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Now the. The the the the. With the. Fact that. This is a special report from abroad presented by Professor Earle Randall of the Purdue department of modern languages. Professor Randall and his wife returned recently from a five month tour of Europe during which they visited principally in the Netherlands France Germany and Austria. They have visited and lived in Europe several times in the past and will compare life in present day Europe with life there 10 years ago as well as with life in the United States. Here is Mr. Randall with today's program.
Today we come to the last program in this series ladies and gentlemen. Now what do you put into a last program. Certainly not just a list of experiences after all who wants to read an index. Sidney Clark in his fifty dollar series perhaps you remember the hours you used to and each one of the books with a chapter which he called 50 memories for $50. Not a bad idea. And I think I'll use it. But I'll be a little more modest in the number. First of all I group of things that strike you immediately. I think number one even if you go to England but particularly if you go to other countries is the language. Are other languages every time you change countries you're likely to change language. Now you can't ignore them. You have got to do something about it after all. Language is communication and we must communicate even if it's on a low level in order to get ourselves fed and housed and so on. What can you do. Well
of course you can find English speakers you can go to places where there are English speakers or maybe you can learn one or more of the languages yourself. That's a longer proposition or perhaps a kind of variant of number one. You can take a tour with English speaking guides. But you've got to do something about it. Something that hits you probably almost as soon as money. It changes denominations and value very rapidly and probably you've never realized as much as you do when you're abroad how many times you say to yourself what does something cost. What am I going to have to spend to get it. Then to make life just a little more complicated you discover that the basic units sometimes show up in different countries for example the three Scandinavian countries that we think of Norway Sweden and Denmark all have a basic unit which is called a crown. But these crowns don't have the same value so you must multiply by something different in order to come out in dollars and cents. You see we're pretty closely tied to our own
value system. We know whether a given price in dollars and cents seems high to us our normal Our law. But as soon as it's given in Francs our crowns are shillings right away we begin to get a little flustered. We were lost in England and Austria both have shellings no relationship between the values though and then the franc. Probably you think of France as the home of the franc Well yes except that Switzerland also has a franc. So does Belgium. So does Luxembourg. The French franc is worth about 20 cents now. The Belgian and Luxemburg francs are tied together by a customs agreement and there were two cents fifty to the dollar. And you have to struggle with that a little bit then closely allied to it of course is prices. I don't really think there's any possible yardstick that I could give you because people's ideas and taste vary too much. What one people what one person thinks is quite inexpensive someone else thinks is too expensive. But at least one thing I do think is true
in any one of these countries you can live relatively cheaply or if you wish you can live very expensively compared with American standards. There is one note though. Whenever you don't follow the customs of the country you pay extra and you often have to pay to get the experience. After all that's true here too isn't it. Suppose you want to live in a different town. You might discover that one store that you happened into was more expensive than another father down the street and you'd have to pay a little bit to get that experience. And then the next thing you can't be in any country very long before you have some sort of experience with their meals. And here is where you learn about your flexibility quotient. If you can't be happy unless you have cornflakes for breakfast and hotdogs for dinner and somewhere along the line peanut butter and jelly sandwiches you're going to have problems and you're going to be unhappy about the kind of food that you get in other places. But I think most of us are willing to experiment a little bit. You don't have to take all of the most exotic things but
you surely should take some of them. And I assure you from our experience it pays off. On the humorous side beds. Especially in Germany and Austria. Now you can decide that you will look at our joint we've decided liquor and it takes practice but we usually succeed. Look at it this way. A German bad has a bottom sheet. A kind of contraption like a large pillow case with a blanket blanket stuffed into it folded into a buttoned into it. But it's not big enough to cover the whole bed and tuck him and a bolster with pillows on it and under the bolster a wedge shaped piece of mattress which I call a piece of cheese. And then on top of this is very often a foundation. Now we probably you don't consider that a bit. Our German friends however very well-meaning and normal people in other respects say but what could you possibly object to that's a splendid since we haven't reached that
degree of civilization. When we arrive at a hotel we first seek out the chambermaid and we explain to her that we like a top sheet and a blanket or two and we explain how we tuck them in and it usually works. As for the bolster and the piece of cheese Well we can handle logs and they get pulled out and put on top of some peach piece of furniture. A more practical note is how to carry money. Most people I think take travelers checks and they work very well. If this is the way you are used to doing fine. But now suppose you're going to have money transferred to you during the time that you're abroad. I can't give you any formula for it but I can say this plan it carefully plan it well in advance. Go and talk to your bank about it. Be a bit insistent because banks sometimes don't know. We once received a check in Paris from a perfectly legitimate bank but we couldn't cash it because that bank and its cashier's signature ork were unknown to folks
in Paris and we had to do some rather fancy scrambling around to get the money on that check. And then as a last thing allow plenty of time after the money reaches you to be sure that if there are any kinks you can straighten it out. And if all this fails you can always go and weep on the shoulder of the nearest American consul but I don't advise that. Now there is a rather superficial things what about some of the more fundamental matters. The fact that there are dense and growing populations everywhere probably won't surprise you. We have the situation in America chiefly in our cities. We know it's a world problem. It's particularly noticeable of course in the Netherlands a very small country with a very large and growing population. But everywhere especially in the cities you're aware of there are lots of people. Number two what is the matter of unrest in the world. There's a great deal of it these days. For example in Austria you hear about zookeeper all South Tirol.
