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The Collins dictionary defines common stereotypes “as fixed general images or set of characteristics that a lot of people believe represent a particular type of person or thing.”


By the way, the word “thing” in the stereotype definition could also imply a place, for example, a country in which people form a fixed general idea or image, assuming that people, or even animals, from a place, will behave in a particular way.



Many of us, based on the above stereotype definition, may hold or perhaps know someone/people who have different perceptions of reality about various countries, based on opinions that may stem from personal experiences or maybe from something that was heard or seen through the media.


These stereotype examples, dominantly negative, could be either negative or positive stereotypes, ranging from how violent/peaceful a country is, how fraudulent/principled a country is, how unfriendly/friendly a country is to some weird/cool traditional or cultural ideology about a country to mention these few.


Some of these stereotype examples, given their two-sidedness, with time, could take a positive or negative turn when the true reality of a place is determined.


This post, via the contributions from 25 diverse individuals, will discuss some of the common stereotype examples of places, and the surprising discoveries about these places that are unknown to most people.



| Nick Brennan | Brett Manders | Nick Kamboj | Mitchell Glass | Anika Reynesh | Phil Forbes | Elyse Robinson | Chris Tepedino | Gabrielle Beckford | Patricia Hajifotiou | Jim Wasserman | James Cave | Chiara Lo Faro | Kristine Thorndyke | Larry Namer | Diana Villegas | Igor Mitic | Jordan Counsel LLC | Tony Arevalo | Stacy Caprio | Natalia Smith | Nicola Lavin | Maribel Agullo | Marta Laurent | Anna Cole |


| Italy | France 1, 2 | Russia | Serbia | Romania | Hong Kong | Germany 1, 2, 3 | Portugal | Australia 1, 2 | Nigeria | Greece | Spain 1, 2 | India 1, 2 | Poland | China 1, 2, 3 | Mexico 1, 2 | Colombia | Thailand | Dubai | South Korea |



1) Australian Stereotypes

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Nick Brennan

As someone who was born and raised in Australia, I can provide some common stereotypes examples about my country.


Many people think that because Australia is full of dangerous animals and critters, they might get bitten by something dangerous/poisonous like a spider or snake, or even get eaten by a shark.


But the truth is far from this!


What scares Australians is not a spider or a snake or a shark, but it’s a species of bird! Yes! The Magpie! They’re notoriously protective of their habitat and regularly swoop and attack passers-by, even in built-up city areas. Just last week a particularly aggressive Magpie was shot dead in Sydney by the local council.



More than 40 complaints about the particular bird had been made, with confirmed injuries and people having to visit the Emergency room!


2) Australian Stereotypes

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Brett Manders

I am an international airline pilot who is also from Australia


I think one of the most common stereotypes about Australia is that kangaroos can be seen hopping down the main street, even though people who have never been to the country seem to believe it.


Whilst kangaroos are plentiful in the country, they don’t hop down the middle of the city, especially in cities like Sydney and Melbourne with a human population of about 5 Million.


However, having said this, kangaroos can easily be found but certainly not in the cities!



3) Germany, China, South Korea, and India

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Nick Kamboj

I have traveled to 29 countries and 350 cities. But sometimes, I get a very surprising reaction when I tell people where I am visiting next due to the common stereotypes associated with the country/place.


Here are some of my most interesting travel experiences, even though some people raised their eyebrows when I told them that I was going to visit said country/place.


A) Germany Stereotypes

I heard: Don’t travel to Germany, it is a very emotionally cold and closed country! And there is nothing to do there. Do you know that no one visits Germany?


My response: This is a complete and UTTERLY WRONG German stereotype. It is so wrong on so many levels because Germany is such a beautiful place with so much warmth and cultural diversity. I have visited Germany multiple times, and have found it to be very liberal, open, and welcoming. It is also very progressive and committed to improving itself.

B) Chinese Stereotypes

I heard: Why are you going to China? Are you not aware it’s a communist country?! You will be arrested the moment you set foot in the country!


