With 50 states across an incredibly large landmass, the United States is home to several traditions, beliefs, and customs that make it unique from other countries. However, certain aspects of the country can be hard to grasp, especially for those who haven’t experienced them first-hand. Here are 12 things Americans say most often baffle people from other countries about the US.
1. The Country Is Huge
The United States of America ranks among one of the largest countries in the world. Yet, people sometimes act like it’s a walk through the park.
For instance, one person writes, “Foreigners will tell us how they’re planning a two-week trip, starting in NY, driving to Miami, then driving to the Grand Canyon, then driving back to NY, and we’re all like ‘What?!’
2. The Train Service Is Disappointing
Well, who could have guessed? As a foreigner, that reads as a shock to me. Still, train service in America isn’t as efficient as on TV. The smell is…distinctive, too. They say it either smells like urine, weed, or poo. America has a problem.
3. They Are Not Mean
Even though mainstream movies have proved how disturbing, crazy, rude, and hostile Americans can be, they beg to differ.
“Don’t believe the news. Seriously, most of us love meeting new people. Especially those from other countries and cultures. In the U.S., We love to tell you the best restaurant or park or best way to get from point A to point B. Don’t be afraid to say ‘hi.'” Remember that when you plan to visit.
4. The Law-Making System Is Different
Law systems vary from country to country and even state to state. Most people forget this and that the U.S. is run by democracy.
“Specifically, they don’t seem to understand that laws vary by state and that there are restrictions on which laws can be made at the federal level. Also, I’ve seen way too many people who don’t realize that the U.S. President does not have the power to pass laws on his own,” a citizen says.
5. It’s Not Always Political
Contrary to popular belief, Americans are only sometimes about politics. They have lives outside of it. Also, the people are not divided by opposing views, each hating the other. There are Americans that enjoy going about their day normally. As a matter of fact, bringing up politics in some settings is considered rude and improper to many.
6. Experience Varies
America is so large that it is “like five cultural countries mashed into one.” Each region has evolved with its own culture and style. Therefore, your experience of the country largely depends on the part of the country you visit. “They are all kind of tied together but are not the same.”
7. It’s No Dystopian Hellscape
Again, America has problems. Still, according to Americans, it’s not the “dystopian hellscape” the media paints it out to be. There are political, social, and religious issues, but they don’t think it’s as bad as people act. Life is good for the average American. Apparently, people who call America bad do not know what living in a third-world country is like.
8. There’s a Lot More To New York
Citizens think there is a lot more to New York than New York City; places that are just as great — maybe more — but don’t receive as much as flowers.
One says, “New York State has more land than the Netherlands, Switzerland, Belgium, and Luxembourg combined, for perspective. Come on by sometime. We’ve got GREAT parks and good wine!”
9. They Take Personal Space Seriously
This is one big thing non-natives don’t understand about America. They take their space seriously, so you’re more likely to see more expansive parking lots, restaurants with large spacing between tables, and malls half empty because they consider it too crowded to go in.
10. They’re Normal People
Here’s one that saddens me. Apparently, not every guy is a cowboy? Phew. The truth is, people there lead everyday lives, and the entire America isn’t like the Wild West. They’re just regular working people staying out of trouble when they aren’t causing it and buying fancy cars, not horses.
11. Never Order a Large
Here’s one thing you should never do in America, no matter how hungry you are. You would not be able to finish it, and your money would go to waste. Alternatively, you can ask for a box to go and eat the leftover at home.
12. They Have An Actual Cuisine
The food in America doesn’t just comprise hot dogs, pizza, and sausages. A citizen shares a couple of recommendations to try when next you visit the country:
Get a lobster roll, clam chowder, or oysters in New England
Get gumbo and bananas foster in New Orleans.
Get Carne Asada fries in Southern California.
Get Teriyaki in Seattle.
Get brisket, fried chicken and waffles, pulled pork, etc., in the south.
Get Cioppino and Dungeness crab in San Francisco.
Get roasted hatch chilies and fajitas in New Mexico.
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