According to a Pew Research Center survey across 25 countries, 43% had an unfavorable view of the United States. More specifically, 72% of countries feel that the US does not take into consideration other nations’ interests. This news suggests that disdain toward Americans on a global scale has less to do with our large waistbands and poor academic ratings, and more to do with the attitudes behind those traits. “Self-indulgent” and “power-hungry” are phrases that some European countries believe apply to Americans, while other countries like China and Iran are more concerned with our take on political affairs. Read on to get a rundown of how these countries feel and why.
Japan Isn’t Buying The US Work Ethic
Japan was the only country in a survey by Pew Research Center that believed America plays a less important role on the world stage than it did ten years ago. Japan Today found that a group of college students interviewed in Japan mentioned weight and gun violence as negative aspects of America.
Additionally, USA Today writes that only 25% of surveyed Japanese residents believe that Americans are hard-working. Another 47% of the same group feel that Americans are selfish.
Tunisians Are Not Fans
64% of those surveyed in Tunisia by Pew Research Center said they think China would be better than the United States as the world’s leading power. This may have something to do with the film Innocence of Muslims, which was posted online by a US resident.
The film carried an anti-Islamic message that was not well received by many Tunisians, being that their official state religion is Islam. Vanity Fair described the film as “something that was clearly designed to offend Muslims.”
Danes Don’t Understand The Aggressive US Mentality
A retired bank employee from Denmark told CBS news that what comes to mind when he hears “America” is: “Capitalism. Money rules everything. Overweight people, Donald Trump, elections, shootings.”
And Sarah Madoff posted on the Berkley Center’s website about her experience studying abroad in Denmark. She writes that Denmark has far more cyclists and far less sexism. In fact, they have one of the highest rates of female employment in the world. On top of that, few people work overtime, and it’s normal to leave on holiday for weeks at a time. Sarah’s experience certainly explains the Danes’ notion that Americans are overweight and money-obsessed.
Norwegians Would Rather Stay Put Than Move To America
According to the Migration Policy Institue, the number of Norwegians who immigrate to the United States has declined for the past 50 years. The Atlantic notes that at the turn of the 20th century, nearly a million Norwegians came to the US to settle down. So what changed?
The Atlantic points out that Norway is ranked the happiest country with the most political freedom, the most freedom of the press, and most prosperity. Meanwhile, the US ranks anywhere from 14th to 45th in these areas. When you break down the numbers, there’s plenty of reason for Norwegians to think Americans have a few things to learn.
Mexico Is Concerned With More Than Just The Wall
An article published in 2017 by the Pew Research Center states that 65% of Mexicans express a negative opinion of the United States, which is more than double what it was in 2015. Not only do 94% oppose the wall, but only 5% believe that Trump is actually doing the right thing for world affairs.
Despite 85% of Mexicans saying that they are dissatisfied with how things are going, the country that took a huge chunk of Mexico’s territory doesn’t seem like the most ideal place to seek refuge.
Spain Now Sees The United States As A Threat
Spain’s 60% disapproval rating of Americans probably has something to do with another survey conducted by the Pew Research Center regarding US power and influence. The survey found that citizens of Spain, more than any other country surveyed, are increasingly concerned that America’s power is a major threat to their country.
Between 2013 and 2017, Spain increased 42 percentage points regarding how much the public felt America was a threat. Disagreements stemming from the Bush-era war on drugs likely made Spain more suspicious of Americans when Trump was elected.
Americans Are Turkey’s Biggest Threat
The Pew Research center states, “U.S. power and influence ranks as the top threat in only one country– Turkey (72%).” That means that of all the things on Turkey’s list on concerns, the United States tops the list for 3/4ths of the population in Turkey.
Researchers also state that Turkey has maintained a negative view of America for decades, but it spiked to 83% in 2003 with the Iraq War. Today, only 19% of the Turkish population like America, possibly because they feel Americans enjoy abusing their power.
