It's always interesting to travel around the world and experience different cultures and traditions that may differ from what you believe to be the "norm". And even though most of the time these cultural differences spark nothing more but a delightful surprise, there are some characteristics that are difficult for people to wrap their heads around.

Have you ever thought that there are things that only your country does but seems that everybody else doesn't really understand it at all? Well, according to this askredit thread, those living in America definitely have this problem. After getting asked "What is something you didn't realize was typical American stereotype until you went abroad?", people flooded the post with an endless list of customs that only in America are considered to be normal. From garbage disposals and free public bathrooms to extreme portion sizes, there are some strictly American things.

Scroll down to read these answers and funny stereotypes, and don't forget to share your delightful cultural differences in the comments!

#1

The prices abroad don't add tax after the fact. You pay what the price shows. No need to figure the tax. Dumb that we do that here.

ChicagoTrader71 Report

Perry Swift
Community Member
3 years ago

Yeah, that's a total pain in the arse when you visit the states.

View More Replies...
View more comments
#2

Being "friendly" to an extent. I checked in at a hostel and walked into the lounge area where people from all over the world were just chilling. I kinda introduced myself to the whole room, and someone goes, "you're from the states, yeah?" And I'm like, "yeah howd you know?" They said, "only an American will walk into a room of strangers and introduce themselves to everybody."

dude_with_amnesia Report

Christina Sersif
Community Member
3 years ago

I don't see how that's a bad thing....?

View More Replies...
View more comments
#3

When I went to Australia I found out very quickly that no one down there "roots" for a team - they "go for" a team. So when I said I root for the Red Sox I got a lot of weird looks

(Rooting means fucking in Australian)

ConfidentMarionBerry Report

Schrödinger's Dog
Community Member
3 years ago

Oops...

View More Replies...
View more comments
#4

Sugar. When I visited Japan, even some of their sweetest desserts pale in comparison to how much sugar is in American food.

willbo2013 Report

M O'Connell
Community Member
3 years ago

I absolutely hate how sweet things are here. EVERYTHING could do with at least 50% less.

View More Replies...
View more comments
#5

How fat we are. Like, I know we are when compared to the rest of the world. But it made me realize what I think is fat in the US, is grossly obese in Europe. And what's not-fit, but not-fat in the US, is fat is Europe.

There are some hamhogs over there but my god, returning home was an eye opener.

At least we don't smoke as much, I guess.

Shlittle Report

TC
Community Member
3 years ago

Sorry to agree with you.

View more comments
#6

The stereotype about us being loud is true. I never thought of myself as being loud until I went abroad and would hang up the phone after speaking in what I thought was appropriate volume to find everyone around me was staring at me, and realized how much more quiet they were lol whoops

ProfanePly Report

María Hermida
Community Member
3 years ago

Everything is relative. Come to Spain and you will start to think that, in comparison, you are as quiet as a mouse. It doesn't matter how loud you are, the average Spaniard is even louder. The level of tolerance to noise here is unbelievable.

Gwinevere von Ludwig
Community Member
3 years ago

Agreed. I've never stayed in a louder building than the Airbnb I had in Barcelona last year.

Load More Replies...
Sunzilla
Community Member
3 years ago

In a cathedral in Italy i was in the basement and heard very loud talking upstairs. My first thought "Great, the Americans are here". True as bob, they were...

Luca Giordano
Community Member
3 years ago (edited)

hahaha...yup...

Martha Meyer
Community Member
3 years ago

It*s not just on phone. You guys are loud, period.

Shelp
Community Member
3 years ago

I once was in a restaurant in Hanoi, with three groups of tourists (arf). At the beginning, there was only a group of french peoples, everything was ok. Then came a second french group. Everything nice. Then came a small group of Americans. They were incredibly loud. We couldn't hear anything. Some french folks asked them to be quieter, but they didn't want to. I quickly left the place because it was unsupportable.

