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Questions I'm Often Asked in the United States

posted Jun 21, 2010, 8:05 PM by Serena Beck   [ updated Jun 23, 2010, 3:38 PM ]

Often when I am in the US and an American finds out I am from Canada, I am asked the following questions/told the following:

·         Do you speak French?

·         Is it cold there?

·         What is your healthcare like?

·         You’re Canadian that is why you’re so nice.

·         You’re Canadian that is why you are so polite.

On June 18, 2010, I was in the airport reading while I waited to board a flight back to Edmonton. I asked a Bostonian, Jessica, to watch my bag while I bought a drink. We connected and started chatting. Jessica was on her way to travel through Europe for a month. I told her about our trip and gave her a business card to our blog. She asked if I speak French and I said a bit. I was able to tell her a few words for Paris. 

On the same day, when I went to buy my water, the lady at the check out also asked if I speak French and we exchanged a few basic words (thankfully she kept it simple so that I knew what she was saying).

This got me thinking about what options are offered in the US for second languages. I did a bit of research and it seemed to vary. Some people don't have an option to take a second language until Junior High (or middle school as they say in the US) and others didn't learn second languages until High School. However, in some states learning a second language is mandatory in elementary.  I guess this might be why people find in quite curious that most people in Canada take mandatory French (at least when I went to school) from grades 4-6 and then may take it in Junior High and High School as an option class. Taking a second language course is not mandatory. 

We also talked about our healthcare. In the US parental leave is a short 6 weeks. I am glad we're spoiled in Canada and receive a year (I heard rumor of 18 months but I think this was only a rumor as I never found any news stories on the subject). It's sad to think that such a wealthy country like the US is poor in so many ways: healthcare, vacation time, parental leave. Perhaps the US can learn a thing or two from Canada on these subjects, but whether they will adopt them overtime is another thing.

1947 diner - I had a great meal here.

Downtown Boston
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