A PRETTY FASCINATING experiment was posted at Buzzfeed recently whereby Americans were given blank political maps of Europe and asked to fill in names. It’s not news that Americans get so much of our geography incorrect. But what I found interesting were the associations people make to places.
People get where their parents or relatives are from, but beyond that, the connections just get thin. Scandinavian countries are “COLD” or have populations of “HOT BLONDE PEOPLE.” Outside of Greece, the Balkans (Albania, Bosnia and Herzegovina, Bulgaria, Croatia, Macedonia, Montenegro, Serbia) are “GOTH,” “WAR,” and (my favorite) “AFFORDABLE VACATIONS.”
How many of these do you actually know? Take a minute and consider why you actually know them. Do we really learn anything about place / history / culture in school? How do we form the associations we have about places outside of our own?