Children love cartoons, movies, games and we all know that the vilains, the “bad guys” are not only characterized by features that make them unpleasant, but also by foreign accents.

Sociolinguist Calvin Gidney started to study language patterns in animated kid’s entertainment after noticing that Mufasa had an American accent, whereas Scar, the lion of the dark side, roars in British English in The Lion King. He analyzed 30 shows and 1,500 characters, and is still working on this project. Together with Julie Dobrow, a senior leturer at Tufts who specializes in issues of children and media, they observed that

“the use of German, Eastern European, and Russian accents for animated villains is likely reflective of America’s hostility toward those countries during World War II and the Cold War. They have continued to find these same accent trends through the past few decades, even as the political and social climate changes and the nation’s zeitgeist is marked by different ethnic and global tensions.”

It seems that still today, Slavic and German accents are still the voices of choice for “bad” characters in US and UK.

It seems that this is related with the age and training of the showrunners who “make the decision on the basis of what was popular and successful in the shows they grew up watching” (Rosina Lippi-Green, author of English with an accent).

Stereotyped use of language seems not to be an industry-wide norm, “accent signaling is a more subtle form of ethnic stereotyping” and we all observe this not only in cartoons, movies, video games, but also in TV shows, and in some online forums and social media in general etc.

I grew up in Italy and I noticed from a very early age, that not only villains and odd professors had the typical tscherman accent, but Germans were constantly ridiculed in shows, movies etc. People would make fun of their accent, of their “not fluent Italian” and of other clichés related to German–ness.

I didn’t take it very well to see my friends make fun of Germans while growing up in Italy in TV shows, movies, cartoons, TV commercials etc.. I remember that when show masters stereotyped German actors and actresses, I used to cringe.

I suppose that like many other children growing up abroad I don’t like stereotypes… For a long time I thought that I am the only one feeling odd when it comes to this topic, but the study mentioned above confirms that “language tropes can have far-reaching consequences, both for kids’ perceptions of those around them and their understandings of themselves.”

If in the 90’ies children “used TV as a key source of information about other ethnic groups, as well as about their own ethnic and racial identities”, I think nowadays it’s the internet.

When it comes to language fluency, people tend to “make judgements about their peers’ intelligence and education levels based on language characteristics”.  Those using standard language are generally considered as being smarter than others, and they are treated better. Certain accent are “better” than others. There exists a non-written hierarchy of languages and accents that are a clear distinctive feature.

We should not underestimate the impact on children whose home language is stereotyped by the host society and media, because they “see the correlation between evil and foreignness, between evil and low socioeconomic status” and they will be more prone to internalize negative perceptions of themselves or other groups!

What Lippi-Green suggests to take entertainment as a “spoonful of sugar with a sour aftertaste for in-the-know adults —TV and movies “take [bias] and pour concrete over it,” she said. “They etch it in.”, and that children learn through repetition (“You show them a pattern, you keep showing them that pattern … of course they’re going to assimilate that”), should be extended to internet in general.

We can’t shield our children – and ourselves – from cultural biases, but we can learn to be(come) media-literate viewers.

As for our children, Dobrow suggests “if a parent or sibling or caregiver is there with a child watching television or a film, this … can make anything into an educational experience”.

– What do you think about this topic?
– What are the stereotyped languages where you live?

(to be continued…)

Posts and studies mentioned in this post:

Why do cartoon villains speak in foreign accents?

Children and television

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I know that writing this will upset some of my friends, but I want to share this because it came up many many times in the last weeks. At the latest FIGT (Families In Global Transition) conference we talked about identity and sense of belonging and as we all agree that having to chose between one or two of “our” cultures is difficult for most of us who grew up in different places or simply abroad, international days are a challenge. And later, at a talk I gave about embracing international life I shared what these international celebrations felt for me, who grew up and lived in different cultures my whole life.

What for people who grew up in one culture – let’s call them “monoculturals” – can seem like a lovely way to celebrate many cultures, to taste different foods and get a visual impression of what that other culture can look like, and a taste of it if food is involved, a “hear” of it if music is played, is a very difficult time for someone like me or my children who grew up abroad, never lived in that country we’re asked to represent, and only have a temporary experience – during holidays – of what life looks like, tastes and sounds like in that country.