Uchman
Community Member
3 years ago

Haha, I'm from Nigeria and we SCREAM at each other when we talk, you'd think two friends walking along are fighting. When we're in a group? Forget it, it's a disaster 😂

Del
Community Member
3 years ago

😆

Load More Replies...
TC
Community Member
3 years ago

That's so true. I live in a very popular city for tourists and it's very easy to spot Americans. They shout all the time!!

Luisa Vasconcelos
Community Member
3 years ago

The German people are so not noisy that you can live in a 5 floor building and you will think you are alone. In the train or subway if it's laud, are foreigners.

Mira
Community Member
3 years ago

Oh, then I love Germany!!! I love in Spain and it's really loud here...

Load More Replies...
Estefani Licea Madrigal
Community Member
3 years ago

I was on a monorail in Amsterdam packed like sardines and the only people talking at all were some Spanish Tourists 😂 they were talking about how no one talks

First Name
Community Member
3 years ago

No. Italians are loud.

Maria Kumar
Community Member
3 years ago

Indian people (at least in Punjab) are the same. If you don't talk loudly then people think there's something wrong with you, like you're upset or sick or something.

Daniel (ShadowDrakken)
Community Member
3 years ago

I'm quiet for an American and even I consider myself pretty loud. But OMFG native Spanish speakers outdo any native English speaker XD They love life and they make sure everyone around them is loving it too :)

Victoria Rey Piuma
Community Member
3 years ago

Try Italians fighting or drunk.... 😉

Load More Replies...
Hobbit Girly
Community Member
3 years ago

I went to a small music festival, the group from Ireland was the quietest one there. And they say the Irish are loud.

Kururi.Orihara
Community Member
3 years ago

I have tendency to whisper in quiet places, so I think I'd be good as long as it's generally quiet.

Laura Ess
Community Member
3 years ago

I lived wit an American for a few years and the volume difference was obvious in Western Australia. Most people took it as being over-agressive, but when Lee was in a room you knew it.

HoffLensMetalHedLovesAnimalsUK
Community Member
3 years ago (edited)

Yes loud Americans are definitely a stereotype here, like with your cinemas, any being loud in the movies here would be asked to shut the f up or leave. We can think of you as very over the top, like always clapping and cheering for something always "woah merica", we can find that corny and cringy. I'm sure it's not true for a lot of Americans.

rai mei
Community Member
3 years ago

Nope, Filipinos are louder than Americans. Specially how people laugh here, so loud that I miss the environment in Japan and South Korea.

rhyan lumilay
Community Member
3 years ago

We just don't care, we're expressive people but in a different country we're shy to almost speak but when encountered a fellow country man we tend to burst bubble and become a loud speaker.

Load More Replies...
KarmaQueen
Community Member
3 years ago

what do hard of hearing people do?

Ryo Bakura
Community Member
3 years ago

Sign frenetically.

Load More Replies...
Liz Sahlin Johansson
Community Member
2 years ago

Come to Scandinavia and your whisper will cause irritation over how loud you are. 😂

Toni Tangents
Community Member
3 years ago

Yep. You can hear American tourists a mile off. Very loud indeed.

Gina Lim
Community Member
3 years ago

People! Wait till you step into China. Real loud-speakers , ppl talking like they are quarrelling . Am a noisy Asian too but some Chinese incredibly loud.

Marnee DeRider
Community Member
3 years ago

I work with a lot of people from India and I am convinced most of them must have super-human hearing because about 1 out of 7 speaks very quietly, but I've only run across maybe one or two United Statesians of European descent who do that. Drives me nuts, because I'm somewhat hard of hearing.

Curious Cat
Community Member
3 years ago

its not really loud.. more Verbose.

Klay Thoring
Community Member
3 years ago

An American in a tiny Scottish town (Carbost) started playing the bagpipes in the pub assuming everyone wanted to hear her play - servers had to shout and even back in the attached hostel it was loud...this after playing loud phone videos while everyone else was mellowly chatting or playing community board games. *facepalm*

Annamay
Community Member
3 years ago

No one has ever said, 'We sat next a quiet Italian family'.

Alfie Alfie
Community Member
3 years ago

Again, loud mouthed Americans.

