When people travel to or live in a foreign country, they are often confronted with many subtle to strong cultural differences to how things are back in their homeland. The USA is no exception. Although many Americans tend to think they are the standard norm and its the foreigners who are different (for example, foreigners are the ones with the funny accents, not us, right?), from the visitor’s perspective it’s the other way around. Visitors, vacationers and expats living in the US were surveyed to see what striking contrasts they noticed about stateside life compared to what they were used to at home. Here are ten of the things they were surprised by in America.
Here’s a transcript of the video:
Learning about a new culture is fun, especially if the culture is vastly different from your own. Those who have visited or lived in the United States have reported being shocked by a number of the country’s customs and practices. Here are 10 things foreigners are surprised by in America.
1. Treatment of Pets
Keeping them inside their homes, dressing them, feeding them expensive dog food, taking them to pet spas and day cares. Many non-nationals can’t believe how spoiled domesticated animals are in America.
2. The Use of Credit Cards
Many visitors are surprised by the frequent use of credit cards in the United States, as they are accepted almost everywhere. Americans love to swipe for purchases small and large (and often carry a sizeable debt!).
Walmart is huge. You can buy a gun and three aisles over a hot tub, and three aisles from there a frozen pizza, and pick up your dry cleaning on the way out!
4. Quality of Customer Service
Americans overall are generally more friendly than some foreigners assume. Pleasing as that may be, the constant interaction between the staff and the customer can get quite tiresome, especially when dining out.
5. Food Portions
Large portions are especially true in the fast food sector where customers are constantly being bombarded by the option of “supersizing.” Visitors commented that they could often get three meals out of an “American-sized” single-serving.
6. FREE Soda Refills!
If you’re still not full after supersizing, beverages such as coffee and fountain soft drinks are eligible for endless FREE refills! This is extremely rare in most of Europe and other parts of the world.
7. Widespread Obesity
More than one-third of the U.S. population is categorized as obese. Many foreigners also notice most of the unhealthy food options are cheaper than the organic choices.
8. Size of Cars
Non-natives gawk at the size of the cars Americans drive. They’re amazed by how many of these gas-guzzlers were out on the roads, noting that hardly anyone walks or bikes, even for short distances.
9. Amount of Waste
Foreign visitors believed that wholesale shopping, large portion sizes and overall wealth contribute to the wastefulness. “I was aghast at the amount of stuff people wasted every single day. Food, electricity, water, paper…in India, we reuse stuff until it can only be thrown away.” – Triya Bhattacharya
There are flags everywhere! Foreigners were surprised to see the amount of clothing articles that displayed the stars and stripes, including women’s bikinis.