Of course, one can “chose whatever country they have any kind of relation with”, and so my children once dressed up as Dutch, as German, as Italian, as Swiss, but we always cringe at the thought to have to chose.

8 years ago, when my son struggled with deciding which country to represent, I told him what I tell now all internationals who come to my talks and workshops, and their children and teens: you don’t have to chose! You are all of them, so combine them in your very unique and fantastic way!

And so he did. He put on a French cap (on aime bien la France chez nous!), an orange shirt (omdat we van Oranje houden!), blue trousers from Italy (perché amiamo lo stile italiano!), hiking boots and a rope (will mer immer gäärn i’d Bärge gönt go wandere!), and I honestly don’t remember what part of his outfit was German (aber das ist hoffentlich kein Problem…. I didn’t take a picture of him, but I remember that other parents and their children were confused and some even quite upset that he combined some European cultures/countries in his outfit. But he felt better!

– He felt better but not “great”. And I know why: because we perceive it as a very superficial way to show what others expect you to show.

Others want to see colors, to smell spices, taste the otherness and have the illusion of “all is fine” and “everyone is different”.

You are expected to celebrate the bright side of that culture and society, the traditional outfits that you may never wear in that country because you don’t live there and you don’t connect the history, the tradition that comes with wearing them, the pride to be part of that culture, because you experience it from the outside, as a well prepared tourist who only visits it during holidays. You may feel you belong for a few days or weeks in a year: you speak the language, know about beliefs and traditions, adopt the values, but for most of the time you’re “the combination of many”.

Like my children I also attended a very international school, but we never had an international day and I am extremely grateful for that.

The reason for this is because when you live internationality, embrace diversity in your daily life, and wearing a dirndl is to reduce your identity to only one, often the palest facet of your colorful self of your manifold identity!

I know that what I’m saying here is not shared by most parents and teachers at our school and other international schools, and you may think that I have an identity problem.

No worries, I don’t. I thought for many years that me being not only German but also Italian, French and Swiss – even British to some extent! – was weird, a problem for those who try to put you into boxes, label you with only one label, that I had to silence part of who I was to fit into groups, but I, we don’t have to.

Like TCKs, CCKs, those who honestly and wholeheartedly embrace diversity and internationality, don’t need an international day. They live it every single day of their life.

If you don’t believe me, try to ask the children and teenagers, the adults who thrive among internationals: How would their way to express internationality look like?

I know what my answer is: stop pointing out the differences and instead of having separate stalls at these international events with Indian – German – Chinese – Nigerian – South African – British – Irish – Italian – French – Dutch etc. food, unite them all on long colorful table and let the truly international feast begin, where everyone eats from all plates without questioning, judging, comparing, pointing out the difference, but simply enjoying.

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Expat Since Birth by Ute Limacher-riebold - 1M ago

I know this sounds ungrateful or even sad, but since our move 4 weeks ago (time flies!) I realized that what I somehow felt for a long time: I had spent 12 years “in between”.

Here is what I mean with “in between”. It’s when you live in a place or are stuck in a role that doesn’t feel really yours life circumstances make you live in a way that is not really what you would choose for yourself if…. (fill in the blank…) – and you spend months, years, to find out what you can do to feel more “you” and to make things work in a way that you feel “home”, content and connected with yourself.

I think I have finally managed to grasp this feeling that many associate with “home-feeling” and link to a place. I hope I can find the right words for it – bare with me if I switch languages… I have lived in many places and adjusted to all kind of situations. We can adapt to everything, really. But I think we only realize that we have been holding back with something when we don’t have to anymore… For me this moment is today.

My past “in betweens”…

Today I realized that although I have lived 12 years in a place I called “home” and where I have the fondest memories with my children growing up, it was only one of my places “in between”.

I had them before and sometimes I recognized them right at the beginning, like when I moved to a temporary room when I studied in Zurich. I knew it would be only for 3-5 months, that it was going to end soon, I didn’t concentrate on the time spent there. I was continuously thinking about the time before and what would happen next, ie. that I would find a place, reunite with all my belongings and start the new semester – all but a mindful living! – that it had an end.

