"US students are having a hard time in Germany, as they find themselves having to justify Washington policy from day to day. A new pilot project in German schools is meant to help Americans deal with the endless drill" writes Jan Friedmann in Spiegel:
Despite his affinity for German culture, Janssen has hardly been welcomed with open arms. "I don't like having to play diplomat here," he complains. Many of the roughly 3,200 US students enrolled in foreign study programs in Germany share Janssen's experience. They are reluctant ambassadors, routinely taken to task by students and even complete strangers for the perceived offences of their government at home -- an affront that visiting students and academics from China, Russia and Arab countries rarely encounter.
American students aren't victims of open animosity or the sort of physical attacks which dark-skinned students suffer now and then in some parts of Germany. There are of course no statistics on verbal assaults on Americans.Yes, this constant lecturing of American guests is really annoying and a disgrace. We have written often about it in the Atlantic Review, for instance in Senator Fulbright and statistics of the Fulbright Program, where we quoted Alison Kamhi, a US Fulbright grantee at the University of Rostock and originally from Stanford University:
Yet most US exchange students have similar stories to tell -- stories about anti-Bush tirades by fellow dormitory residents, about Germans with aggressive opinions at a party, or, say, the DJ at some club who had to air his thoughts on the National Rifle Association (in the wake of the recent shootings at Virginia Tech).
Edward Janssen describes a typical conversation with a German student. First question: What's your name? Second: Where are you from? Third: Did you vote for Bush? By that time, says Janssen, the German student will already have launched into a discussion of the Iraq war, the death penalty, gun control or climate protection.
Being one of the few Americans in Rostock, I took it as my job to provide the Germans in this city with a positive example of an American. Every time I was challenged about Bush or the war in Iraq or consumerism or whatever I took the time to talk to the person, simply to show that all Americans are not anti-European war-mongers, as is unfortunately often the stereotype.Many other bloggers have written about it as well, for instance Carsten Boesel and others at last year's Carnival of German-American Relations. The next carnival will be soon. Promised. Stay tuned.
The above quoted article is pretty long and available in English at Spiegel International and also describes the "Rent an American" project sponsored by the German-American Institute at the University of Tübingen, which arranges for American exchange students to visit local schools.
The article is popular at Digg and received more than 300 comments in less than 24 hours, which I believe is another indicator that more and more Americans are concerned about Anti-Americanism in Germany. It's time to do something about it.
Davids Medienkritik is creating more awareness about Anti-Americanism in the United States. To reduce Anti-Americanism, however, there have to be more efforts by Germans in German rather than in English, which is Davids Medienkritk's and Atlantic Review's chosen language.
Here is a link to Davids Medienkritik's criticism of the Heilbronner Stimme cartoon "American Way." Cartoons like this are to blame why Germans like to lecture Americans.