Cambodia Would Like A Little More Respect
The Vietnam War involved the United States igniting a military campaign against the Khmer Rouge Regime. Though many Cambodians suffered from the bombings, it is generally understood that the action was necessary to take down Khmer. However, some Cambodians may still feel sensitive about the subject of Americans.
Conversely, the efforts to aid Cambodia over the years have generally earned Americans a pleasant image from Cambodia. Today, the biggest concern is disrespect from tourists towards cultural norms of Cambodia. An article on Odyssey states that though women must cover their shoulders and knees while at temple, many Americans still wear tank tops.
Austria Has Different Trade Interests
According to Market Watch, Americans have been leery about Austria for trading with Iraq and North Korea. Disapproval of the United States’ relations with Russia dropped to 55% (nine percentage points) in just one year, from 2013 to 2014.
This may have something to do with the fact that Americans look down on Austria for allowing the leader of the Kurdistan Worker’s Party (a terrorist organization) to leave their country while he was wanted.
Iran And The United States Go Way Back
Market Watch states that 61% of Iranians disapprove of Americans. Why? Back in 1979 Iranians took 66 Americans hostage for 444 days amid the Iranian Revolution. The revolution opposed the westernization of their government, which the United States was helping to accomplish.
Recently, the United States has also taken part in sanctioning Iran’s nuclear capabilities. Essentially, Americans are like the annoying parent trying to guide Iran in a direction they simply don’t want to go.
Pakistan Doesn’t Quite Trust America
Pakistan ranks fourth on the anti-America list with a disapproval rating of 65% according to Market Watch. Considering the billions of dollars in US aid that have gone to Pakistan, these numbers seem counterintuitive. Efforts began in the early 2000s as a means to combat terrorism.
However, America’s mission into Pakistan where they captured Osama Bin Laden may have left a bad taste in the mouth of Pakistanis. Huff Post adds that the Pakistan media often portrays the United States negatively.
Russia Doesn’t Know How To Feel
The Pew Research Center says that in 2018 only 26% of Russians had a positive image of the United States. Just a year prior that number was 41%. But before you start making assumptions about the events that occurred between 2017 and 2018, it’s worth noting that in 2015 on a mere 15% of Russians approved the United States.
It seems Russia’s varying levels of distaste for America fluctuate quite frequently. This might be politically fueled.
Belarus Is Still Chilly From The Cold War
A former Soviet Union country, Belarus has a nearly 70% disapproval rate of America and a 62% approval rate of Russia’s leadership. Given the poor opinion of Russia toward Americans, it makes sense that Belarus, who seems still devoted in some ways to Russia, would follow suit.
To top it off, Belarus has an inflation rate of 18% according to Market Watch. Researchers note that countries in weak economic standing often resent Americans, probably because we think anyone can be prosperous.
Palestinian Territories Don’t Feel The Love
A whopping 72% disapproval rating is actually an improvement from 2013, when 80% of Palestinians topped the chart of countries who don’t approve the leadership of America. There’s been a travel advisory in place, warning Americans that it’s unsafe to travel to The West Bank and Gaza as of December 29, 2018.
The U.S. Department of State, Bureau of Consular Affairs warns that terrorism, civil unrest, and armed conflict are a few reasons Americans should stay away from Palestinian Territories. Especially as tourist destinations have increasingly become a target.
Chile Is On The Fence
Despite America and Chile having strong ties, about half of Chileans see Americans in a negative light. This moderate viewpoint is backed in multiple Quora posts, where citizens of Chile commented on how they view Americans. Chilean citizen Alfredo Cofre writes that while Chileans view Americans as hardworking, there are some negative traits as well.
He says that Americans seem paranoid, ignorant, fat, “too armed for their own safety […] and frankly nowadays their choices are unspeakably poor.” So maybe the cons outweigh the pros a bit.