And there were those months spent in an empty house – the one I spent most of my childhood years in – still fully furbished, hoping that my parents would decide to come back “home” after a year and a half spent in France for work, that it would only be a parentesi nella vita before all would get “back to normal” or (more or less) how it was before. – This would never happen, alas. They would move to, again, another place, sell the house that I so longed to go back home to, and I would never be able to have a place filled with memories for a long time.

And those wonderful 3,5 years spent in Florence, where my son was born, where I got the chance to dive into my research while maintaining my little family. I knew we would only stay for a few years, but there was always the hope to stay longer, maybe forever… Nevertheless, it felt like another parentesi nella vita, because I wasn’t working in academy like before, but was hoping to get back some day… – Funnily, this too didn’t happen…

Sometimes those “in between times” expand, like when I moved to Zurich for study, my intention was to not stay longer than one year. Only that one year ended up becoming 16 years on and off… Or, like when we moved to the Netherlands, and we planned to stay 3-4 years, and now, in 2018, it’s already 13 years that we live here.

The end of an era

Today I realized that in hindsight, the 12 years we lived in that house were another parentesi nella vita. We had lovely neighbors, but for some reason we never hang out with them. We wouldn’t just catch up over a coffee, invite each other spontaneously.
Today I woke up from that 12 years life “on hold”.

We invited our new neighbors for a housewarming party and almost all came! Within 30 minutes our house was filled with smiles, laughter and kind words. Not one awkward second or conversation. They were all so happy to meet us, to get to know us, they were genuinely interested in who we are – believe me, I know the difference between a polite but superficial “oh, where do you come from… interesting…” to the genuinely open questions that seemed not to end that we experienced today. – Since a very long time, I think it’s more than 28 years, I experienced this feeling of being welcome, welcomed, invited to be part of other people’s lives without having to do anything but being me. Without explaining why, when, how long…

We’ve been embraced with true kindness today.

People often say that we need to “live to our full potential” and “do what makes us shine/happy…”, “find out what holds us back…” and “make sure we get what we need”. It’s hard to do all this when you have the intense feeling of not belonging to the life you’re leading or the stage you’re in.

I didn’t realize until today that the place I lived before was affecting my life. I am aware now that I silenced part of myself for a long time. And the interesting thing is that it was the place that had a great part in all this. Maybe it seems odd, but places do this to us.

In every place I lived I had the impression that my whole life changed: my routine, my perception of time: in one place I felt like time would just evaporate, whereas in another it seemed like if I had extra-time. Also the way I felt about myself changed in every place I lived. In some places I had to adapt too much to other people’s routines and habits.

We have lived in neighborhoods where “foreigners” where treated differently, where “people like us” were tolerated, but not really welcome, and places where we felt good and safe, but that “something” was missing. – Today I am very grateful that we have found a safe and comfortable place. And it’s not only a place but a new village that will help us raise our children. Children come over spontaneously to play or hang out with our children. At the end of a long day we sit in front of our house watching the sunset and chat with the neighbors.

Now, for the first time since I have children, I feel we belong, we can integrate easily and my children will thrive. And so will I.

  • Have you experienced living in “times in between”?
  • How was that, when did you realize that they were “times in between” and how did you “get out of them”?
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If like me you have learned English at school, you probably haven’t learned the different meanings of expressions and way of sayings that Brits use on a regular basis.

I have been working with native English speakers for more than 13 years now and still notice that although the setting is mostly international, i.e. we tend to speak an international-English, the native speakers still use their language in a very British way.

I found myself very often in the position to translate the meaning to non-native speakers. You can imagine what kind of misunderstandings happened.
If someone said “I hear what you say” and the other one thinks that the proposal was good and is accepted, you can imagine how disappointed and frustrated this person was when she found out that it was a “no go”…

Or when you talk to your child’s teacher about an assessment and thinks that they don’t have anything to worry about because “it’s not to bad”, only to find out a few months later that the child is having serious problems…

The British indirectness is something one needs to get used to. But the most challenging aspect of all this, in my experience, is that some might use the phrases and mean them in the British way, and others not. So my tip is always to ask: “do you mean… or ….?”. But here, again, it is sometimes more the non-verbal clues that give you the honest answer you’re looking for. Is the person avoiding eye-contact, giggling or overtly saying “no, I don’ t mean it this way…” (really?…), then be prepared that it might not be honest… again…

I have to confess that I sometimes play with the different meeting and discussions styles to test the people in the room. I recently attended a meeting with mainly native speakers, and turned the discussion into a more “Dutch” style, i.e. more direct, straight forward way. What happened? The native speakers were shocked, wondered what was going on, if there were any serious problems among us. – There weren’t!

