Whether you’re a world traveler or a student studying abroad, you’ve probably been hosted by locals from the countries you’ve visited. Many of these hosts may have tried their best to make sure their American guests feel welcome and have a great experience in their company, but sometimes, their assumptions about our culture are just off the mark.
Here are 11 funny yet true instances of what some hosts abroad think Americans can’t get enough of.
1. Shower Daily
I stayed in France for a semester in college. My host mom was lovely. The only thing I really remember is our college told all the host parents that Americans like to shower every day and to make sure we can do that,” a student writes.
2. Excessive Toilet Paper
In Europe, bidets are commonplace, but according to one traveler, their host family purchased overwhelming amounts of toilet paper so the American guest would feel comfortable. The family filled up an entire room with toilet paper, comically overestimating how much the guest would use.
3. Butter on Everything
“Every time I visit my family in Spain, they add butter to everything because ‘Americans eat butter on everything,’ and every time they come here, they thank us for not using butter on everything.
Like I’m talking, they would put butter in cereal for us or in our drinks, like everything, butter on salad. But, no matter how much I and others in my family here in America have tried to explain it, they cannot somehow grasp that we do not put butter on everything,” a Californian says.
4. Eye Contact with Stuffed Animals
This study-abroad student chose to study in Russia. Their host family allowed them to sleep in one of the daughter’s rooms while she slept with the other sister. The family lined up the stuffed animals and dolls in a row with their eyes pointing toward the bed. “So every time I woke up, there were like 40 dolls and animals staring maniacally at me.”
5. Burgers for Breakfast
A soccer player shares that when he studied in Japan, the host families warmed up fast food burgers for breakfast, thinking it would welcome the Americans. After a few days, he told them he appreciated the gesture but would be open to trying authentic Japanese food.
6. Spaghetti Water
“I was staying in Costa Rica over a summer on a study abroad program, and my host family asked about my heritage. They knew I was of Italian descent, so my Tico Mom told me she’d make spaghetti. Bruh, she took a can of tomato juice, mixed it with two cans of water and boiled pasta in that, and gave it to me on a plate. Of course, I just smiled and said thank you,” a gallivanter expresses.
Another American traveler says they visited Berlin in the 80s, and everyone they encountered offered them gum. The journeyer politely relayed they didn’t like gum.
Ketchup on bread, ketchup on fries, ketchup on everything. “Not my story, but my parents were visiting Germany when they stopped at a restaurant for lunch.
The owner there immediately recognized them as Americans and brought out the industrial-size ketchup jug for their table because, of course, Americans love ketchup. They thanked him for being considerate, but it was hilarious,” a user shares.
“I’m American but Chinese heritage. I spent a summer living with a British family, where, when I first arrived, the matriarch pointed out their green tea and offered to go buy chopsticks for me,” this gallivanter comments.
10. Eating at American Themed Restaurants
Many people recall while abroad, their host families tried to take them to American staples. Even though American chain restaurants in different countries offer different items on the menu, the students told their host families they wanted to appreciate local cuisine at local staples.
11. Daily Hotdogs
“I was sitting there at breakfast eating sunny side-up eggs with a boiled hotdog while everybody else had a nice dal with naan/roti type flatbread. They gave me a boiled hotdog as a part of every meal, which I thought was hilarious,” shares one traveler from a Bangladesh work trip.
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