My response: This is completely false and an utter fear-mongering Chinese stereotype. I have been to China – Beijing, and Shanghai, and I found China to be very open and welcoming. Yes, there is a strong presence of government structure near Tiananmen Square; however, there is such a commercial, cultural, and entertainment aspect to it. It is clear that China is no longer the country depicted in Pearl S. Buck’s The Good Earth, as evidenced by the thriving metropolis of modern Pudong, located across Shanghai.


C) South Korean Stereotypes
I heard: Why are you going to South Korea? There is incredible poverty there. Don’t you know that you may not be able to come back, or that there will most likely be war when you are there? There are a lot of tensions.


My response: Contrary to these common stereotypes, South Korea was absolutely an amazing delight. Very clean, safe, and modern with incredible warmth and charm. Amazing nightlife, shopping, and restaurants coupled with a wonderful history steeped throughout every facet of the cityscapes. Visiting South Korea was akin to being transported 20 years into the future.


D) Indian Stereotypes

I heard: Dude, why are you going to India? There is so much poverty and a lack of clean water. They also don’t eat meat there. They are also very conservative.


My response:  These common Indian stereotypes are false as India is Incredible! I have been there several times, and every time she is different and dynamic and always evolving. One of the most modern and progressive countries on earth. Constantly striving to be better. Coming back every few years feels as though it is a different country. The nightclubs, the fashion shows, the restaurants, the shopping, the museums, and most importantly the people make India a cultural and festive treat every time.



4) Colombia Stereotypes

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Mitchell Glass

My wife is Colombian, and I have lived in Colombia for the past three years.


Whenever I mention Colombia to anyone, the most common stereotypes, based on the first thing I’m asked about, are the drug cartels, violence, and Pablo Escobar. People think what they watch on Narcos is today’s reality.


That couldn’t be further from the truth. “I have traveled extensively throughout Colombia, and I currently reside in Cali, which was once home to the notorious Cali Cartel. However, I have never come across any remnants of the cartel in my travels. In addition, it is important to note that many Colombians, much like individuals from other countries, do not appreciate it when others associate their country with negative stereotypes or misconceptions.”


Another common stereotype about Colombia that I’ve noticed is when the average person thinks of third-world countries, they imagine people with dirty clothes, dental problems, lack of hygiene, etc.


Every traveler I’ve spoken to was shocked when they arrived in Colombia and found the complete opposite. People are *obsessed* with their hygiene and appearance here—way more than any other country I’ve been to. For example, it’s not uncommon for Colombians to carry around their toothbrush everywhere they go so they can brush right after eating anything.



5) Nigerian Stereotypes

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Anika Reynesh

I have been to Nigeria and have had the opportunity to work with a couple of Nigerians. And in addition, like many of us, I also pay attention to the news of what is been said or done to/by Nigerians.


I have come to conclude, based on all of these, on major common stereotypes examples of the country. Unfortunately, most of what is known about Nigerians has not been too positive. For example, the scam (419) email from a Nigerian prince asking for help to recover some money. This, like many others, has created very negative stereotypes of Nigeria being fraudulent even though these activities are carried out by a few disgruntled elements, some of whom are not even Nigerians.


But one thing that is quite impressive about the country, which most people do not often talk about is how well-educated and skilled most Nigerians are. Yes, I do concur that the country, like many other countries, is plagued with corruption. But aside from that and the previously mentioned negative stereotypes, the country is known to have some of the most highly educated and creative citizens in the world.


Take for example in the USA, where a 2018 report indicated that Nigerian-Americans are on the path to becoming one of the most successful ethnic groups in the USA. Another 2018 data, from, shows that Nigerians are the most educated in the USA.


And it doesn’t stop there. What about the entertainment industry, where great music from Nigerian musicians is played and listened to all over the world?


Well, you don’t hear a lot of people talking about these things. What one hears about is the scam that both the victims and the perpetrators should be held accountable for. Yes, I said the victims because they fell for the scam out of sheer greed. You know, if it is too good to be true, it probably is.