Here are a few more phrases that can be confusing, taken from an online article, and inspired by the book Very British Problems. I added some explanations here and there, I hope you like:

1. ‘I might join you later’ — Translation: I’m not leaving the house today unless it’s on fire.

With some friends we waited for 1 hour and she didn’t show up…

2. ‘Excuse me, sorry, is anyone sitting here?’ — Translation: You have 3 seconds to move your bag before I get really annoyed.

Usually this is accompanied by a very clear move towards the seat, and the person might be putting her bag already on the seat… – I actually find this quite rude, but that’s me I guess…

3. ‘Not to worry.’ — Translation: I will never forget this!

4. Saying ‘Sorry’ as a way of introducing yourself.

The many “sorry’s” said by Brits is overwhelming. When my son started attending English preschool I was worried by the many sorry’s he would say – even in German (‘tschuldigung!…) – It has quite some impact on the self-confidence of a person to apologize so many times, even if it is not really meant as an apology… Our subconscious listens to these words and reacts accordingly.

5. ‘Bit wet out there.’ — Translation: You’re going to swim…

It’s always ironic… The “bit” means the contrary…

6. Ending an email with ‘Thanks’. — Translation: I’m perilously close to losing my temper!

All short endings of mails or letters are a sign that the person is not really happy…

7. ‘Right then, I really should start to think about possibly making a move.’ — Translation: Bye!

This is a very typical one: the long goodbyes. We sometimes spend more time in the hallway than actually during the visit… no, just joking (or not).

8. ‘It’s fine.’ — Translation: It really couldn’t get any worse, but it probably will do…

This is something many internationals need to get used to! Again, when teachers say that your child is doing “fine”, start asking questions!

9. ‘Perfect.’ — Translation: Well that’s ruined then!

When I said “it was all perfect”to a native speaker when asked if all was set up like I expected for a workshop lately, she started getting very nervous. “It was fine…really” – again: shouldn’t have said that! – in the end I told her that it couldn’t have been better and gave a very detailed feedback about what went well…

10: ‘Not too bad, actually.’ — Translation: I’m probably the happiest I’ve ever been.

When working with clients on communication skills, I often mention that sarcasm and irony are most difficult for people who are not native speakers to grasp, so, please, add some sentences to make clear what you really mean!

12. ‘Honestly, it doesn’t matter.’ — Translation: Nothing has ever mattered more than this.

I started using this in discussions with native speakers and it worked…

13. ‘That’s certainly one way of looking at it.’ — Translation: That’s certainly the wrong way of looking at it.

14. ‘If you say so.’ — Translation: I’m afraid that what you’re saying is the height of idiocy.

15. ‘With all due respect…’ — Translation: You have absolutely no idea what you’re talking about.

This is one of my favorites… I always observe the reaction of native speakers to see if they get it that someone who is not native might intend it this way. I could tell long stories about this but won’t…

16. Saying ‘You’re welcome’ as quietly as possible to people that don’t say thank you, but using it as a form of punishment.

17. Meanings of ‘I beg your pardon’ — Translation: a) I didn’t hear you; b) I apologize; c) What you’re saying is making me absolutely livid!

These are difficult to distinguish. It always depends on the situation, the intonation and the non-verbal expression of the person.

18. ‘It could be worse.’ — Translation: It couldn’t possibly be any worse.

19. ‘Each to their own.’ — Translation: You’re wrong, but never mind.

This is actually similar to the German “Jedem das Seine…” and it means the same thing! It comes from the juridical “suum cuique” but changes meaning.

20. ‘Pop around anytime.’ — Translation: Please stay away from my house.

