Do you Know How Many Continents There Are?

One of the most fascinating things about living abroad is that even our basic assumptions are constantly being put to the test. I grew up believing (as strongly as 1+2=3) that there were 6 continents in the world: America, Europe, Africa, Asia, Oceania and Antarctica. However, during a college class I was taking in the U.S., the professor divided the class into 7 groups that would represent the continents of the world.

“But, wait a minute,” I thought to myself, “what’s the 7th continent?”

It turns out that if you grew up in an English-speaking country, you were taught that there are 7 continents: North America, South America, Europe, Africa, Asia, Australia (not Oceania) and Antarctica. If you grew up in other parts of the world, you may have learned that there are 6, 5 or as little as 4 continents.

To learn why people disagree over the total number of continents, watch the video below.

But, the point I’m trying to make with this silly example is that when we’re living abroad, we should expect to have our ideas and beliefs challenged all the time. Learn to appreciate new ways of thinking. And, most importantly, get comfortable with ambiguity. There might simply be no right or wrong answers to many questions―even to the simplest ones.

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To read this post in Portuguese, click here.

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3 responses to “Do you Know How Many Continents There Are?

  1. Pingback: Você Sabe Quantos Continentes Existem? | Abroadee·

  2. I remember the first time I stumbled on this difference of opinions when I was teaching English at a private language academy in Miami. I mentioned something about the 7 continents without even a second thought and was surprised when my class bursted in an uproar insisting to me that there were only 6 continents. In the end we had to come to terms with the fact that we had been educated a little differently on the matter.

    • Hi Jessica,
      Thanks for leaving a comment! :)
      Yes, I was “shocked” when I found out about the 7th continent! LOL
      I guess I thought the number of continents was one of those rock-solid facts of life. Well, I couldn’t be more wrong! haha
      I’m glad you guys came to terms with these different approaches in the end! :)

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