Germany Is Not Impressed
A woman from Berlin told the Daily Mail that “Most people believe that Americans are dumb, mostly eat fast food and are very patriotic.” Germans, like many European countries, integrate English into the curriculum from primary school. This not only breeds bilingual Germans but means that they have to do the heavy lifting whenever a monolingual American pays a visit — which doesn’t make the Americans seem any smarter.
Germans also zero in on career-focused courses in high school, which makes the late adolescence of many Americans seem rather pathetic. According to the Pew Research Center, Germany’s favorable views of the US have dropped by nearly half since the end of the Obama administration.
Argentines Do Not Want To Hear That You’re American
While Germany dropped to 30% favorable views of the United States, Argentina was right there with them at 32% according to The Pew Research Center. A major cause of this could be a small, but significant, slip of the tongue.
An American woman solicited advice on Trip Advisor about traveling to Argentina. Many of the respondents said the same thing: do NOT refer to yourself as American. If you’re confused as to why, you may be a part of the problem. You see, everyone from Argentina is American. They live in South America. By using this generalization rather than specifically stating your country of origin as the United States, Americans dig themselves into the ignorance ditch.
China Loves Playing “I’m Better Than You” With The US
The Pew Research Center broke down a few facts about how China feels toward the United States. For one, only 44% of the Chinese ranked the United States positively in 2015. Two, 67% of the Chinese think China either has or will supersede America.
Three, more than half of the Chinese believe Americans are trying to hold them back from becoming more powerful than us. In short, China and America are two of the major players in the world, but deep down, China doesn’t think we’re all that.
Jordan Takes The Cake
In its 2017 survey, the ew Research Center found that Jordan topped the list in their negative attitude towards Americans, with 82% of the population having unfavorable views. However, many respondents on Quora claim that Jordanians are very kind towards Americans.
To help explain this dilemma, a director at the University of Chicago wrote that Jordanians hate American policy, particularly because of their support of Israel, and envy the American standard of living. People in Jordan also put huge emphasis on family, where Americans put a higher value on work.
North Korea Has A Museum To Display Their Hatred Of The US
Given the fact that jeans are banned from North Korea for being symbolic of Americans, it should come as no surprise that North Korea is not okay with Americans by any stretch of the imagination. The Korean War may have ended to Americans, but to North Koreans it’s everlasting.
A North Korean child’s closest encounter with Americans is at the Sinchon Museum of American War Atrocities. The name says it all. At this shrine of anti-American propaganda, schoolchildren visit to remember their hatred for the United States.
Egypt Doesn’t Support The US’s Support
When you aren’t fond of your country’s leader, anyone who supports them becomes your new enemy. That’s how some Egyptians felt after the U.S. backed one of their leaders. Offering help where it wasn’t wanted rubbed some the wrong way.
While that kind of support was not wanted, Egyptians did need the U.S. when it came to getting rid of a broken system. These tensions left 85% of Egyptians with a bad taste in their mouth when it comes to Americans, according to Pew Research.
Turkey Wanted Assistance
According to The Conversation, nearly 4 million Syrian refugees live in Turkey. One hot topic in America is how to go about handling refugees in general. However, Turkey has no choice but to embrace the millions that arrived out of desperation.
Since the U.S. hasn’t been the most apt to lend a helping hand, there may be a bit of a grudge lingering from Turkish people. At least, that would explain their 73% disapporoval rating of Americans.
Greece Would Rather Wallow In Peace
While both Greece and America harbor mounds of debt, their mindsets are vastly different. Where Americans would rather maintain a hopeful outlook, much of Greece feels too realistic to live in such a la la land.
The idea that anyone can reach the top is not realistic when the country as a whole is drowning in debt. Eventually, it all catches up. Greeks have a 63% unfavorable rating while they wait for the other shoe to drop in America.
Lebanon Wants The U.S. To Show Them The Money
There are multiple ways that the United States have offered assistance to different countries. One of the most popular ways is by offering financial assistance. However, Americans have to look out for themselves, too.
