Scottish/American differences

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    Nicholas C.

    What are some things Americans do wrong when they go to Scotland? And what are some things we should look for (or look out for) while visiting there?

    User Detail :  

    Name : Nicholas C., Gender : M, Sexual Orientation : Straight, Race : scottish/american, Religion : Mormon, Age : 22, City : Waldorf, State : MD Country : United States, Education level : 2 Years of College, 


    First, don’t confuse England, Scotland and Britain. The English and Scots are different peoples, but they are both British. Scotland has its own parliament but still sends MPs to a British parliament. An analogy would be California and New York are both part of the United States but separate states (except they don’t have 3,000 years of history, so the rivalry’s not there). I wouldn’t mention what a great environmental policy you think Bush has anywhere in Europe, as this is a very sensitive issue at the moment. Don’t order an expensive single malt whiskey and put ice or a mixer in it. That’s sacrilege. Do spend as much time as possible in Edinburgh, which is one of the world’s most beautiful cities.

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    Name : Greg21567, Gender : M, City : London, State : NA Country : United Kingdom, 

    I am English by birth to Scottish parents and was raised from the age of three in the United States. I have been in Edinburgh the past eight months or so and have learned a few things about Scots and how to behave here. First, turn down the volume on your voice. It’s considered shouting to talk at what Americans consider regular volume, and if people can clearly overhear your conversation, they will be annoyed. Obviously, don’t joke around about men in skirts and such. It’s insulting, not funny. The kilt is held in high regard here as a very sexy and masculine garment. As for things to look out for, try to bear in mind that Scotland is a still somewhat violent country, despite the gun ban over all of the United Kingdom. Muggings and bar fights are not uncommon, and although Edinburgh is beautiful, it has a high concentration of heroin addicts, particularly at the foot of the mound in the city centre. If you visit Edinburgh, don’t go wandering into secluded park areas or closes (narrow alleys) unless you are with someone who knows what they’re doing. Some of the closes are hidden trasures, but their seclusion makes them likely places for addicts to shoot up. Bear in mind that Scotland has a very high rate of poverty and most of the crime comes from that. Many more people live in public housing here than in the United States, and there is no stigma attached to doing so, although some Edinburgh housing projects would put Chicago’s Cabrini Green to shame (have you seen Trainspotting?). After saying all these bad things, I still think Edinburgh is a gem of a city. Just stick to well-traveled areas and don’t go too far outside the city centre.

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    Name : Caroline J., Gender : F, Sexual Orientation : Straight, Race : White/Caucasian, Religion : Atheist, Age : 24, City : Edinburgh, State : NA Country : Scotland, Education level : 4 Years of College, Social class : Middle class, 


    I would agree with Greg that the biggest insult you can give to the Scottish is to call them English. But I would disagree about the whisky. What you do with expensive drinks is your business (not that you’d be drinking any as a Mormon). I think there are some stereotypes about American holiday makers being loud, covered in contrasting tartans and calling anything Scottish Scotch. But I know that’s just the ones we notice, because they are loud. I hope you enjoy yourself; if you do come to visit, the majority of people here are extremely friendly and make up for the midges, rain and grumpy bus drivers!

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    Name : BB23283, Gender : F, Sexual Orientation : Straight, Race : White/Caucasian, Religion : Atheist, Age : 26, City : Edinburgh, State : NA Country : United Kingdom, Occupation : PhD Student, Education level : Over 4 Years of College, Social class : Middle class, 


    First, talking too loud in public. Frequently an American tourist can be in a queue or on public transport or in a bar or a shop, and they talk as if everyone else will be interested in what they have to say. Keep it down, keep it private! Second, telling Scots you are Scottish. I met a black man whose surname was Wildavsky, and he was telling me he was Scottish. To hear someone who has never been to Scotland and has no idea what the place is like tell you he is one of you can vary from amusing to tiresome.

    But that’s about it, really – even if there WAS more, a good Scot would keep their mouth shut, as we need the tourist dollar.

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    Name : Iain-Brotchie, Gender : M, Sexual Orientation : Straight, Race : White/Caucasian, Religion : Agnostic, Age : 25, City : Aberdeen, State : NA Country : United Kingdom, Occupation : Academic, Education level : Over 4 Years of College, Social class : Middle class, 


    First, avoid getting into discussions about UK politics, football or England in general. In both Inverness and Glasgow, I ran into a few nasty yobs who were spoiling for a bar fight, but once I told them I was from America, they’d relax and buy me beer. For extra-special treatment at very little expense, sew a Canadian flag patch on your backpack and tell folks you’re from Nova Scotia – they’ll welcome you with open arms. In general, though, express an interest in Scotland as a country; talk to locals about the Highlands, the customs, the food. And while Edinburgh is one of the world’s great cities, I can’t recommend the North Coast enough. Spend a few days in Skye or Orkney … it’s a different world up there.

    User Detail :  

    Name : J.N., Gender : M, Race : White/Caucasian, Age : 27, City : Cincinnati, State : OH Country : United States, Education level : Over 4 Years of College, 
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