This goes to show that negative news, no matter how small it is, does hold sway over positive news.



6) Polish Stereotypes

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Phil Forbes

I’m Phil, an Aussie blogger living and working in Poland, and over time, I have observed these common stereotypes about Poland:


The Poles are known for being lazy, crude, and unkempt. In the UK and Germany, the Polish stereotypes are that they don’t know English and steal cars.


But in truth, Poland is one of only two countries that have lodged 27 years of uninterrupted economic growth. Many European and UK businesses base their operations here as the quality of life is comparable to Western Europe but significantly cheaper.


The education level is better and the standard of English is the 11th best in the world.



7) Mexican Stereotypes

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Elyse Robinson

I have been living in Mexico for almost three years as a Black American woman. Here are a couple of common stereotypes about Mexico:


A) The country is full of cartels, drugs, and gangs…and it is so dangerous that you can’t even walk down the street in broad daylight.

B) You will get kidnapped and held for ransom.

C) You can’t drink the water or eat the food.


But to my Surprise:


A) Mexico is a beautiful country with some of the best climates and landscapes ever known…beaches, mountains, and jungle to mention a few.

B) The people are amazingly friendly, kind, and helpful.

C) I feel safe here and have never had to worry about my safety.

D) The food is amazing and very different from the US. And by the way, I do drink the water.



8) Mexican Stereotypes

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Chris Tepedino

I did not know what to expect when I went to Mexico to see some tourist attractions. There were common stereotypes about Mexico, sure, especially from images and videos in movies we see in America. These Mexican stereotypes bothered around, for example, the violence, the drugs, the dirtiness, and the poor infrastructure.


Whether we know it or not, these Mexican stereotypes are often wrapped around our minds from the years of absorbing the above materials with little perceptions of reality to base them off. We have no anchor, so to speak. And the entertainment industry, and sometimes even the news, as previously noted will reinforce these common stereotypes.


I arrived in 2019, just a little over a year since the election of a president, and in a time where it felt Mexicans (and all Hispanics to some extent) were being vilified. Would this impact me, as an American tourist? Would I receive reciprocal hostility? I wondered!


Although I came in with all of these common stereotypes and concerns. But here is what I realized.


A) Mexico is a run-down country.

This is far from the truth. While the buildings in the cities I visited were smaller than those in many American cities, everything hummed fine. The streets were clean, the air quality was good, the showers were hot, and all the travel amenities were there.


B) Mexicans are unfriendly towards Americans.

This is very much not the case. The Mexicans I met were more than happy to show me around, give me recommendations, showing patience while speaking with a gringo with poor Spanish speaking skills.


C) Mexican infrastructures do not function well.

I did not notice any of these during my trip, except at the Tuxtla Gutierrez International Airport. Everything happened /moved according to schedule. The bus trips, the in-country flights, and even my (perhaps lucky) stint at the Mexico City International Airport were all on time.


D) Mexicans work hard.

Well, no, Mexicans work very, very hard based on what I observed. A six-day workweek is common in Mexico, along with side hustles– From the woman I met managing Airbnbs, giving therapy, driving Uber, and to the women and their young children hawking wares in the squares, Mexicans hustle big-time.


These are some of the impressive things I learned about the country. Sometimes, we have no basis for what we will experience in terms of culture or reality, which is part of what I love about traveling, as stereotypes are busted and we see things clearly from everything we previously thought.



9) United Arab Emirates (UAE)/Dubai Stereotypes

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Gabrielle Beckford

I am a travel content creator & writer


I’d like to resolve some common stereotypes about Dubai as I have lived there for a year in 2017. It couldn’t have been more different from how the American media portrayed the city.


The first common stereotype is that Dubai is incredibly expensive. While it can be, it doesn’t have to be. For example, The Dubai Metro System is impeccable. There are stops almost every mile or so through the entire city, and it costs only $1 for each ride!


