10 Things That Americans Have Made Popular To Other Places in the World

As some Americans are not proud of their country’s history, there is much Americans can be thankful for. However, it isn’t just American passport holders who benefit from their nation’s prowess; many other countries are thankful for American innovation, too. According to a recent online discussion, these are ten of America’s greatest exports.

1. Prom Night

Prom Night
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While the rest of the world may not have a homecoming queen or king ceremony, school prom is prevalent throughout many Western nations and much of Asia and Africa. “I have a friend who went to the U.S. for one year of high school,” says a European commenter. “I met her in university, and I was so jealous: surely it wasn’t perfect like the movies? But she said it was amazing.”

2. Fast-Food

Los Angeles, California - October 6, 2019: IN-N-OUT Burger - Hamburger and french fries in a tray on the table inside the fast-food restaurant
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I remember the post-Soviet era in Russia when Mcdonald’s opened their first branch in Moscow. Russians would line up for blocks for two weeks’ salary just to get a taste of the West. “Funnily enough, the U.S. McDonald’s is the worst McDonald’s,” adds a burger lover. “Every other country I’ve been to does it better.”

3. All That Jazz

Wroclaw, Poland. 27th February, 2018. Concert of band Dire Straits Experience. Picture: Chris White (L) and Terence Reis (R)
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While the U.K. loves to punch above its weight with musical exports, the Mississippi Delta gave birth to all the greatest popular music we love today. “Jazz and every form of music it evolved into,” comments a thread poster. I would counter that blues came first, with jazz following closely behind. “Add blues, country, rock, hip hop, R&B, and funk,” responds the next contributor.

4. Cinema

Many cars parked in front of a big white screen to watch movies or films sitting inside the car at drive in cinema in the evening.
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“Hollywood — I do wonder what cinema would be like today without Hollywood,” ponders a moviegoer. “Would it be better? Would it have died out?” I disagree with this choice, as America didn’t invent film. However, like most things the U.S. does, they took it to new levels and turned it into a world-dominating cash machine. “The dominance of Hollywood has more to do with World War Two than anything else,” a European film fan explains.

5. Garbage Disposal Units

Garbage Can
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How I miss my American kitchen and its garbage disposal! The garbage disposal drain was not only practical, clean, and efficient; it was incredibly satisfying. However, E.U. regulations rule that member states can allow them. “But that’s because they’re not popular outside of America,” reckons a European observer. “Horror films are our only experience of them.”

6. Cheerleading

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A distinctly American pastime has made huge steps outside American shores, with countries worldwide adopting cheerleading. I worked in an international school in Vietnam with a cheerleading cohort, and its members attended all sport meets. “I agree,” replies another expat. “I lived in China and Japan in the first half of the 2000s, and there was a lot of interest and enthusiasm for it.”

7. Halloween

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“Yes, and I will never forgive you for it,” jokes a British parent who says they can’t stand “traipsing round the streets with my kids in freezing cold weather” for candy. While this Halloween Grinch may not approve, the American (Irish) festival has taken off across the globe. I can’t be sure when it started, but schools worldwide allow kids to dress as their favorite characters on October 31.

8. Blue Jeans

designer clothes
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Levis were in demand for much of my life because they were always a firm American icon. “My mom loves the story of getting her first pair of jeans after the Soviets basically outlawed them because of how much they were affiliated with the U.S.,” recalls a former Soviet Bloc resident.

9. Hip-Hop Music and Battle Rap

Funk band, Waterseed, performs at the NOEW Fest (free) at the Broadside in Mid City

Clearly, without the former, you don’t get the latter. However, hip-hop music has permeated so much of urban society, no matter where you are. Step into any major or secondary world city, and the evidence is there. I believe youngsters in dozens of countries have appropriated American street culture and made it mainstream.

10. Twenty-First Birthday Parties

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I have always grown up considering twenty-first birthdays as a normal coming-of-age milestone. It never occurred to me they were an American export. “Literally nothing special about your 21st, but big big parties because America?” asks someone whose country allowed drinking at 18. “It’s weird.”

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