Mariah Carvalho de Souza
Community Member
3 years ago

Try brasilian people

Akash GG
Community Member
3 years ago

Evereywhere - you can spot an American even in the lifts - they *have* to comment on every single detail that catches their eye... Omagad this, omagad that...

rick hctep (Rick45)
Community Member
3 years ago

That's why the Americans lost so many men in the second World war was because they could not keep their mouths shut when there were Germans about.

Lu
Community Member
3 years ago

Loud is relative right? It depends when you are loud, are you aware of it etc...

View More Replies...
View more comments
#7

Measuring walking/driving distance in blocks.



It's the unit of measure I use most frequently when giving directions - the restaurant is 3 blocks away, go south one block and then two blocks west, I live six blocks from the grocery store...



It wasn't until I studied abroad in England and got a complete blank look when I asked someone how many blocks away the library was that I realized using "block" as a measurement only makes sense in cities that were largely pre-planned and built on grid system. AKA: not many places outside the US.

Glaggies Report

Eunice Probert
Community Member
3 years ago

You have to remember that many town in Europe are actually quite ancient, far older than the USA.

View More Replies...
View more comments
#8

Red plastic cups for parties. So much so that people outside US use them as an accessory to American themed parties.

thiswasagutpunch Report

M O'Connell
Community Member
3 years ago

I would be so uncomfortable at an "American-Themed" party. I'm American, but I have absolutely no idea what the expectations would be.

View More Replies...
View more comments
#9

Ok, so, this one is probably pretty obvious, and looking back on it it’s really embarrassing. My family took a European vacation when I was 17. For some reason, we decided to get KFC in the UK. (Because ‘Murica.)

My friend who came with us went with me to order and pick up our order. We ordered a family size bucket of chicken, and they asked us what kinds of side dishes we wanted. We said “Biscuits.” And the employees looked at us with the strangest look.

UK KFC: “You want . . . biscuits with your chicken?” Me: “Yes. Biscuits.” UK KFC: “We don’t sell those.” Me: “What do you mean you don’t sell biscuits. What are your sides?” UK KFC: “Chips?” Me: “You mean French fries? Ok fine. That’ll do.”

I was worldly enough to know that “chips” meant “French fries”, but “biscuits” in the UK are cookies. My fat ass tried to order fried chicken and cookies. I am positive someone over in the UK is still telling this story at parties as an example of how disgusting Americans are.

Also on this same trip my father asked why our waitress kept saying “cheese”, when she was saying “cheers”. We really left a good impression across the pond.

anxiousandexhausted Report

Dani
Community Member
3 years ago

Haha! This reminds me of a time when my family was visiting relatives in Japan and because we were from America, my great-aunt decided to take us to an "American restaurant." I loved it because their interpretation of American food was about equivalent in accuracy to our interpretation of Japanese and Chinese cuisine.

View More Replies...
View more comments
#10

Small avocados.

Went to puerto rico. Was like, ‘yo ill have like 6 of those stuffed avocados’. Buddy was like, ‘yo gringo, i think you underestimate the size of our avocados here. Just have one and ill being you more if you want after’.

I had half of one. It was like a football.

CheckOutMyGun Report

Bored Fox
Community Member
3 years ago

Small avocados are available in most European countries too.

View More Replies...
View more comments
#11

Here in the States, pregnancy announcements/reveals/baby showers are mainstream but it's generally a BIG no-no to bring it up in Kenya. My mom found out the hard way. Essentially, asking someone when the baby is due is the equivalent of asking the person "when did you and your husband fuck?" which is considered EXTREMELY rude. The lady my mom asked was gracious about it but said "If we were not such good friends I would have slapped you!"

Evilforreal Report

Crouching_Penn_Hidden_Teller@yahoo.com
Community Member
3 years ago

A guy from Pakistan I had just met asked me why I wasn't married. I told him in the US that's a rude question. His immediate response was to ask me again!

View More Replies...
View more comments
#12

Garbage disposals in sinks.