Congress decided to limit their annual aid to Lebanon shortly after the turn of the 21st century. This may have something to do with why about half of Lebanese individuals are not the biggest fans of Americans. In the end, you can only ever help so much.
Austria Is Still A Little Tainted
WWII forced many countries to choose sides as they scrambled to keep their people safe while standing up for what they believe in. Unfortunately, this lead to several conflicts that still are in the process of being resolved.
Some Austrians have held on to the attacks made against them by the United States. Additionally, some feel that the United States has yet to embrace Germany in recent times. These remaining tensions may explain the 55% disapproval rating of the U.S. by Austrians.
Slovenia Is Not A Fan Of U.S. Leadership
Some countries have entirely different views in terms of leadership and some simply do not approve of the leaders in America’s past and/or present. This is thought to be the reason behind the 54% negative feedback from Slovenians regarding Americans.
However, now that America has had a first lady who was from the country, things may change. Viewpoints are always evolving since times are changing, especially in America where the commander-in-chief is re-evaluated every four years.
Denmark Isn’t A Fan Of American’s “We’re Number One” Attitude
While there may not be a ton of political undercurrents going on between Denmark and America at the moment, that doesn’t mean that there aren’t attitude differences that drive some Danes crazy.
In particular, we’re talking about the tendency some countries feel Americans have to view themselves as better than. This can be especially aggravating since the United States is such a young country in comparison to many other countries. Ultimately, Danes just want to be seen and treated as though they’re on the same level.
Brazil’s Slums Are Not For American Entertainment
The movie City of God highlighted how poor conditions are in the slums of Brazil. However, that doesn’t suddenly give American tourists the right to pile in, take photos, and run back to their cozy homes in the U.S.
This is the perspective that some Brazilians feel strongly about. While it’s vital to spread awareness and to be constructive about tackling issues, there’s something off about viewing the struggle of others for no other reason than to get a picture or check a box.
India Is Not A Place For Americans To “Find Themselves”
While Indians and Americans are generally in good standing, that doesn’t mean that Americans can use the country as their own personal spiritual revolution. In fact, some Indians take offense that Americans think they can “find themselves” in a country that isn’t theres.
India has a host of nuances and struggles just like any other country does. Rather than concerning themselves with that, some Americans would rather get wrapped up in the selfish desire to get lost somewhere. This inclination is annoying to some Indians.
Scots Are Sick Of The Accents
There are several American stereotypes that have gained so much attention they’re hardly a surprise. A few examples of such assumptions are that Americans are fat and lazy. While Scots may or may not buy these beliefs, there is one thing they can’t stand.
That thing is American’s incessant need to do a terrible accent. While some Americans claim to be obsessed with a British accent, few know the difference between a British accent and a Scottish one. In the end, just stick to what you know.
Kyrgyzstan Citizens Side With Russians Over Americans
Those who live in Kyrgyzstan would sooner side with Russians than Americans. That’s because the territory used to be a part of the Soviet Union, so they are more likely to sympathize with their former country.
Plus, Russian leadership has an 85% approval rating among Kyrgyz people. As you might expect, the Kyrgyzstan leaders closed the US military base that was located in their country in 2014, a move that some see as a symbol of the countries allegiance to Russia.
More Than Half Of Serbians Disapprove Of US Leadership
Being that it wasn’t too long ago that the United States and Serbia were at war, it’s no surprise that the country’s citizens aren’t the biggest fans of Americans. Their disapproval rating of American leadership is 56%.
In other words, more people are against that for United States leadership. The Kosovo War that began in 1998 left a bad taste in the mouths of Serbians, especially after the United States acknowledged Kosovo’s declaration of independence.
Syrians Want Americans To Mind Their Own Business
Many Syrians agree that the United States should have stayed out of their civil war, leaving the country with a 59% disapproval rating of America. Since US airstrikes have resulted in civilian casualties, questions arise about whether involvement did any good.