Taxis are also very cheap and have a minimum of around $3 for every ride—most 5 to 10-minute rides don’t even end up exceeding the $3 if you can avoid traffic. You can grab meals at local restaurants throughout the city from $8-$20 USD easily, and the city has a plethora of affordable Airbnb options for accommodations.


Another Dubai stereotype, as a city in the Middle East, is that you can’t drink. And while the private purchase or possession of alcohol is illegal, tourists can very much drink there! Ladies’ Night, where women receive complimentary drinks, is every single day of the week! You can’t drink in your home, but you *can* drink every night (except for holidays such as Eid) in Dubai.


And the last common stereotype I want to debunk is that women have to wear hijab/burqa. This is untrue! Yes, you do have to be considerate of the majority of the Muslim population and not dress too scantily clad in public areas where devout Muslims may frequent such as malls and restaurants. However, tourists do not have to wear hijab or abayas in public 24/7. They’re only required when visiting religious sites such as mosques.


Some things that you may not believe that women can wear in Dubai, in the appropriate settings, are Bikinis (in tourist beaches), crop tops and short dresses (in night clubs), and shorts (in tourist areas such as Jumeirah Beach).



10) Greek Stereotypes

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Patricia Hajifotiou

I can weigh in on the common stereotypes about Greece as I have not only taken small group tours throughout Europe & Greece, but I live most of the year in Greece (when I am not in Ohio, U.S.A.)

The negative stereotypes about the Greeks are that they are lazy and swindlers. Some of these negative stereotypes came more to the forefront during the debt crisis. The lazy stereotype might come from packed coffee houses and the thought is ‘Why aren’t these people working?’

My experience living here for the last 20 years is that the vast majority of Greeks are very hard working, but when their work is done, social time is valued as a balance to hard work. Since many people live in multi-generational housing, with extended family, coffee houses are the best place to meet up as opposed to small, crowded homes.

And, according to The Organisation for Economic Co-operation and Development (OECD) data, the Greeks work more hours per year (2,018 hours) than any other European country. Compare that to the German average of 1,363 hours per year, and you see how startling and unfair the stereotype is, especially for a country struggling to address a debt crisis and 20% or so unemployment.

Also, I have first-hand experienced the honesty of the Greek people. There have been times when my clients have left behind things in their rooms or even on a bench, and they were returned promptly, always to the delight of travelers expounding on how nice a bit of honesty is.

Some people might mistake a swindle by a less-than-honest taxi driver as proof that all Greeks are dishonest. I have met with dishonest taxi drivers around the world. I would never associate the attempt at dishonesty with everyone in that particular country and no one should do that for the rest of Greece.



11) Spanish Stereotypes

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Jim Wasserman

My wife and I are Americans who last year retired and moved to Granada, Spain. We love it there, especially the culture. My wife and I both write (books on media literacy, and articles on finance), but we also write some travel features (Finding la Buena Vida in Granada, Spain – International Living)


We have to constantly disabuse people (mainly Americans) of their common stereotypes of Spain. It’s not Mexico (any more than England is like Texas). The one that gets me, however, is that Americans think siesta is just nap time and, as such, Spaniards are lazy and don’t work. To quote me from a blog post:


Outside of Spain, people have the idea that everyone takes a siesta nap, and while many days that is true for us, I think of it more as a personal recharge time. I am just as likely to read a book or play a computer game. Perhaps I’ll finish up some writing, read some entertaining history (which for me is all of it), or casually practice my Spanish with an App.


If the weather is nice, we can play tennis in the sports complex across the street, or take a stroll in the city or a hike in the country. In many ways, it reminds me of Sundays as a kid, when stores were closed, and one was compelled to take a breath and enjoy just being, not doing. Except this is every day (and still all day Sunday).


There is no doubt that living is a bit slower in Spain, but it is not lazy. Many stores do close around 2:30 pm, but they will reopen at 6:00 am and stay open until 9:00 pm.


