One more week stateside, so I thought I'd collect the best, or rather the worst misconceptions about Oxford, England, and Europe in general I've heard over the last few months.
Now, I have plenty of really intelligent culturally aware friends, but sometimes they say things that are ridiculous or not properly thought through. They sometimes realize it shortly after they've said it. A few of these comments were made in earnest, by some less culturally aware friends and acquaintances, which does make me question American education.
"Will you have the internet in England?"
"It's not like England's in Europe."
"You're going to be so close to everything, you'll have to take a day to go to the Swiss Alps."
"Oxford, London, what's the difference?"
"I've been telling everyone about your trip to London."
"You do know that everyone in England hates Americans, right? It's a good thing you're not going to France, they really hate us all."
"You'll have to go to Paris on the weekends, it'll be like, an hour away."
"It'll be all chicks at Oxford, right? I mean it's a girls school."
"Are you going to go to the palace? Can you have tea with the Queen there?"
I'm always afraid of sounding snotty when I correct people. I've given up on trying to persuade everyone that I'm not spending a month in London as they all seem to think. It's true that on the whole, the countries in Europe are much smaller than the US. England is only about the size of my home state, Pennsylvania. It still takes eight or nine hours to get from one corner of the state to the other, so I don't know why history and geography classes haven't given us a more clear understanding of spacial relationship between the countries.
As I've said before, I consider all the people who made these statements to be sufficiently intelligent, so I blame it on the weird US-centric bubble around our education that leads to these "ugly American" misconceptions.