I once was so offended by someone telling me that and obviously meaning to stay away, that I responded “not to worry…” and some more…

21. ‘I’m just popping out for lunch, does anyone else want anything?’ — Translation: I’m getting my own lunch now, please don’t ask me to get you anything!

After 13 years in the Netherlands I can’t understand why someone would offer to be nice with the mere intention not to be…

22. ‘No, no, honestly it was my fault.’ — Translation: It was absolutely your fault and we both know it!

23. ‘No, yeah, that’s very interesting!’ — Translation: You are boring me to death!

If you are uncertain that the person really means it, observe the body language. Is she avoiding to look you straight in the eye, looking elsewhere, fidgeting, yawning…? Ask “what do you find particularly interesting?” to find out…

24. ‘No harm done.’ — Translation: You have ruined everything!

Here, again, it’s the intonation that makes you understand if the person is honest or not…

25. ‘Just whenever you get a minute…’ — Translation: Now!

26. ‘I’m sure it’ll be fine.’ — Translation: I fully expect the situation to deteriorate rapidly!

When I recently said this to a Brit, and I saw the fear in her eyes, I added a kind gesture and “really, you don’t have to worry, I mean it in a German way”…

27. ‘Sorry, I think you might have dropped something…’ — Translation: You have definitely dropped that specific item!

Most of these phrases need to be considered in their context and we should never assume that what we hear and think understand is what is meant by the person.
What I always advise is to ask open questions to make sure there are no misunderstandings and to observe body language.


What Mai Nguyen-Phuong-Mai says in her article Breaking through the barriers of traditional interculturalism is what I teach in my intercultural communication trainings: instead of teaching or learning “how things are done in such and such culture”, we should always be aware that we are

“both products and producers of our own culture. At any given time, we (sub) consciously follow its values, but we can also choose to redirect the flow, alternate the norms, creating a new lifestyle, confronting old thinking. I specifically want my students to focus on adaptability because they are the generation of action.”

If you would like to know more about my intercultural communication trainings, contact me at info@UtesInternationalLounge.com.

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Stille Nacht Heilige Nacht is a carol by the Austrian priest  Joseph Moor in 1816 and it is believed that Franz Xaver Gruber produced the German melody in only a few hours (in 1818), written as a guitar accompaniment. It has been translated into 55 other languages (cf. Wikipedia)

When I published the German and Italian version on my site last year, Rachel Hay left some very interesting comments concerning the Scottish Gaelic version of it and kindly accepted to send me this version that I now am very honored to publish here below.

Ciùin an oidhch’, naomh an oidhch’

Saoghal sèimh, balbh gun soills’

Moire ‘us Eòsaph, a’ chàraid gaoil,

Caithris an naoidhean bheannaichte, chaomh

Suaint’ ann am fois tha bho Nèamh,

Suaint’ ann am fois tha bho Nèamh.

Quiet the night, holy the night

Calm world, silent without light

Mary and Joseph, the lovely family (or “couple”; “càraid” has various meanings)

Watch over the blessed, loved child

Surrounded in peace that’s from heaven,

Surrounded in peace that’s from heaven.

Ciùin an oidhch’, naomh an oidhch’,

Nochd an reul a b’ àillte soills’

Do na cìobairean shuas air a’ bheinn

‘S chualas ainglean le aobhneas a’ seinn:

Crìosd ar Fear-saoraidh a th’ ann;

Crìosd ar Fear-saoraidh a th’ ann.

Quiet the night, holy the night

Night of the star that was shining bright

To the shepherds up on the hill

And heard angels singing with joy

Christ our Redeemer is here, (literally “Free-er Man”)

Christ our redeemer is here.

Ciùin an oidhch, naomh an oidhch’,

Aoin Mhic Dhè ‘us àille leinn,

Gràdh a’ dòrtadh oirrn bho Do ghnùis,

Aoibhneach an uair is Tu còmhnaidh rinn dlùth:

Fàilte do ‘r Slànaighear caoin;

Fàilte do ‘r Slànaighear caoin.

Quiet the night, holy the night,

Only Son of God and our delight,

Love shining on us from Your face,

Joyous when You are close with us

Welcome to our beloved Saviour,

Welcome to our beloved Saviour.

