30 Biggest ‘Culture Shocks’ For People From 3rd World Countries When They Visited An Advanced One, As Shared In This Online Group
The modern world is a world of movement and people are constantly moving from one country to another. Clearly dissatisfaction with one's life causes this migration as they desperately try to find a higher quality of life, freedom, and security in developed countries.
Unfortunately even nowadays, the standard of living in the developed and so-called third world countries is incomparable. What people in the US or UK, for instance, take for granted sometimes seems like a real miracle to migrants.
There is a Reddit thread where people are trying to find out what was the biggest surprise or even shock for newcomers after moving into a developed country. The thread has amassed around 61.7K upvotes and over 21K comments so far, so the topic seems to be more than interesting.
Bored Panda made a curated list with the most impressive and sometimes unexpected revelations. So please scroll to the end, watch and share your comments. Who knows, maybe your story, or the story of someone you know, would become just as popular.
More info: Reddit
Snow And Ice In Canada
So I knew this guy who used to live in the middle of nowhere in Africa. For unknown reasons his family moved to Montreal, Canada when he was a teenager. I met him in highschool.
Everyday he'd bring a glass of water and sit by the window and all he would do is watch the glass of water throughout the whole course.
Eventually my friends and I started noticing so we went up to him and asked him about the glass of water and the open window.
He looked at us with big round eyes and told us "I've heard that if you leave water next to the window and it gets cold enough outside... The water turns INTO ICE!"
We all had a laugh and everyday came for an update on his water cup. Eventually winter did arrive. The teachers let us keep our winter coat in the classroom so that he could leave his glass of water next to the open window. Surely enough after a little while ice was starting to appear on top of the water.
He was so happy.
The Postal System
The postal system. The logistics of delivering millions of letters to millions of homes on a daily basis is astonishing. Especially at that price. The idea that I can send a letter across the country and have it reliably delivered the next or possibly even same day is truly impressive.
I visited Germany once with my family. We were about to cross the road when a Porsche came racing through. Living in India, we experience daily traffic mishaps and there is negligible concern regarding pedestrian safety and courtesy. So we were actually shocked when the driver literally halted to a stop and insisted on us crossing the road. There was no traffic light, no zebra crossings nothing and we actually were used to letting cars pass by before walking, so this was the biggest shock to us.
Coming from Australia to Germany this weirds me out too. I recently started cycling for the first time in 18 years, so I ride with the skill of a toddler and the grace of a drunk. But never once has any car honked at me, no one has gotten impatient as I wobble my way around them, no one has gotten mad about having to slow down because of this d***head on a bike. Back home I would have been mangled by now, but in Germany people are generally very accomodating. (Although I think it helps that I'm in a small city -- no one's in that much of a hurry here.)
Things Would Get Fixed
That things would get fixed. I had a vending machine in my dorm building, it broke down and said well s**t guess no more vending machine. Absolutely flabbergasted when I saw the machine repaired and working
You Can Actually Live Off Minimum Wage
I moved from South Africa to the UK and the fact that you can actually live off minimum wage is just incredible. Pay rent and bills, buy food and slowly furnish your house. It’s phenomenal.
Also the fact that most of the UK born citizens think this is a terrible place to live is just beyond me. I always get asked why’d I leave sunny South Africa to come to this “s***hole”. They just don’t understand how good they’ve got it.
When I first came to The Netherlands, I took the train from Schiphol Airport to Rotterdam. As I was sitting in the train, wondering how a country could be so flat, a guy, that looked like an obvious beggar, approached me and told me something in Dutch. I told him in English that I do not speak Dutch. Without hesitation, the guy proceeded to beg in fluent English. That was such a cultural shock...
Even after all these years in The Netherlands, I can not speak Dutch all that well, not for lack of trying but because Dutch people absolutely have no problem switching to English instantly the moment they realize I am not a native speaker.
To be fair the Netherlands has a higher literacy rate in English than most English speaking countries. A Dutch friend told me that if you’re under the age of 40 and can’t speak English you’re basically shamed for it.
My wife’s first time in the U.S she burst out laughing at how a 4-way stop worked, and just couldn’t believe people actually followed the rules.
Garbage Truck With A Motorised Arm
A Tsongan African man who was staying with me came rushing in the first week he was staying me and woke me up. He was extremely excited that there was a garbage truck with a motorised arm and was picking up the wheely bins as it went down the street "Have you seen this! Have you seen this!" He kept exclaiming over and over again, "Amazing, amazing!" It made me laugh very hard, but he was a lovely guy.
South African here. The thought of a garbage truck with a motorised arm literally blows my mind. There's absolutely no rules here that state where our bins should be placed which I imagine is the foundation you need before you can have a truck pick em up by itself.
Perfect Order In Everything
How things actually work.
You can rely on your electricity not going out at least twice a day. If you buy something and it breaks, there's warranty with little to no hassle. Internet actually works more than it doesn't. Public transportation actually arrives and shockingly, it does on time. If you hire a service, it'll actually be done and with an expectation of quality. The list goes on.
Of course it's not perfect and there's s***ty people everywhere, but that's the exception, not the rule. And it's a massive difference.
When I was in the Marines I had a friend that was from extreme rural Africa.
So we took him to 3d shows and such. He had been in the US for around 6 months but even things like tv was an amazing luxury to him. Someone in the group picked up one at a pawn shop off post and gave it to him and he was just amazed that someone would just give him a TV.