After World War One a section of land which had been Austrian was given to Italy. Most of the people there speak German and there has been tension ever since that time last summer when we were there soldiers were being sent through by a hole from down toward the border as a border guard. Then also while we were in Europe about a year ago Diego will gave his famous speech in Canada a rather inflammatory speech it looked as though he was saying to the French people or French speaking people in Canada why don't you break away after all you are French. You deserve to live alone and so on. One morning that we were in the United States Information Service office in the German city of Stuttgart talking with the director of it and he said oh by the way the war started this morning and we said war. What do you mean. Well that was the beginning of the Israeli Arab war. We looked back at newspapers from the preceding week and we discovered that they all were in
agreement. There wasn't going to be any war. It would be ridiculous for either side to start a war. It would be bad for both sides. But if by any chance trump someone should put the spark then there was no question the Israelis would be wiped out the first day. Well you remember it turned out quite differently. And you also remember that while the fighting was fought we still don't have the end of that affair. I mentioned to you in a previous talk that Belgium has the French and the Flemish speakers pretty much at each other's throats at least at certain times since we were there. There have been riots so a good deal of unrest in our world. A special part of this is youth unrest. And you know in our own country but also in Germany France Spain the Netherlands the United States there have been uprisings protests city NS and some of them have led to bloodshed. Now older people tend to ask why and sometimes they say
what's the matter with today's young people. And sometimes I even say when I was a boy or girl it wasn't that way. Well I am convinced it is not a sufficient answer to say young people are spoiled or ungrateful are just plain bad. Maybe there's a little of some of those. I think it's partly the inevitable gap between generations. We always have that. I think it's partly the feeling of the world being turned over to the young people by the older generation is considerably less than what it should be and perhaps also that there's a bit of hypocrisy that it isn't quite what the older people say it is. I think perhaps the effect of rapid communication has something to do with this. For example television shows what's happening all over the world all most of the time it's happening and I think this obviously shows includes a lot of unrest and disturbances and perhaps it acts as an inflammatory of its own. Anyhow it's a complex a widespread phenomenon. We have it. Europe has it.
Then a question we asked ourselves going over what about Americanization is it true that Europe is becoming a kind of Little America. We all material life it does show the same tendencies more household machines more cars more television more elaborate vacations. Is this just copying America. I can't prove it one way or the other but my impression is that similar causes produce similar results and we have in America. And there is in Europe to quite an extent an affluent society. People can buy more things for that comfort. I think it's also true that Europe has looked over our shoulder. They have copied from us in such matters as using the assembly line or automation or business methods. The waiter sat up a US supermarket. I'm sure that's true but I'm also sure that they must have had the possibility to do it first.
So you ask what of the future will Europe become a sort of a colony of America or will they all look just alike. I can't predict. But there is at least one thing that would argue against that. European education though it is being modified remains more conservative than ours. It sets higher and more rigidly fixed standards and I think education is a pretty important formative influence. So perhaps we shall not have a second America in Europe. Beyond that we'll just have to wait and see. Now here I've been talking about how it is in Europe. My wife specifically warned me not to do that. She said Europe is not unified it's not all one whole we can't talk about Europe. And she's right. Sometimes though it takes you a while to learn what is typical of each country. However there is one thing where we both agree that there is similarity and that's the cafe. The European cafe which we don't have in this country is a place where people go to see their
friends talk argue talk about some of the things I have been talking about with you. Take Take a tip from the Europeans do the same on your next trip. And with this we've come to the end of our series. It's been nice to talk with you. It's always pleasant to have an excuse to think back over your travel experiences. Perhaps I reminded you of some of yours are even the ones you have in the future. Anyway Happy traveling. And why are our beaches in Datsuns. You just heard one of a series of programs presented by Professor and Mrs. Earle Randall. Mr. Randall is a professor of modern languages at Purdue University. His wife is a native of the Netherlands. This series is a special presentation of the voice of Purdue. This program was distributed by the national educational radio network.
Report from abroad
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University of Maryland (College Park, Maryland)
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Identifier: 69-1-17 (National Association of Educational Broadcasters)
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Chicago: “Report from abroad; 17,” 1969-04-02, University of Maryland, American Archive of Public Broadcasting (GBH and the Library of Congress), Boston, MA and Washington, DC, accessed December 4, 2023,
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APA: Report from abroad; 17. Boston, MA: University of Maryland, American Archive of Public Broadcasting (GBH and the Library of Congress), Boston, MA and Washington, DC. Retrieved from