Americans might still turn their nose up at such non-productivity, but while Americans say they are about family or quality of life, Spaniards make sure that, for a couple of hours each day, they live it. And speaking of living, the siesta is a major part of why Spain is set to have the longest lifespan of any country. Here are other myths: Americans assume their healthcare is the best, but the siesta stereotype is one I constantly hear from back home.



12) Portugal Stereotypes

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James Cave

Portugal isn’t a country that a lot of people know of in-depth. But those who do, and particularly those who have lived in Portugal, will associate the word bureaucracy with it. Bureaucracy is a European-wide common stereotype, but it’s something that Portugal excels at.


One thing people don’t know about Portugal, but which is incredibly beautiful and an essential part of the Portuguese makeup is the idea of feeling Saudade.


Saudade is a word that apparently can’t be translated, but essentially it means longing – longing for a different time, for a time that didn’t exist, an old relationship, anything. The key here is longing for something different from what you currently have.



13) Indian Stereotypes

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Chiara Lo Faro

I am Chiara, a Sicilian entrepreneur who has spent 7 years living in India. There are typical common Stereotypes that the world has of India: land of spirituality, poverty, chaos, old rituals, and for the people with an international outlook, an economic and industrial giant surviving on the exploitation of people. These are what I used to think about the country, too, before learning Hindi and experiencing everyday life there.


Here are a couple of things that surprised me:


A) Banks In India go to the customer, not the opposite:

In India, customer service is taken very seriously. This is a place where when you need to open a bank account, you may call up the bank and ask for an executive to come and meet you, at your office or home. The executive will bring the account opening forms, they will fill them up and you only need to sign. Then they will take them back to their branch.


B) You sit and shop while sipping tea, coffee, or cold drink:

Traditional or high-end Indian shops have a special regard for the customer. They feature several sofas or armchairs facing a stage or a table. The customer sits while looking at the merchandise around them. They are offered something to drink while they indicate the items they would like to see. A shop assistant takes them out to the stage. In the case of sarees, the customer may feel the cloth while sitting and the assistant will try the saree on themselves for the customer to see how it looks.


C) Living in India is not so cheap:

Local items are very cheap when compared to Western prices. However, foreign items are very expensive, and living a Western lifestyle ends up being very costly. Additionally, organic or high-end foods are more and more popular. A house and office costs in big cities are extremely expensive, with some of the world’s highest prices per square


D) Some of the most advanced payment methods:

India and its startups have contributed to creating advanced and immediate payment methods: UPI, IMPS, mobile payments, and payments via mobile numbers, etc. which make the country work at a fast pace.


E) House helpers become part of your family:

Employing house staff is seen as a form of exploitation. It may have been the case earlier and it may still be for some people, however, many Indian homes develop a close relationship with their house staff. You may end up employing a lady for cleaning, her husband as a chauffeur, or some of her relatives for other services. You may pay for their children’s education, books, and others. You help them solve the issues they face in everyday life. This creates an amazing kind of bond.



14) Chinese Stereotypes

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Kristine Thorndyke

I am an American who lives in China. There are very classic common stereotypes of all Chinese cities being heavily polluted (you have probably seen the progression pictures of Beijing pollution from bad to good days).


When I moved to Shenzhen (the fourth largest Chinese city) to live and work, I was surprised to find that the air is good due to environmentally conscious decisions made by the city. The city government has been aggressively cutting down roadside air pollution and is the first major city in the world to roll out an all-electric public bus fleet.


Similarly, nearly half of all taxis are now electric. The smoggy, industrial factory cities certainly do still exist in China, but there has been an effort made to clean up the major cities and employ new technology to allow for a greener city and better quality of life.



15) Chinese Stereotypes

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Larry Namer

Here are a couple of common stereotypes about China that cannot be farther from the truth.


A) People think that there is a type of food labeled Chinese food– One homogeneous cuisine.

But there are eight very different cuisines. It’s very different just like the way the New Orleans cuisine and the Boston seafood and the Texas barbecue differ from each other.


B) Chinese people drink only tea.

