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Old 11-13-2013, 09:25 AM
nei nei started this thread nei won $500 in our forum's Most Engaging Poster Contest - Thirteenth Edition (Jan-Feb 2015). 

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Location: Long Island / NYC
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Better than most links I've read, which are either filled with bashing or gushing praise

16 People On Things They Couldn’t Believe About America Until They Moved Here | Thought Catalog

The ones from poorer countries were the most interesting
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Old 11-13-2013, 09:36 AM
 
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Some comments from my wife re. the U.S. (she is foreign-born; from Latin America)-

You can't just randomly "visit someone" in the U.S. Need to call and make a "date", even if close friends or family.

People are somewhat cold, but not as cold as in Northern Europe. Physically you can't get "too close" to someone in a conversation, and there's less "touching" with greetings and the like.

Anyone can go into any store or restaurant, which she finds interesting. In Latin America, it's rude to enter a store without the intent of actually buying something. It's even ruder to go into a restaurant, look at the menu, and leave. No one cares in the U.S.

In the U.S., it's fine to just move anywhere, for any reason, even if you know no one, and don't have a job lined up. In Latin America, you would want to stay close to family, unless there is a very special job opportunity somewhere else.
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Old 11-13-2013, 09:41 AM
 
Location: Victoria TX
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I drove back to the US once from Central America, and gave a lift to a German traveler who had never been in the US before. I had to do some emergency shopping in the WalMart in McAllen, Texas, and she said she was amazed at the outwardly friendly and gregarious attitude of the first Americans she saw in real life.

Her first impression, of course, was quite different from the great majority of foreign travelers, who first encounter Americans in airports and taxis and hotels. Not many first time travelers from Europe go through US customs and then immediately get turned loose in a Texas WalMart.

Last edited by jtur88; 11-13-2013 at 09:49 AM..
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Old 11-13-2013, 09:56 AM
 
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I live in Trinidad (Caribbean).Some of these I really agree with. What always shocks me when I visit the US is the customer service. The fact that people in stores approach you and say "Can I help you?" and they actually do help you as much as possible without seeming to be bothered :O Every single time I go to the US/Canada and experience it throws me for a loop initially lol.
The abundance of flags is another thing that puzzles me. I can understand on government buildings but why anywhere else. Why such a need to show country pride if you are actually living in the country?? I'm more used to seeing my country's flag being displayed by the diaspora in North America than in Trinidad itself as diaspora tends to be uber patriotic, proud and sentimental about their native land.

I love love love the return policy of all stores overseas as that doesn't exist here.

I also love the abundance of health food stores with every vitamin imaginable (I can go and spend hours literally strolling the aisles). I also love the groceries which have every thing imaginable an American could possible want to eat. Typical groceries there are the size of the mega-groceries here.

I'm surprised people in that article were shocked about the size of the US. It's the 3rd largest country..what did they expect?
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Old 11-13-2013, 11:38 AM
 
Location: a bar
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Quote:
Originally Posted by thewitchisback View Post
The abundance of flags is another thing that puzzles me. I can understand on government buildings but why anywhere else. Why such a need to show country pride if you are actually living in the country?? I'm more used to seeing my country's flag being displayed by the diaspora in North America than in Trinidad itself as diaspora tends to be uber patriotic, proud and sentimental about their native land.
I have a friend from Argentina who came to visit Boston for the first time a few years ago. Technically wasn't her first time to the US, as she had been to Miami as a child. Anyway, she did comment on the number of flags here.

Couple other things that surprised her were 1) not everyone was fat, and 2) there are a lot of spanish speakers here.
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Old 11-13-2013, 11:44 AM
nei nei started this thread nei won $500 in our forum's Most Engaging Poster Contest - Thirteenth Edition (Jan-Feb 2015). 

Over $104,000 in prizes has already been given out to active posters on our forum and additional contests are planned
 
Location: Long Island / NYC
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Quote:
Originally Posted by thewitchisback View Post

I'm surprised people in that article were shocked about the size of the US. It's the 3rd largest country..what did they expect?
Yea, I thought that was a bit silly.
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Old 11-13-2013, 11:48 AM
 
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I found this one odd to point out and quite obvious:

"Americans find it very odd if people use different words than them, like British English for eg. people looked at me funny when I asked where the “Chemist” is (Drug Store). Biscuit (Cookie), Billing Counter (Cashier), Coriander (Cilantro), Petrol (Gas) are others."

Within every language are different words for the same meaning or object depending on the country or region where the language is spoken. Even within the US there is the soda/pop/coke thing. Conversely, using American English in England will probably confuse the Brits. I agree with that point, but don't know why it was pointed out as an American thing as I'm sure that's the case everywhere.

Another repeated point that stuck with me was the idea that America is huge is hard to grasp to foreigners. Someone pointed out that when he moved to or visited another country, I can't remember which and I don't want to read through it again, people were surprised he wasn't from one of 4 major American cities most commonly known. Another mentioned that it was hard to fathom LA being so far from an area in a state neighboring California - as if living in AZ or OR means you're close to everything CA has to offer. People from outside the US fail to realize how huge the US really is. We're quicker to be judged on our lack of "worldliness", as was also mentioned by a few, but they forget that Europe is a continent made up of rather small and very connected countries (I mean, easier to travel to) with different cultures and languages. Vacationing somewhere vastly different from your home country is easy in Europe because it's easy to travel within. Being "cultured" is easy and it's common for people to travel within Europe. The US is large, with a variety of mountains, beaches, other natural landscape, and culture thrown into it. Going to Florida from New Jersey is a whole different experience in many ways, but it doesn't count to many foreigners because it's still within America. It's easier for us to travel within our own large and very diverse country and get a new experience than it is for us to fly over to Europe, in which case we'd be viewed as more "worldly". I've always been very interested in that whole dynamic and I'm quick to politely point out to any foreigner that confronts me or Americans in general about not being well traveled or interested in the rest of the world that America is a giant place and I'll never be able to get close to exploring everything it has to offer, not to mention flying across the ocean.

Last edited by JerseyGirl415; 11-13-2013 at 11:58 AM..
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Old 11-13-2013, 11:52 AM
nei nei started this thread nei won $500 in our forum's Most Engaging Poster Contest - Thirteenth Edition (Jan-Feb 2015). 

Over $104,000 in prizes has already been given out to active posters on our forum and additional contests are planned
 
Location: Long Island / NYC
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Perhaps people elsewhere are aware of both the American English and British English versions? Not sure, but maybe media gives American English a further reach and somehow they expected Americans to know British English since they knew some American English words.
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Old 11-13-2013, 11:55 AM
 
Location: Wonderland
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Very interesting article - thanks for posting it!
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Old 11-13-2013, 12:10 PM
 
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Quote:
Originally Posted by nei View Post
Perhaps people elsewhere are aware of both the American English and British English versions? Not sure, but maybe media gives American English a further reach and somehow they expected Americans to know British English since they knew some American English words.
Those who learn or speak English from most nations speak the British version, I think, especially those learning English as a second language. Great Britain colonized a lot of the world and language has stuck in many of its former colonies, so yes I think British English is well known for that reason and American English may be from pop culture - movie, TV, music, etc. Even so, as I said, going to England or the UK in general and speaking American English will get you weird looks. I don't think it's an American thing for us to not be as familiar with English words used elsewhere.

As I also mentioned, even regionally since the US is so huge there are language differences, obviously in accents and word usage. I think this idea is common everywhere, just found it odd it was mentioned as an American thing.
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