Oidhche shàmhach, oidhche naomh,

Cadal ciùin tha air an t-saoghal

Màiri ‘us Eòsaph ‘s an stàbull fhuar

A’ freastal a’ phàist tha àlainn ‘n a shnuadh,

A’ sith bho nèamh ‘n a shuain,

A’ sith bho nèamh ‘n a shuain.

Calm night, holy night,

Quiet sleep is on the world

Mary and Joseph in the cold stable

Attending the beautiful child/baby (literally “the baby in his looks/complexion”)

The peace from heaven wrapping him,

The peace from heaven wrapping him.

Oidhche shàmhach, oidhche naomh,

B’ e buachaill chunnaic fòs an t-soills’

‘S a chuala farsaing feadh na tìr

An t-sèist bh’ aig ceòl an ainglean binn:

Tha Crìosd, am Fear-saoraidh, ‘n ur còir,

Tha Crìosd, am Fear-saoraidh, ‘n ur còir.

Calm night, holy night,

Shepherd-boys were seeing also the light (“buachaill” is “shepherd” in Scotland but a generic “boy” in Ireland)

And heard across the length of the land

The chorus that was at the music of the melodious angel

Christ, the Redeemer, is in our love (also “justice” or “duty”)

Christ, the Redeemer, is in our love.

Oidhche shàmhach, oidhche naomh,

Aon Mhac Dhè, cho maiseach leinn;

Tha gràdh a’ boillsgeadh oirnn bho d’ ghnùis

‘S tha uair nan gràs an-dràsd’ dhuinn dlùth,

Shlànaighear, bho ‘n rugadh tu,

Shlànaighear, bho ‘n rugadh tu.

Calm night, holy night,

One Son of God, so beautiful to us;

Love is beaming on us from your face,

And the hour of grace is now near to us,

Saviour, from when you were born (or “from your birth”)

Saviour, from when you were born.

Obviously it’s not as close to the German as, for example, the English is, but German and English are much more similar than German and Gaelic. Some of the places where it’s very different, it has the sort of imagery that’s very common to Gaelic Christmas songs (there is always a mention of shepherds on hills).

I think whoever translated it might have referred to both German and English and taken whatever is easier – for example, in the second verse, “Criosd ar Fear-saoraidh a th’ ann” is more like “Christ der Retter ist da”, “… is here” than the English “… is born”.

Please note that this text is Scottish Gaelic, not Irish. The words to the Irish translation can be found here –  and are an independent translation. They still resemble the German words, but any resemblance to the Gaelic lyrics are only incidental to being translated from the same source. What is interesting: sometimes with those two languages (which are mutually intelligible), there’s only one translation from another language, and then it’s just sort of re-spelt for the other, and sometimes they translate things independently and end up with similar-but-quite-different things, like this time.

And actually, although I’ve given here the lyrics I know, Omniglot offers a second translation, as well which is a bit different again.

But all are closer to the original German lyrics than the Italian one is!

Rachel was born in South Australia to an Australian mother and a British father. As a child, she travelled with her parents and younger sister to various countries including Denmark, Austria, Singapore, South Korea, and of course the UK and New Zealand, and it was this travel which prompted her interest in languages. She speaks English and Scottish Gaelic, the language of her grandparents. Through attending a German-medium secondary school in Australia, she used also to be able to speak German and French, but fears she has forgotten most of those two languages through disuse! She keeps a blog in which she talks about languages, Christianity, Australia, and life in general.

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by Melanie Campbell

Have you thought about going on a camping trip with your family? Well, the fall is the best season to do it! The color variations and sceneries in the wilderness create most beautiful pictures nature can compose. The openness of the wild and the colors mixed in the fall season truly clams the mid and the soul. There are a lot of choices for such experiences during the fall season, and one of the best US campgrounds for fall colors are listed below. Check them out, and you might find the right destination for you.

Dolly Copp, New Hampshire

Dolly Copp, New Hampshire © Melanie Campbell, 2017

The historic Dolly Copp Campground provides access to some of the most popular hikes in the area of White Mountains. With its lush forests, it is a definite choice for fall camping to catch all the colors of the season. You will experience spectacular mountain views, and you will have access to numerous outdoor recreations. Dolly Copp is surrounded with mixed hardwood, including spruce and pine. The forest in the area is home to many species of wildlife, including white-tailed deer, moose, and black bear. You should be prepared for the weather since it’s very unpredictable, you can face rain and snow even during summer.