Syria reportedly hasn’t been a fan of the United States for years, so it may be time to let bygones be bygones. Sometimes its best to let someone fight their own battles before trying to forge an alliance.
Yemen’s Aren’t Happy That The US Provided Weapons
Ever since the Yemen civil war erupted in 2015, the United States has provided military equipment to Saudi Arabia. Since Saudi leads a coalition that supports the Yemen president’s strikes against rebels, citizens consider America to be partly responsible for the casualties.
The billions of dollars worth of weapons provided by the US isn’t doing much to calm the waters in Yemen. This may explain the country’s 69% disapproval rating of the United States.
Kazakhstan Citizens Don’t Like Americans Like Their Gov. Does
Since the United States was the first country to acknowledge Kazakhstan’s independence from the Soviet Union in 1991, you would think citizens would think highly of Americans. Yet, the country has a shocking 70% disapproval rating of the US.
Though they are politically tied to the United States, many citizens told feel any benefit as their economy goes down the drain with falling oil prices. At the end of the day, personal experience overruns governmental affairs.
Asking For Ice
When you order a beverage outside of the U.S. and decide to ask for ice with it, you instantly peg yourself as an American. Having an “ice-cold” beverage is the American standard but elsewhere it’s almost unheard of to want to voluntarily water down your drink with some ice.
So get used to enjoying your drink simply “chilled.” Asking for ice just puts you at risk of consuming local water, which isn’t exactly safe depending on where you are.
Wearing Baseball Caps
Baseball-style caps are somewhat trendy in some countries, especially designer ones. But if you’re wearing one that sports the logo of an actual baseball team, there’s no doubt that you’re an American. Baseball is, after all, America’s pastime so it makes sense that Americans have popularized the accessory around the world.
It’s common for most hat-wearing people to bring their favorite baseball caps with them everywhere, especially when they’re traveling abroad.
Wearing White Socks
If you only own white socks and you’re inclined to wear them all the way up to your calves, then you’re definitely an American. Apparently, white socks are solely a U.S. trend whereas Europeans, for example, tend to veer toward darker-colored socks—if they choose to wear socks at all.
White socks are even considered offensive to locals in some places, like Paris. So next time you’re packing your bags, you might want to give your socks a second thought.
Having Nice Teeth
If you walk around smiling with your perfectly-straight, white teeth, then you’re probably an American. Having straight, white teeth definitely isn’t a bad thing and if anything, it’s a testament to how much oral hygiene is emphasized in the U.S.
But while growing up with braces and getting your teeth whitened is commonplace in America, the same can’t be said for other countries. Imperfect teeth are normal in places like the U.K. and if you make a point to notice this, you’d be surprised.
Eating On The Go
Another way to let everyone around you know you’re from America is to eat while you walk. In other countries, eating is not only a necessity but it is also considered an event. In some places, having a meal is even considered sacred.
But in the U.S., Americans are hard-wired to make eating efficient by eating food on-the-go. Whether you’re getting a Parisian crepe or some Cantonese street food, it would serve you well to take a moment and enjoy it.
It’s a very American thing to wear shorts. For Americans, shorts are pretty much considered vacation-wear but wherever you’re vacationing, wearing shorts regardless of the weather or the location instantly makes others think you’re American.
This is particularly true for grown men since ladies typically get away with a lot more fashion-wise. In other countries, a grown man wearing shorts is the equivalent of if you saw that same man wearing an Avengers backpack in the U.S.
Not Caring About Football
When an American thinks of football, they imagine the ‘ol pigskin being tossed around as players tackle each other to the ground. But elsewhere in the world, football is soccer and soccer simply doesn’t hold the same weight as American football in the U.S.
If a football (a.k.a. soccer) match was on TV while you were in another country and you could care less, then it’d be quite obvious to everyone elsewhere you’re from.
Eating At McDonald’s
Why would anyone spend hundreds, if not thousands, of dollars on airfare, lodging, and other travel expenses only to end up at a McDonald’s? Surprisingly, many Americans do this. While it does make sense to want something familiar when you’re abroad, it sort of defeats the whole purpose of experiencing another culture.
