It’s hard to be objective about your own culture and how it compares to the rest of the world, especially when that culture exports so much of its image abroad.
That’s what makes these observations from newcomers to the United States so interesting; characteristics we take for granted as normal are thrown into an entirely new light when put on an international stage.
I am originally from Bangladesh and here are a few things that I find hard to explain to peeps back home.
- Fruits and vegetables are way more expensive than meat and poultry.
- That, generally speaking, the poor is more obese than the rich.
- A lot of couples adopt children, sometimes in spite of having their own, and treat them exactly like their own. (To me, this alone is a marker of a great people)…
I am American but my family immigrated here from Guyana during the 1970s, 1980s and 1990s. Here are some things they are surprised by:\
- Treatment of dogs. At least until the 1980s in Guyana, dog food was not a thing that existed. Dogs got table scraps and mostly were outside. They are surprised by how in America, people actually avoid feeding their dog “people food”.
- The amount of food Americans waste. My grandma to this day remembers a story about when she came to teach in California in the 1970s. The students used to get apples along with their lunch. Nobody ate them, so they’d just throw them away or leave them at the tables. My grandma was shocked at how they were able to just throw out good food like that, and that no other teachers cared…
I’m from Russia. Below are a few things I almost always have to explain or discuss with visitors from Russia.
- Why individual houses are so large? We always get into discussion that house is not just a shelter, but also a manifestation of one’s financial achievements.
- Philanthropy. There is no culture of philanthropy in Russia and many view American philanthropy either as a waste of money or as some intricate plot to get some additional benefits.
- People don’t walk places. They go everywhere by a car.
- There is almost no public transportation except in a few large cities. People actually have to have cars to get places. Cars are necessity, not luxury.
- Majority of high and middle schools have sport facilities of very high, almost professional quality…
Observations on the U.S.
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