Originally Posted by odoreater
You know, that reminds. I don't understand why I have to learn the language of a country that I'm visiting on vacation. I mean really, I can understand learning a few words to help get around, but I don't understand people getting mad because you can't order in their language in a restaurant. People come to live in this country and don't learn the language and it doesn't bother us all that much. I realy don't feel like having to read a language book or take a class just so I can vacation in France or whatever. What a crock...
It's more the projected arrogance when you expect a French waiter to understand your questions asked in English. Is it really that difficult to learn how to say "je voudrais" and then point at something on the menu?
I found Europeans to be very understanding that I did not have anywhere near a perfect command of their language. I spoke no German, but in just learning a few words for things like "please", "thank you", "excuse me", and even a few numbers, the people were as friendly as could be. I speak a decent amount of French, and my experience there was equally pleasant. In fact, the only outright disdain for Americans I ever experienced in Europe came from a rude Brit.
And before you ask, yes I do think it is silly and even arrogant of people who immigrate to our country yet find it a hassle to learn our language. America is actually fairly unique in this regard - most European nations are far more assimilationist than America when it comes to immigration.
Why do Europeans have such stereotypes of American tourists? Because they are predominantly accurate. I could not believe how easy the Americans were to spot once I was there - baseball caps, jean shorts, fanny packs. I thought that was something movies like Eurotrip played on just for the comic value, but it really happens. Surely it cannot hurt to read a little about the culture you are about to visit prior to heading there.