While it’s common for locals to head to McDonald’s on some occasions, more often than not half of the patrons are from the U.S.
Being Too Friendly To Strangers
To their credit, Americans have a reputation for being some of the friendliest people in the world. It’s not that people from other countries aren’t friendly either, but it’s the fact that Americans are more inclined to strike up a conversation with a random stranger for almost no reason at all.
Not all Americans are like this, of course, but in general, many people around the globe acknowledge that certain openness is quintessential to Americans.
Tipping The Waiters
Not tipping your waiters is considered in bad taste in America but in other countries, it’s no big deal. In fact, it’s not even expected. It’s not customary to tip waiters in other countries because restaurants in other parts of the world actually pay their workers a living wage, unlike in America, where waiters are paid way less than minimum wage because they’re expected to make more in tips.
Other countries in Europe, for example, are completely baffled by the idea of tips.
Wearing Fanny Packs
Nobody in the States wears fanny packs on a regular basis, especially since in the pre-Coachella days fanny packs were decidedly uncool. Still, that never stopped Americans from wearing fanny packs when traveling abroad.
Americans are always warned to be wary of pickpockets, which is probably why they think fanny packs are the only way they aren’t going to lose their valuables. Spot a man digging through the 14 pockets tied at his waist and he’s probably an American.
Clapping For Everything
Americans are thought to be pretty enthusiastic people, which is probably why they feel the need to clap for some of the most mundane circumstances while on vacation. It’s necessary to clap for live performances but it makes absolutely no sense to clap when the plane makes a smooth landing or when their food arrives at a restaurant.
Not everything deserves applause but this is something Americans haven’t fully grasped yet.
Only Speaking English
One of the most major things that instantly let people know you’re an American is only speaking English, without the slightest attempt at speaking the local language. Not knowing a language other than English is a uniquely American trait, as other countries around the world often teach English in their schools next to speaking their native languages.
Learning a second language hasn’t been emphasized in the past, which truthfully puts Americans at a huge disadvantage.
Speaking With A Loud Voice
They say that you know there’s an American in the crowd because you’ll hear them before you see them. Americans haven’t exactly mastered the art of the indoor voice and it’s probably because back in the States, everyone is always trying to talk over each other in a conversation.
Regardless if they’re trying to call out to someone far away or they’re having a conversation with someone right in front of them, Americans tend to speak five-times louder than everyone around them.
Sporting The North Face
If you’re traveling abroad and you see someone with The North Face logo on their person, then they’re probably American. There’s nothing wrong with Americans wearing American brands and in fact, the New York Times reported in 2012 that The North Face accounts for more than a third of all the outdoor-wear Americans own.
But the logo itself is distinct, which doesn’t make it easy to remain low-key if you’re trying to blend into a crowd.
Wearing Graphic Tees
Americans have a thing for tacky graphic t-shirts and everyone else in the world knows it. An easy way to spot an American at a global tourist trap is to see if their shirt spells something like “Choose Love” on it in huge, colorful letters.
These shirts don’t always have to have a corny saying either. They often advertise universities, other cities, and other tourist traps that the American wearing them has been to.
Attempting An Accent
Few things make an American sound more American than attempting another person’s accent. Their obsession with accents is endearing to some but can get a little offensive sometimes, especially when an American ends up generalizing a whole entire country into one stereotypical accent.
In their defense, other countries do the same to Americans, thinking everyone from the states either sounds like a hillbilly from the South or a valley girl from California.
Disrespecting Other Cultures
Growing up in the United States, you become accustomed to a certain way of life which, in the long run, makes you ignorant of other cultures in the world. Americans are often guilty of this and when they finally encounter another country’s customs they are so shocked or amused that they often make a farce of them.
That’s why it would serve an American well to educate themselves on the customs of the country they’re visiting.