When I moved to the UK, my flatmates asked how in movies people would stick their hands in the sink drain and it be ripped apart. I told them about garbage disposals and they were very weirded out.

ShayBriar Report

Blakkur Sverrir
Community Member
3 years ago

In most parts of Germany they are forbidden. The reason is that the scraps would feed the rat population under ground

View More Replies...
View more comments
#13

Having your drink constantly refilled at restaurants. I just wanna drink a ton of water alright?

33whiten Report

Julia Christina Eneroth
Community Member
3 years ago

Here in Sweden many restaurants let customers get a bottle of water to the table. Then we can chose ourselves when we want to refill.

View more comments
#14

Buying stuff and the cashier putting your items in a plastic or paper bag. Went to Germany, and found it strange they don't bag your items. Everyone just brings their own bag or dumps their stuff in a back pack.

powerchoice Report

Eunice Probert
Community Member
3 years ago

That's because we're trying to save the planet, one unused plastic bag at a time. Having to pay 10p for plastic bags in supermarkets cut bag use by 80% in Wales in one year.

View More Replies...
View more comments
#15

Root beer is apparently disgusting and an offense to most of the worlds palate.

Detroit_debauchery Report

diane a
Community Member
3 years ago

Yep - tastes like Germolene ointment smells

View More Replies...
View more comments
#16

I moved to England from Texas about six years ago. One of the major things that I noticed was that smiling and being friendly towards strangers was considered bizarre. This is a bit true in any metropolitan area, but especially in the UK. In Texas I was used to smiling at people, asking for directions if I needed them, and being friendly towards strangers. I learned very quickly that smiling at someone on the tube, or asking someone for directions on the street immediately makes someone think you’re trying to scam/rob them or you’re crazy.

Colourblindknight Report

Daric Apai (Darquestar1)
Community Member
3 years ago

Smiles and friendly talk is one thing Americans should share with others.

View More Replies...
View more comments
#17

Ranch flavor Doritos in the Netherlands are called "Cool American" flavor.

Totally_a_Banana Report

Daric Apai (Darquestar1)
Community Member
3 years ago

Hahaha.. the only time 'muricans are cool overseas.

View More Replies...
View more comments
#18

Keeping AC on 100% of the time in the summer.

Visited Madrid for about a month to see the exchange student we housed, and found that they typically only turn on AC at Night to sleep or when it reaches a damned 105 deg F.

GardenGnome35 Report

anisub
Community Member
3 years ago

in Switzerland no one has an ac in their house but our houses are also better built than your wood houses haha^^ that's something i don't get, you have these hurricanes and storms and everything but your houses are so poorly built..

View More Replies...
View more comments
#19

Massively wide roads/lanes. The whole of Ireland made me feel claustrophobic, but when I got back home the roads felt like way too much wasted space.

thehoddy Report

Pollypocket81
Community Member
3 years ago

But... its a beautiful country :)

View More Replies...
View more comments
#20

Going out to a restaurant. In America, you are seated ASAP, and then they bring you drinks, appetizers, entree, desert and then check as quick as they possibly can (if it's good service) for a total time of 45 minutes to an hour and a halfish. Staying past this time is seen as a bit rude. In Europe, going out to eat seemed to be more of an event that you slowly enjoyed for a longer period of time. First, they you bring you drinks and an appetizer for the first hour. Then the second hour is the entree and desert. Then it's more drinks for another half hour or so. I don't know if it's because we were American but it seemed like the wait staff everywhere we went was annoyed that we were rushing them, when we just thought it was bad service and didn't understand the routine.

Chorche412 Report

Monika Soffronow
Community Member
3 years ago

Sorry, but Europe is not a country. There are 50 countries if you include the ones that are partly in Europe, partly in Asia so talking about the customs of eating out in Europe mean nothing at all unless you include where you actually were. Different countries, different languages, different cuisines, different cultures and different customs.

View More Replies...
View more comments
#21

Road trips...at least just jumping in the car and driving a few hours without giving it much thought. I live in a large western state and it seems at least every other weekend my family and I were in the car traveling for a few hours to see some site, go into Mexico or another state.

