For Students: An Exciting Plunge into Academics and Foreign Cultures
Anti-Americanism Abroad
When studying abroad, many students are unprepared for the experience of negative opinions about Americans and their government, history or culture. Anti-Americanism is a reality in many countries and has existed since before the Cold War, but it often takes students and their parents by surprise.

Most anti-American opinions are just that: individual opinions about American politics or culture. These usually are based on current events, stereotypes, the media or experiences with other Americans. Occasionally, classmates or even total strangers may deride all American people or you personally, either for the purpose of irritating you, or out of prejudice or ignorance.

Regardless of the nature of a person’s statements, understand that anti-American attitudes are not by themselves a threat to your personal safety. Even a classroom debate or anti-American campus rally, both of which can be understandably intimidating, are considered legitimate components of the learning process in many countries and are not intended to threaten you physically. Before going abroad, brush up on American political and cultural history, and learn the reasons behind U.S. foreign policies. This kind of knowledge will allow you to participate in conversations and debates without feeling helpless or personally attacked.

Study abroad is full of academic and cultural challenges, including the reality of varying perceptions and opinions of the U.S. IFSA-Butler’s on-site staff in each of the countries where we have programs are always available to lend a sympathetic ear and give further advice for dealing with these situations.
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