Attractions for visitors include hiking trails, mountain biking trails, rock climbing routes, and you can even find shops, supplies, and restaurants in nearby towns. If you happen to catch a clear weather, you can try to drive up the Mount Washington Auto Road to experience the view from the Northeast’s highest peak. If you’re not confident enough to go alone, there are guided tours available.

The campground in Dolly Copp is a hub for hikes into the Carter-Moriah and Presidential Ranges. A lot of other trails can be accessed by taking a short drive. While spending time in this campground, you will learn more about recreation in a national forest by taking educational programs. The end of the camping season is the best because of the great opportunity for fall foliage views.

Lakeview Park Campground, Arkansas

Lakeview Park Campground, Arkansas © Melanie Campbell, 2017

This area is just perfect for camping, boating, fishing and water sports. It’s a very peaceful place to go and just relax by the water. It’s located on Bull Shoals Lake, in the scenic Ozark Mountains. It’s a large park with many wooden campsites. The lake is popular year-round as each season offers a new panorama. But the fall is the most beautiful one, hands down. Each winter more than 100 bald eagles can be found in the Bull Shoals area.

The Lakeview Park is a paradise for water sports. You can rent a boat and get supplies and guides. You can even compete in fishing tournaments in which the lake holds several state records. If you’re eager to take a walk after you’ve set up your camp (here’re some basic lessons on camping to help you), the trail begins right in the campground, and it goes for 1.5 miles. There are two large shelters in the campground, 78 campsites which are all equipped with electric hookups. Lakeview Park Campground is a great choice for families because it’s hooked up with hot showers, a dump station, flush toilets, boat ramp, swimming area and the playground for the kids.

Go around the lake, and you will find 20 other public parks and a lot of undeveloped lands to discover. There are additional swim areas around the lake which include 11 marinas. If you like camping near the calm water with your family, Lakeview Park will be a great destination for a family trip.

Raccoon Branch Campground, Virginia

Racoon Branch Campground, Virginia © Melanie Campbell, 2017

Nested at the base of Dickey Knob, Raccoon Branch Campground offers amazing mountain views, hiking trail access directly from campsites and mountain streams. You can access the Raccoon Branch and Dickey Creek right from the campground. A lot of people who already visited this campground agree that the best time to come and visit is during gorgeous fall foliage. It’s very easily reached from Interstate 81 by car from any of the surrounding cities.

The campground is elevated at 2880ft; it’s surrounded by pines, rhododendrons, and pines on a large grassy area. The creek gives you the opportunity for fishing and wading in the area, and you can experience some spectacular views of Rye Valley and Sugar Grove. To reach these views, you can use the Dickey Knob Trail. Every camping site accommodates tent camping and around half of them have electric hookups. Before you start planning your camping, make sure you have all the equipment you need. What’s good about this campground is that it has flush toilets, paved roads, drinking water and spurs along with the dump station.

Once you get at the Raccoon Branch, you will be greeted by the local volunteer who will be your host. The host will advise you about anything you might be interested in about the region. One of the most famous things in the region is, of course, the Appalachian Trail. The trail is one of the longest you can ever see; it extends more than two thousand miles throughout the mountains across fourteen states!


Any destination you choose, you will not be disappointed. You will absolutely adore its surroundings and wild nature. All of these areas have a lot of colors to offer which you can enjoy while camping in their campgrounds. Explore the surroundings, take a few pictures, and you might have the best time of your life! The memories will be one of your happiest for sure, and the most colorful ones as well. Hope you have a great time with your family and enjoy the untouched beauty of nature.

About the Author

Melanie Campbell is an outdoor and camping enthusiast behind Ardent Footsteps, enjoying this wonderful world since 2010. She shares expert advice when it comes to camping and outdoor trekking. With the main focus on making the most out of camping and outdoor adventures, Melanie will make you want to go out today!

This post is part of my Friday’s posts from around the world. If you would like to share a post that fits expatsincebirth’s topics, please fill in the form here.

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