I have relatives in Switzerland and they were going to drive us to the Frankfurt airport and I was blown away how big of a deal it was to them. My uncle had the car inspected, shopped around for gas, and printed off travel and weather reports. All for a trip my dad would have said "hey lets do this this weekend, in the car kids!"

madisonpreggers Report

Bruce Robb
Community Member
3 years ago

In the US, 100 years is a long time. In Europe, 100 miles is a long distance.

View More Replies...
View more comments
#22

Having plenty of *FREE* bathrooms around for the public to use.

YonderIPonder Report

Eunice Probert
Community Member
3 years ago (edited)

Oh good lord yes. If a county council tries to close one, there is a heck of a protest. We demand plenty of public loos.

View More Replies...
View more comments
See Also on Bored Panda
#23

I doubt this is restricted to America in any way, but when I studied abroad in the UK, the lack of public drinking laws was a bit of a culture shock. Being able to walk outside with a bottle of beer was very freeing

OneCoolStory Report

Bored Fox
Community Member
3 years ago

If anyone visits Finland the alcohol laws here are very confusing - also for us Finns. You can visit a store that is open 24hours but you can't buy alcohol drinks between 9 pm and 9 am. If you want alcohol drinks that have over 5,5% volume of alcohol (like vodka that often has 40%) then you have to buy them from a separate store called Alko that is not open 24/7 and is often closed on sundays and holidays. It is also not a good idea to drink alcohol on a public place because police may confiscate your drinks. Also alcohol is really expensive here so many Finnish people buy alcohol from Estonia or Russia. But at least you can buy alcohol and visit bars when you are 18 years old.

View More Replies...
View more comments
#24

I was struck by the extent to which nobody talks to strangers in northern Europe ... Even in big cities in the US, people will talk to each other sometimes in line, on the subway, etc. Not deep conversations, but it isn't weird to make casual conversation.

badass_panda Report

C Bragg
Community Member
3 years ago

Maybe I was born in the wrong country, I hate small talk and I don't smile at strangers.

View More Replies...
View more comments
#25

How large grocery stores are here. My wife is not american and we lived in China and were in HK all the time... they had large international stores that were great and she didnt really grasp the size of american grocery stores till our first week in the USA and there's 150 feet of cereals on one aisle

wtjax Report

Daric Apai (Darquestar1)
Community Member
3 years ago

You could house, clothe and feed a small village in some American superstores.

View More Replies...
View more comments
#26

S’mores. I was in New Zealand having a bonfire on the beach and someone went and grabbed a bag of marshmallows and then everyone just ate them??! By themselves?! And someone from Sweden asked me if s’mores were a real thing or only on tv. I was flabbergasted.

ballroombritz Report

Christina Sersif
Community Member
3 years ago

I hope you introduce it to them and changed their lives.

View More Replies...
View more comments
#27

My British friend makes fun of me for how much cheese I use in my cooking.

Doesn't stop her from inhaling my potato casseroles, but there you go.

Iximaz Report

KarmaQueen
Community Member
3 years ago

My husband would be in heaven. He always says "the more cheese the better."

View More Replies...
View more comments
#28

I am not American but visit the U.S alot and I tell you,almost all Americans has this habit of giving the 'half smile look' to anyone,that is not just normal anywhere else

harajukugirlnana Report

KarmaQueen
Community Member
3 years ago

Not sure what this means? Half smile look when confronting someone as they walk past you, to be nice?

View More Replies...
View more comments
#29

24 hour stores.

It's weird not being able to buy random sh*t at 4am...

TheSensualSloth Report

Noez 🇸🇪
Community Member
3 years ago

Makes no sense... We have lots of 24 hour stores over here?

View More Replies...
View more comments
#30

At a buffet in Germany, I had to pay for ketchup

doublex12 Report

Bored Fox
Community Member
3 years ago (edited)

That's strange. Here in Finland ketchup and mustard are usually free part of the buffet food.

View More Replies...
View more comments