Starbucks is on every corner, and coffee consumption is now part of everyday Chinese life, particularly for young urban Chinese.


C) All you can find in China are Chinese restaurants.

Next to New York, Shanghai is one of the best international food cities in the world. I can get better Italian food in Shanghai than I do in Los Angeles.



16) France and Germany

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Diana Villegas

I’ve been living and working in Europe for 5 years now and the common stereotypes people have about France and Germany always make me laugh. I understand that there’s always some truth to why people use stereotypes but it grossly simplifies what life is about and how you approach individuals.


A) German Stereotypes

The common stereotypes I hear the most are that the Germans are cold, humorless, super organized, rules-obsessed, and generally rude. I think most of these common stereotypes about Germany come from a misunderstanding of the culture in general.


Yes, it might be harder to make friends in bigger cities like Hamburg, as an expatriate, but it isn’t because Germans are cold. I would say they are more reserved than the average American.


This is also why they come off as rude. The line between personal and work life is not as blurred as it can be in the United States. They keep their distance but once you become friends with them, they stay friends with you for life.


It is a similar story with being organized and following the rules. People assume it is due to a lack of originality or individuality; that they lack personal freedom. Although I can tell you, the fact that you know specifically what to do and what not to do gives you a different sense of liberty. One where you are not second-guessing your actions and know exactly what your limits are.



B) French Stereotypes

France is unlucky in a way because they suffer from what people call “French bashing” (there’s even a documentary of it on YouTube for those who speak French). That is a combination of outdated common stereotypes pushed by Americans.


These are easily summed up by Pepé Le Pew. That is: people think the French are lazy, bad romantics, stinky, hairy…you get the picture. In my eyes, people forget that France is well known for its efficiency. They are not lazy, they just have a different view of tackling problems. They put high importance on the quality of life, which is why they have, on average, more holidays than other European countries. Yet, they are among the most productive countries in Europe.


Another problem comes from the fact that people confuse French stereotypes with Parisian stereotypes…


Again, stereotypes are shortcuts but it is bad to judge people and countries based on them. They don’t show you what life is really like in the cities nor how individuals are.



17) French Stereotypes

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Igor Mitic

I was most biased when I was supposed to travel to France. Some of those common stereotypes about France were true, for example, eating snails for fun and in a casual setting. However, some of them, like the ones listed below, proved to be completely false.


A) All French are smokers

This is completely false in recent years. This could be due to the high price of tobacco or the health impact of enlightenment, which may have forced many French people to decide to quit smoking or replace a traditional cigarette with an e-cigarette.


B) French women don’t shave.

Maybe this was the case before, but now, the situation has dramatically changed. I would say French women don’t go all the way to be as hairless as possible, but they are not walking down the *Avenue* des Champs-Élysées with their hairy pits.


C) French people are too posh.

This is not true. In fact, like in any country, there are uptight people. But a vast majority of the population belongs to the middle class with the same habits as everywhere in the world.



18) German Stereotypes

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Jordan Counsel LLC

There are several common stereotypes and misconceptions regarding Germany, including (1) no speed limit on the big highways, (2) no sense of humor among the citizens, and (3) German chocolate cake. The reality is quite different.


First, it is true that some portions of the big highways don’t have speed limits, but that changes when approaching areas with roadwork. And because of environmental and safety concerns, there is a movement in the country to implement a nationwide speed limit.


Secondly, the German language is quite literal, with long German words often being comprised of smaller words that describe the action/thing. Perhaps because of this literal nature of the vocabulary, Germans are generally direct when expressing themselves. This directness, in turn, probably contributes to the notion that Germans lack a sense of humor.


Finally, there is no authentic German chocolate cake, since the German chocolate cake is not from Germany. The cake’s origin is attributed to an American baker named Samuel German!



19) Serbia Stereotypes

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Tony Arevalo

I have recently traveled to Serbia, Europe. Before I went there, people told me some common stereotypes such as being extremely careful due to the high degree of violence in the country, and that it is not safe for solo travelers.


