Cultural Musings

5 Totally untrue things that Poles believe about Americans 

Since I’m an American living in Poland, I have a lot of convos about the differences between our two countries and I’ve found that there are a lot of misconceptions about Americans. Here are the ones that stand out the most.

We only eat fast food. A lot of people also think that Americans don’t cook and either eat only frozen food or fast food. Well I mean, yeah, people eat fast food. For sure there are more fast food options in the States than in Poland and for sure there are people who eat a lot of it but, come on, we eat normal food too. We’re not all lazy and obese. My family doesn’t eat fast food at all. We cook almost every day and we eat food from many different cuisines. Not only that, American food itself isn’t always unhealthy.

We don’t know where anything is on the map. Especially Poland. Just because there’s a few videos floating around on the internet with Americans dumbly identifying Australia as France doesn’t mean no Americans have any knowledge of geography. Do you know where Wisconsin is? Yeah, me either.

We only drink beer and wine. And we can’t hold our liquor because that’s reserved for Poles and Russians. The thing about Americans is that they drink everything. Sure, beer and wine may be the most popular drinks, but young Americans have a tendency to just mix everything. How about a shot of jagermeister? now tequila! next up is a lemon drop! mmm now I’d like a vodka/red bull, please. This is a big mistake made by many college students who later wake up in a pool of their own fluids. A mistake that it seems Poles don’t really make. It’s just vodka with vodka chased with vodka.

We’re all rich. It’s true that the average salary is about 5 times higher (yikes) but that doesn’t mean there aren’t many impoverished people living in the States. It’s certainly easier to attain middle class status and it’s probably a higher standard of living even. But like here, there many badly off people living in rural areas where jobs aren’t found in abundance.

We move around a lot. We may be a bit less rooted in our hometowns than Poles but I think this stereotype comes from movies where you often see American families packing up and changing locations. In fact, I never moved until college and most of my friends’ parents all live in the same house their children grew up in.

So as you can see, misconceptions abound but I blame American movies. They only fuel the stereotypes. Someone even once told me that they thought Americans all stood facing forward in the elevator because that’s what they do in movies…  …. … I can’t.

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  • Reply Magdelena 13 July 2016 at 19:16

    Ah, the thing is I love American food, or rather food in America. It’s not just fast food. You have everything, every type of cuisine. Today thai, tomorrow mexican, or hm… no, I’m about to eat some chinese dumplings! But well, there is some true in the statement that you eat everything pre-prepared. Come one, I’ve never seen a cooked egg in polish supermarket (and yes – I did in american one) 😀

    • Reply Leah Morawiec 14 July 2016 at 06:40

      hah everyone always talks about the egg thing. there was also a peeled orange situation not long ago. you do make a point but we also think that stuff is insane! but apparently some people buy it. that’s the scary thing. but about restaurants – you hit the nail on the head. that’s the best thing about America – that you can find amazing foreign food everywhere!

  • Reply Darjusz 13 July 2016 at 22:26

    Hey Leah,
    I’m gonna help you up, although I’m not a native american.

    1) We only eat fast food. If instead “only” there was “mostly” I might lean towards it, but reality is different. I’d say american’s food style is more rich than the others since the cost of the food is dramatically lower. To compare that just count how many pork shoulders you’d get from the average salary in Poland vs. U.S. Additionally, and this is very important – american kitchen culture was built over eating outdoors. Your diners, drive-ins and dives are all over the country and they are tremendously popular, just take a look for few episodes of Guy Fieri’s show on Food Network

    2) Well, there were also movie clips showing that polish people cannot locate their own cities properly on map, so I’ll just restrain from further commenting… 😀

    3) I was just about to comment, but then I’ve read about waking up in own fluids… Absolutely disguisting…. but unfortunately mostly true.

    4) Americans are perceived as rich not because of the amount of money that they have in cash/bank account/belongins. It’s because the cost of living there is way lower than here. You need to understand the crucial difference here. Pure economics. The rest is media showing Hollywood and celebrities

    5) Well, I don’t know about that… If I was offered a better paid job I’d really wouldn’t even bother to deliberate, but I guess the problem might be polish people thinking that americans doing it quite often. I seriously doubt it. Sometimes you just can’t transplant an old tree…


  • Reply Romek 13 July 2016 at 22:44

    There are so many videos with smart looking Americans talking to the camera who are not familiar with basic world map that I had become courius why is it so. I found that in US primary schools geography is not an obligatory subject. Whats more teachers around the world say that your American education system is focused on practical abilities and creativity rather than raw theoretical knowledge. To be honest… i dont know which is better…

    • Reply Leah Morawiec 14 July 2016 at 06:38

      Romek – hmm hard to say. I mean geography itself isn’t really a class so I think that’s the issue. You might learn about that stuff in either history class or science class which you don’t really have until middle school. So you only learn it if your teacher is interested in it I suppose :/

  • Reply Madame Bonheur 8 August 2016 at 00:42

    Yeah, totally true, we know all those stereotyoes from moves. But I think that someone smart don’t take it seriously… at least, not always 🙂

  • Reply Holly 23 March 2020 at 22:24

    (American here) I know where Wisconsin is! Well… I suppose it helps that I live in Wisconsin haha.

    • Reply Leah Morawiec 25 March 2020 at 10:36

      HAH yeah that helps a lot!

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