Woman holding glasses.

21 Startling Things About the U.S. That Throws Foreigners for a Loop

Sometimes it takes seeing something through a foreigner’s lens to understand the differences between Americans and the rest of the world. Ready for a good laugh?

Note: Some quotes in this piece have been lightly edited for grammar.

1: So Much Green

Old man holding $100 bills.
Photo Credit: Irene via Adobe Stock.

“Why is all your money the same colour?” questions a foreigner. How can one possibly know what bill they’re picking out of their wallet without pulling it all the way out to see the number?

2: Lineage Pride

Two green beers.
Photo Credit: Depositphotos.

A Scottish-born person says that Americans “are obsessed with their ancestry.” They give this example: “Jeremy was born in America, raised in America, but he found out that he is 1% Irish, and he goes around screaming that for the world to hear.”

3: Defining Oppressed

Man holding up fists in handcuffs.
Photo Credit: Depositphotos.

A Brazilian implies that Americans need to look up the word “oppression” to learn that the average person in the U.S. is anything but that. They explain, “Poor areas in the US are considered well above luxury for a poor Brazilian.” From their Brazilian family’s point of view, “Oppression in the US is better than what most people have anywhere else.”

4: So Very Friendly

Happy woman.
Photo Credit: Depositphotos.

American introverts may want to consider a change of residence. An American living in South Korea shares that “Koreans are always blown away that Americans will talk to COMPLETE STRANGERS.”

5: Super Sized

Pile of unhealthy food.
Photo Credit: Pixelbliss via stock.adobe.com.

One foreigner has two words for the most surprising thing about America from their experience: Portion sizes.

6: Tell Me All

Man standing in front of Democrat and Republican symbol.
Photo Credit: Delphotostock via stock.adobe.com.

An odd thing about the U.S. is that “Total strangers will ask you about your religious and political views,” according to one foreigner. For certain Americans, that also may seem extreme and provoking.

7: Medical Bills

Health insurance.
Photo Credit: H_Ko via stock.adobe.com.

“Having to pay to go to [the] hospital” is a shocking concept to one foreigner. Another person chimed in, saying, “the ’emergency room’ shouldn’t make you wait 12 hours.'”

8: My World

Hands holding a globe.
Photo Credit: Depositphotos.

A Canadian says, “Something that always surprises me about the Americans is how much they think the world revolves around them.” They now live in the Netherlands, where “American politics infiltrates less and less of [their] life.”

9: Where’s the Gratitude?

Woman shrugging.
Photo Credit: Depositphotos.

To one foreigner, the lack of gratitude Americans have “to live in such an amazing country” is outrageous to them.

10: School Taxes

Chalkboard with math.
Photo Credit: Depositphotos.

It’s absolutely insane to one foreigner that “schools are funded by local land taxes, making the difference between rich suburbs and poor areas.” They believe “Good schools [are] only in rich neighborhoods and make sure to keep all the poor away so there are still enough people desperate enough to work for nothing but tips because they have no other opportunities.”

11: Come Again?

Cowgirl holding magnifying glass.
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There’s nothing surprising about the U.S. in the eyes of one foreigner. They note, “American culture is so disseminated in movies and television that there wasn’t much that shocked me.”

12: Firearms Galore

Cops with arms folded.
Photo Credit: Depositphotos.

A foreigner said the amount of people who own firearms in the U.S. is shocking to them. Americans jumped into the conversation, with one saying they hadn’t ever seen a civilian walking around with a firearm, only police officers.

13: Lovely Accents

Photo Credit: Depositphotos.

A British tourist in the U.S. says they were surprised by how “The California and Texan accents are lovely on women.” They were equally surprised that their British accent wasn’t as charming to all the ladies as they had been led to believe.

14: Surprise Tax

Surprised woman.
Photo Credit: Depositphotos.

One foreigner questions what’s up with not including tax in an item’s price. They think it’s ridiculous that it’s legal to display a price without the tax already included.

15: Tipping Missteps

Tip jar.
Photo Credit: New Africa via stock.adobe.com.

“Tipping should be optional and not expected of a customer,” states a foreigner who was surprised by Americans looking down on people who don’t tip. “Employers should pay their staff properly,” they add.

16: Financial Extremes

Woman holding American flag.
Photo Credit: Joaquin Corbalan via stock.adobe.com.

An Eastern European tourist says that the “USA seems like the chasm between the poor and the rich is really big.” They explain, ” You have billionaires who can buy whole countries and people who have to live on the streets,” saying they prefer their Eastern European home.

17: So Poor

Man laying on a bench.
Photo Credit: Depositphotos.

A UK citizen says they can’t believe how poor much of the US is. They described wanting to see the “real” America, so they toured Route 66 and weren’t impressed. “The southern states ironically remind me of the Middle East,” they said.

18: Imperial Woes

Measuring tape.
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One foreigner can’t wrap their head around why Americans don’t use the metric system. “Imperial is one of the dumbest things in human life,” according to them.

19: Shoes On

An arrow pointing at shoes.
Photo Credit: Depositphotos.

The surprise of all surprises to one foreigner is that Americans wear “shoes on the sofa.” Another person piped in, “Or on the bed.” Should the commenter have visited more households, it may have cleared up the fact that shoe-wearing inside American homes isn’t a hard-and-fast rule.

20: Processed Everything

Snicker's bar.
Photo Credit: Depositphotos.

A Brit says they can’t believe “The sheer quantity of food in restaurants and how processed a lot of supermarket food is” in the US. The worst part? They admit the UK’s food quality isn’t the best compared to many countries, yet the USA’s food still stands out to them in all the wrong ways.

21: Trump Supporters

Trump giving a speech.
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A self-proclaimed left supporter says the most surprising thing about the U.S. is “how a bunch of you voted for Trump.” They continue to be shocked to this day, acknowledging that “there were better Republican candidates.”

Source: Reddit.

Way Too Serious

Frustrated woman.
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From yellow American cheese to gaps in bathroom stalls, Americans shed light on what foreigners get all wrong about The Land of the Free.

20 Things Foreigners Take Too Seriously About the US According to Americans

People of Walmart

Man laughing.
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Walking into Walmart is a cultural shock in and of itself for some foreigners. Walmart employees took to the internet to share some of their favorite “people of Walmart” stories, though they may have felt anything but a favorite at the time.

12 Hilarious “People of Walmart” Stories Told By Walmart Employees

15 British Terms That Baffle Americans

Confused woman.
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They say the U.S. and Great Britain are two countries separated by a common language. That appears to be true, according to these terms that Americans don’t understand.

15 British Terms That Baffle Americans

19 Incredibly American Things That Americans Don’t Realize Are American

Woman holding sunglasses.
Photo Credit: Depositphotos.

Americans, listen up. These are the ultra-American things that you assume everyone does but it just ain’t so.

19 Incredibly American Things That Americans Don’t Realize Are American

20 Most Overrated Tourist Destinations, According to Travelers

Confused person.
Photo Credit: Depositphotos.

No American wants to spend thousands of dollars on a trip only to learn it’s overrated. These are the destinations travelers say don’t live up to their hype.

20 Most Overrated Tourist Destinations, According to Travelers

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