I have heard that Serbs are not very fond of foreigners, so I was a bit worried about speaking English. I had no idea whether anyone would even understand English, so I tried learning a few Serbian sentences in advance.


But once I landed in Serbia, I immediately realized how wrong I was. All of the people I approached assisted me in finding directions, and they spoke very fluent English. Although Serbs may seem cold, when you try speaking to them, you soon realize just how friendly they are.


I even was invited to parties, and meals and had a lot of chances to talk to the locals. Even people in the tiny stores spoke English and were eager to suggest places to visit. Although the country still suffers the consequences of the 1990s and all of the wars it’s been through, people have found a way to remain friendly and kind, which impressed me tremendously.



20) Hong Kong Stereotypes

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Stacy Caprio

Many people assume Hong Kong is just a crowded city and offers nothing else. When living there, I discovered it is only 1/3 city and the outskirts are incredibly stunning mountains, oceans, and hiking areas.


Even just going there to experience nature and not seeing the city at all would be worth it because nature has so much to offer.



21) Russian Stereotypes

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Natalia Smith

I am a female wedding photographer of Russian background based in the UK.


Having been raised in a Russian-speaking family environment, I have inherited some of the typical mentality and common stereotypes about Russia. However, a lot of it does not fit with the stereotypes trending in the West.


I have been living in the UK for 10 years and I believe I have fully integrated into UK society. I am proficient in English, in fact, I also teach it as a foreign language (I have gained an MA in the UK). Nevertheless, the common stereotypes that come with Russian culture and behavior always follow me.


I do have a more or less typical Russian woman’s look – long blonde hair, wide jawline, simple facial features. Like many Russian women, I also take great care of the way I look and appear in front of people – especially when working with a wide range of the public. Which I assume is a good thing. Nevertheless, the negative stereotypes about Russians are often affected.


When people find out I’m Russian, they appear to be a bit lost. They seem not to know how to react and become a bit weary. Often people stumble, smile, or say nothing. Some want to appear funny and mention something about the Russian spies or bring up the Salisbury incident. Often I get asked if I work for a secret Russian spy agency, or if I have an agenda. I have learned to joke these things off.


When the guests at the wedding become more relaxed and have a few drinks I often get comments regarding my alcohol preferences and apologize that there isn’t vodka on the tables. I do respond that I don’t drink while at work, and also I don’t drink vodka as it is too strong for me. People at this point look shocked and say something along the lines of “Don’t all Russians drink vodka”?


One of the common stereotypes that I often get is that all Russians are crazy. I get asked what kind of crazy stuff I do. To which I also jokingly respond “Nothing that you would see me do while working.”



22) Romanian Stereotypes

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Nicola Lavin

I received quite a few concerned texts and messages from family and friends before traveling to Romania.


A) I was warned not to use my credit card because I would be robbed as all Romanians are poor and will resort to robbing you to finance themselves. But on the contrary to the stereotypes about Romania


Romania, contrary to these common stereotypes, might be cheap but it is by no means an underdeveloped country. In fact, in 2017, Romania experienced the fastest economic growth in the EU with a growth rate of 6.9%.


And I did feel safe and secure while visiting the country. The Romanian people were warm and friendly and eager to impress tourists. I had no problems using my credit card and



B) I was told to expect stray dogs just wandering the streets waiting to bite.


 I only witnessed one stray dog. Don’t tell me that you won’t find at least one stray dog in any capital city in the world!


C) I was urged to be wary of Romani gypsies selling roses because it was just a ploy for them to pick-pocket unsuspecting victims.


I did witness the Romani gypsies selling roses, but they were by no means pickpockets, and they went away once you indicated that you had no interest in their business


D) Vampires exist in Romania, and Romanians hang garlic in their homes to keep the vampires away.


This is one of the common stereotypes that are far from the truth as most of us already know that vampires are fiction of the imagination and never existed.  The vampire is a character that was brought to life by a 19th-century author, Bram Stoker, based on the real personality of Vlad Tepes, the son of Vlad Dracul, who used to impale his enemies or those that committed crimes on large wooden stakes and leave them to die outside his castle gates.


