responses I got during my time in Georgia about the United States and about my being American were really positive. As I do not look Georgian or speak Georgian, I was asked many times where I was from and why I was in Batumi. A lot of people thought that it was really cool that I was from America and that I was visiting Georgia, and they said not many Americans go to Georgia or Batumi, and that I was the first American they had met. People of all different ages and genders were really kind and interested in where I was from. When I had my nails done by my host mom’s friend, Tiniko, who is 44 and speaks Russian but not English, I asked her what she thought of the United States and if she had ever been here. She said she had not ever been to the U.S., but that she would love to go one day. I asked her what she thought most Georgians felt about the U.S., and she said many Georgians view the U.S. as a place with good jobs, good pay, and better education. In another interesting conversation I had with a 38-year-old man named Paata and his friend, they said that Batumi, which is seen as a resort town, is good to visit for tourists, especially from the U.S. where there is a great exchange rate for the dollar, but that it is not so cheap to live there as a Georgian. This was a little eye-opening for me, because I figured that average Georgians made similar wages to average Americans, in the sense that they made more Lari in quantity, but the exchange rate in spending would be similar if they were to come to the U.S. 

A vendor selling American posters in Tbilisi.

In general, younger people seemed to also have a positive attitude towards the United States, and while I was waiting for Tiniko to do my nails in her boutique, which also sold clothing, her daughter brought me a pair of black jeans that said “Led Zeppelin” on the tag, and she asked me what that meant. I told her it was a band, like with musicians, and she got a kick out of that! My host brother, Saba, wants to be a captain on a ship and travel the world, and as he learned the English language throughout his time at school, he said English is a very important part of the job he wants to pursue. As far as furthering his education, he asked me about Notre Dame and where it was, and said he thought he had actually heard of it before, and that if he could, he wouldn’t mind going to a university in the U.S.

A vendor selling American posters in Tbilisi.

As well, just looking through a couple clothing stores and simply walking around the town I got a feeling that the attitude towards Americans was relatively friendly. I saw American musicians and celebrities on t-shirts, I saw multiple people wearing t-shirts with the American flag and other emblems of the United States; one man was even wearing a t-shirt with “USMC” written on it. And not to forget, Batumi is home to the coolest McDonald’s in the world. 

McDonald’s in Batumi, Georgia.

One thought on ““The American””

Comments are closed.