Some things are just so American. The irony? Many Americans don’t know it.
1: Greek Life No-Go
“Universities in Europe are simply institutions of higher learning, nothing more,” says one commenter on an online forum that generated over 36,000 comments about the topic of incredibly American things. “There are no athletic teams, no Greek life, no 30-foot climbing walls at universities in Europe. You come to school to learn and leave when your classes are over for the day.”
2: Magic Money
Drive-through ATMs aren’t a thing in most parts of the world, say foreigners. People need to get out of their cars and physically walk up to an ATM to take out their money.
3: Dessert for Breakfast
No, donuts, sugary cereal, and muffins aren’t part of breakfasts in many parts of the world, says a confused foreigner. No wonder many Americans suffer from health issues.
4: Residency Mishaps
Many people commented on Americans thinking it’s normal to say their state name when a foreigner asks them where they’re from. That’s not how it goes in most other parts of the world, they say. One commenter gave this example:
‘”Where are you from?”‘
5: City Mishaps Too
Another foreigner notes that Americans from large cities reply with the city name they’re from rather than their state name. “The thing is, it doesn’t cause any confusion, since most people know most American states and at least the major cities,” they argue.
6: So Many Flags
Americans take patriotic pride seriously, say some foreigners. “So. Many. Flags.,” comments one. Another says, “From my understanding, the flag is very/extremely important to older veterans who most likely served in WW2 or are children of those veterans and are just proud of their contribution of helping fight, freedom, and the country’s accomplishments in general.”
An American commented they’ve heard foreigners talk about how many American flags are displayed across the U.S. But during their Canadian visit, “there were like just as many flags.”
7: Free What?
Free refills at restaurants aren’t common in other countries, says one foreigner. Over 30,000 people liked the comment. You can only imagine the eye-rolling restaurant workers must do when they serve Americans expecting free drink refills.
8: Prescription Medicine Commercials
It’s not the norm to see commercials for prescription medicine plastered across TVs, say foreigners. Medical ads are even illegal in England, according to an American who visited and questioned the absence of them.
9: Thanking Veterans
Most people don’t thank their veterans for their service, say foreigners. Americans and foreigners alike chimed into the discussion. An American vet said it was “confusing for me” when people started thanking him for his service, which became a thing after 9/11, since “I was in [it] for purely selfish reasons.” Another suggests that the best way to thank veterans for their service would be not “tormenting them on independence day with fireworks.”
10: Stranger No Danger
To one foreigner, “Handing your credit card to a stranger, having them walk away, swipe it, then bring it back to [you] like they didn’t just put a down payment on a new house with it” is an entirely American thing that doesn’t happen in most parts of the world.
Being dependent on a car is something that many foreigners believe is downright American. Using pick-up trucks to get around instead of for carrying materials is also ultra-American, they say.
12: Tax Ghosts
“Not including tax on prices displayed in stores” is odd and American, say many. It’s a cruel tactic played by the greedy, making the prices appear cheaper than they are.
13: Christmas Cards With Photos
Including a family photo in a Christmas card is the epitome of American. And “Often with pictures not related to Christmas at all, such as beach pictures,” one commenter said.
14: Chump Change
“Paying $10,000 for a live birth and thinking that’s okay” is very American, says one foreigner. Another adds, “After paying $3,000 every year for ‘health insurance.'” If only they knew how many Americans must pay more than $3,000 annually for health insurance coverage.
15: Canned Casseroles
“Mixing three different canned foods together and calling it a casserole” is totally American. Another foreigner agrees, exclaiming, “Don’t forget to add cheese!”
16: Singing the National Anthem
Singing the national anthem is normal when other countries are involved, say some foreigners. But “Singing the national anthem at every possible opportunity, even when the event does not involve any other countries” is straight-up American, they say.
17: Air Conditioning
While plenty of other countries have air conditioning, it’s the way Americans install and use them that deviates from the rest of the world, say foreigners. Whereas many American homes have vents in every room for air conditioning, many other countries hang rectangular units from windows, and only some rooms have them.
18: Long Road Trips
Massive road trips are an oh-so-American thing compared to most countries. One foreigner says, “You can hop in a car and drive 2500 miles in one direction.” Try doing that in Luxembourg.
Tipping restaurant servers, barbers, food delivery drivers, and more is not a thing in other parts of the world, say foreigners. And even in places where tipping is acceptable and even expected, it’s not the outrageous percentage amounts that American culture expects.
20: Not Asking for the Bill
Millions of people around the world ask their server for the bill once they’re ready to pay. Not so in the U.S., say foreigners. An American agrees, saying they’d feel “rude to call the waitress over to ask for the bill.” It normally just arrives, often while customers are still eating.
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