Undergraduate Blog / Career Development

Looking at Stereotypes from a Professional Perspective

On est les Champions! I must say, following the World Cup can get everyone emotional. But following the World Cup in the country that wins the World Cup is truly an unforgettable experience – especially if you’re lucky enough to watch the final in a fan zone with 90,000 other people! As it is definitely impossible to describe with words, I am attaching a picture of the city right after the match ended.

What effect did the World Cup result have on the professional sphere? Surprisingly, it barely had any. Although many locals took a day off after the Sunday’s final to celebrate, everything went back to normal by Tuesday morning. Once again the French impressed me with how efficient they can be, in contrast to the common beliefs. That is why these common beliefs are something I want to look into in this blog. After the two months spent here, I think I have some basic idea of how the locals really are, especially from a professional perspective.

  1. Parisians are arrogant.

    Just like all other stereotypes, this is a huge generalization. The large majority of people I have met here so far are incredibly friendly and helpful. What is more, because of the Paris’s mix of cultures, the locals are also really respectful and open-minded. It is a norm that everyone in the office building I work at greets everyone else and wishes them ‘bon appétit’ at lunchtime. And yes, in such a huge city, there are definitely some cases of egotism, but definitely not significantly more than in other cities I have been to so far.

  2. The French cannot speak English really well.

    Indeed, the French put much emphasis on language as a part of their culture and often avoid speaking English. But it is not necessarily a bad thing; in fact, in this way the French make sure that their language will prevail. Still, virtually every professional I have had the chance to meet, inside or outside of the office, speaks at least some basic English. In particular, the youngsters are very used to speaking English and most often do it fluently.

  3. The French don’t work too hard.

    This is something I already described in one of my previous posts. Although the French take their time to relax, it all seems well-thought and really increases productiveness. By the way, every person I asked told me that the famous French 35-hour-long work week is only a myth and, in reality, everyone works longer hours. At the end of the day, all the work gets done and that is what really counts.

Although we all know that stereotypes are in the majority of cases simple exaggeration, we keep repeating them on and on. And the more often we hear something, the more likely we are to believe it. That’s why before spreading any information about a nation or other social group, we should really spend some time with them, trying to understand how they really are. The two months in France showed me how wrong the world is about this country and how easy it is to make simplified judgements!