E) Another major stereotype is that all Romanians are gypsies


What I discovered is these folks only make up about 3% of the population. And not all of them are beggars as some of them are quite learned and do have jobs.



23) Italian Stereotypes

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Maribel Agullo

I have lived in Italy for the last 22 years, and one of the common stereotypes that many people have about Italy is that people take naps during the day. They think or perhaps heard from someone, that the reason shops close at midday is that shop owners and employees go home to nap due to laziness.


The truth is that many shopkeepers are open 6 days a week, and so they use the midday to sit down and have a meal as any normal person would. They also use the time to do some errands that they cannot do at any other time given their busy work schedule, which begins at 5 am doing work stuff like buying food to sell, going to the doctor’s, going to the motor vehicle department, etc. And then they work late until 7-7:30 pm. So the time they have to socialize is minimal at night as they have to go to bed early to repeat the same schedule.


Considering their tight and busy schedule, it thus makes sense why some people sleep at midday, and is not because they are lazy.


The only person I know who snoozed after lunch is my mother-in-law. But she would regularly wake up at 5 am to do stuff in the house and she also stays up late. So she, like any normal person, would need the rest to avoid being perennially tired.



24) Spanish Stereotypes

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Marta Laurent

One of the huge common stereotypes about Spain is the siesta. People seem to believe that businesses close here because business owners need to take a nap, which is not true!


When my guests ask me if stores close for siesta, I tell them that the locals will get offended because closing for siesta sounds lazy… I then explained that in the city center, most businesses stay open the whole day because they are very busy.


And in other neighborhoods that are less busy, where businesses are usually family-owned and small rather than corporations, which can afford to pay employees on different shifts, small stores do close in the middle of the day and the reason is not siesta but for Food!


Yes, food is almost sacred in Spain. We need at least one hour to eat a three-meal course properly. Many local restaurants have their menu del dia (specials of the day) ready to be served, so workers can get there from the office, eat in 45 minutes, and go back to work. This makes most offices close for about an hour.


The reason stores stay closed longer is that schools don’t end until 4- 5 pm depending on the school, and until then, moms are at home getting things done as it’s hard to do anything when kids are around the house! And so, the perception of reality is that no one goes out shopping until it is time to pick up the kids from school.


That’s roughly 2- 3 pm for eating and 3-4-5 pm that the shops will stay closed due to low business hours. But, then, the stores reopen and stay open until 8 pm – which still sums up to 8 hours per day.


I know a couple of people who take a siesta regularly. But for most other people, it’s something they will only get to do during the Summer holidays when it’s too hot to go outside after lunch.



25) Thailand/Phuket Stereotypes

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Anna Cole

I have lived in Phuket for more than a year, and over this period, one of the most common stereotypes about the province is that it is a place for partygoers and backpackers alike to unleash their energy into a fun nightlife on the beautiful beaches of the biggest island in Thailand.


Patong is the first place that jumps to mind, as the most famous beach resort in Phuket, and it does have a reputation for lively nightlife. But Phuket has far more than this to offer with its gorgeous “bounty” type white soft sand beaches, clean sea, palm trees for a paradise getaway, mountains, waterfalls, and peaceful nature that offers a bit more of an active day.


Another point that hesitant tourists are quick to point out is that there is always bad weather with the associated heavy rainy season (which is, actually, currently in Phuket and is usually from June to October). However, even in the middle of the wet season, the day can be dry with some showers and heavy downpours that are most common at night.


At this time, we have had weeks of sun and gorgeous calm weather in the midst of this, which has been a blessing for us as we are currently filming our virtual reality videos in Thailand.


I love Phuket very much and was very happy to work with associations here to promote Phuket as a tourist destination, creating the first video of its kind showcasing Phuket on a virtual reality platform.



Please, contact us if you have any interesting information about a place(s) that is not listed here. 


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