Something nifty. He had it set up so direct deposits would go to an account his village had access to. His salary as an E2 in the Navy made his family semi royalty in the village.
Free Protest Culture
You can speak up against the government without being threatened or kidnapped
Houses Without Walls Around Them
I visited my cousins in the U.S once. I was suprised that your houses don't have walls around them. There were only those fences at the side and back that pretty much anyone can jump over. Where I live the only houses who dont have walls surrounding them are those in compounds or subdivisions that have roaming security guards. Paid security guards not volunteers like the neighborhood watch kind of thing
edit: To the people asking I'm from the Philippines but its n̶i̶c̶e̶ interesting to see that other countries carry this t̶r̶a̶d̶i̶t̶i̶o̶n̶ practice.
edit: Not really a wealthy family but not really a from dangerous neighborhood. It pretty standard here to have at least a 2 meter tall concrete walls if you have middle income but those poor ones just settle with barbed wire
Grocery Stores Full Of Different Food
Giant grocery stores are full of food and always fully stocked.
Coming from Ukraine to USA in the 90's, my entire family's jaws dropped for hours.
Hah, my dad's from Munich and my mom's from Kraków and the stories about their childhoods are sometimes so different because of that.
Like my mom will tell you how oranges were a delicacy that you only had for special occassions while my dad will be like "oh when we were bored we used to throw them at each other for fun".
People Sometimes Don't Lock Their Doors
That people here (Ireland) don't lock their door when they leave and have no security bars on their (multiple) windows.
The general sense of safety and the fact that I could walk home alone at 4AM and still be safe, if a bit nervous.
Great Public Infrastructure
The quality of the public infrastructure, and how respectfull city planning is with pedestrians. Sydney is full of beautifull little gifts in the shape of shortcuts, stairs, parks, pathways. Everywhere.
It truly is a joy to just walk through the city.
Also, dogs are more polite that people where I come from.
People Are Way More Informal In Communication
That people don’t care at all with the clothes or my overall appearance (weight, hair, etc).
In Brazil I always get comments (good or bad) about how I look. Mainly from friends or family but it’s common to always talk about it.
When I moved to Australia I made friends, and never got a comment about any of these things. It was a big relieve to find out that I can be myself and not worry about the tons of comments about something that doesn’t matter at all.. :)
No Sound Of Gunshots In The Evenings
My grandmother came to the U.S. from El Salvador during the 80s ( bad times) and she said she couldn't get over the fact that hearing tons of guns firing at night like fireworks wasn't normal, and how peaceful it was to have quiet at night.
A Lot Of Water In Toilets
I could see how a developing country where getting drinkable water takes some effort (boil it, filter it or buy it) it’s pretty weird to go to a developed country and find out that people c**p in toilets with drinkable water and also shower in it.
My god parents adopted two girls from Ethiopia.
They were straight terrified of any bodies dogs. Anybodies.
In their home town, kids were regularly attacked and killed by wild/street dogs.
The lights. So many lights from street lamps, traffic lights, huge buildings lit up all night. Oh and the highways blew my mind. They were so wide and full of so many cars.
I was 6 and I’ll never forget that first drive from the airport to my new home in December. It was also my first time seeing snow.
Being A Girl, You Can Live Alone
Being a girl, you can live alone.
I have a daughter living in Toronto, Canada, and another living in Halifax Canada. They would never worry about physical safety or being robbed.
Then my oldest went to work with street kids in Bogata Colombia. It took her a long time to fully understand why people got upset with her wanting to go out for walks at night.
Toilet paper. Toilet paper everywhere. You don’t have to bring your own to a public restroom because there’s one in every stall here in America, and it’s free.
The Quantity And Great State Of Old Buildings
How old the houses are. I was expecting modern construction like in my country, buy instead saw old buildings which, ironically, valued more than even the more modern ones
Old buildings are often closer to the city center, so it's also location. Plus they may have historical value.
Really Fast Ambulance
My roomate's coworker is from Guatemala. He says the one of the best things about the US is that when you call for an ambulance, one actually shows up even if you aren't rich or important.
drinking water directly from water taps
I tried to explain this to my kids. They had trouble understanding where water comes from before it arrived at the two.
Being Able To Walk Around The City While Using Phone
Being able to walk around the city while using my phone.
If I use it where I live, I get murdered, raped or kidnapped over a phone.
Women Driving Cars
Seeing so many women driving cars in USA was shocking to me.
Coming from the worse country to a better one, it surprises me how easy it is to do a transaction online.
Apply visa? do it online. They will notify you once they need documents, once you are ready, etc. Every step of the process.
Pay bills? Fine, do online banking.
Order food, groceries? Do it online, call for delivery.
Schedule for appointment? Call, Do it online.
Meanwhile in my country, you need to do all this PHYSICALLY. Fall in line for hours. Registration done?
On to the next step - payment. Uh oh, you need to go the bank, collect the receipt and come back here.
You want to do it online? Good luck with the s***ty websites and slow internet. I could go on and on.
Its day and night comparison.
Cables Underneath The Roads
Cables underneath the roads and not hanging everywhere
Buses Always Arrive In Time
Busses arrive on time and the estimated time remaining for arrival is displayed at each bus station. Also, THERE IS A FIXED BUS STATION
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