The Power of Stereotypes

To be connected all around the world means to meet people from different countries with different behaviours. Often people stereotype a whole nationality by one single person. These stereotypes have a big impact in our behaviour with each other and may cause awkwardness and misunderstanding.

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Canadians think that other countries would describe them as nice and sometimes tree hugging hippies. All know each other and the whole year is snow, which makes them living in igloos with polar bears and moose. Characteristics of Canadians are the excessive use of “sorry“ and Tim Hortons in place of Starbucks.

All the non-Canadians we interviewed characterize Canadians as polite, kind, and reserved, Tim Hortons and hockey loving people. The first people who come to mind for them are Justin Bieber and Justin Trudeau.

Canada itself represents maple trees and their syrup, hockey, moose, and bears. But there are also some cliches which set the opinions apart.

The Brazilians also connect Canada with very cold weather and lots of snow.

One Swiss thought they don’t know anything about the world.

And the first thing Germans complain about is the difficult way to even visit Canada and that Canadians are very proud of their country. “If we would play the German anthem every morning we would be called Nazis because of our pride.”


According to many, Brazilians just think about carnivals, and soccer. They think women are all beautiful, sexy, easy to get in bed, and with big butts. All their politicians are corrupt, their streets are all dangerous, and their idols are Pelé & Neymar. And of course they speak Spanish (They don’t. They speak Portugese) and Buenos Aires is their capital (it’s Brasilia).

In many minds Brazil stands for party, butts and beautiful women. But don’t forget soccer, which also represents the famous persons from Brazil like Neymar, Pelé, and Oscar. One Canadian said Shakira when asked about Brazil; however, she is from Columbia.

Only Germans, a Swiss and a Turk associated Brazil with the gap between rich and poor, the favelas, and street crime.


When Germans are asked about their celebrities, the first person who comes to mind, though he’s been dead for seventy years, is Adolf Hitler.  All around the world Germans are confronted with this stigma of being a grandchild of a Nazi. But Germans changed and decided to have strict rules, which they love to follow. Germans are very punctual, love beer, sausages, bread, and soccer. But at the same time they were described as very cold.

When other nationalities think about Germany they all think of little, blond, blue eyed Hitlers with their traditional “Lederhosen“ or “Dirndl” and a beer in their hands. The character is mean, serious, cold but really smart. However, in the present, Germany is famous for its chocolate, great cars, classic houses, beer, and sausage. Several famous persons are Angela Merkel (chancellor) and Albert Einstein.

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