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Americans Who Have Moved Overseas Reveal Their Hardest Cultural Changes They Faced

Culture shock. Noun. Definition: the feeling of disorientation experienced by someone who is suddenly subjected to an unfamiliar culture, way of life, or set of attitudes.

Culture shock is pretty common once you step foot outside your native land. You've internalized living a certain way so deeply that upending that will take some time.


u/TurtleGuy96 asked:

Former U.S.A. citizens now living in European countries, what minor cultural change was the hardest for you to adjust to?

Here were some of those answers.


Mates For Life

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Moved to the U.K. in 2014.

The British are emotionally... different. Not as gregarious and open as Americans. Being here awhile now I've learned that once you make a British friend, they're your friend forever. But for the first year or so it was quite lonely. I felt like no one liked me which wasn't the case at all. They just don't show it and they're awkward and bone dry all the time. I now love this and have great affection for my adopted countrymen.

danimals3

Not A Money Grabbing Endeavor

Echoing a lot of these comments, the supermaket times. When I studied in Switzerland, the supermarkets closed around 6 every day except when they were closed on sundays. Since I was often still working on my projects at school and making my way home by the times the shops closed, Satuday was my only shopping day. If I forgot or was busy during that time period, I would starve until Monday and that was that. No way was I paying 21 francs (over $25 at the time) for a slice of pizza, a coca cola, and some fries at a restaurant.

AYASOFAYA

Getting To Know You, Getting To Know All About You

I love where I live in France. And I've now been here many years, but I get annoyed how hard it is to find info about local cultural events online. I don't live in a big city, but I live in a very family friendly, touristy town, and have to rely on mostly word of mouth or picking up flyers in random places to know what's going on. It makes it harder to make spontaneous plans, in my opinion.

ncclln

Check Plz!

Waiters (and service people in general) not being proactive or dropping by just to check on you. Even though I know it's what I'm supposed to do, I still feel rude having to flag someone down to order or ask for the check.

elijha

A Small Difference

I've never been a US citizen, but I lived there for sometime. When I came back to Europe (my homeland of Poland) I couldn't get used to that smiling to random people on the street or just casually starting small talks with people is not a thing you do here. I got many weird stares.

Kaskaderka

What Kinda Door Is This One

So the doors don't open the same. In the US the doors almost always open away from you on the inside and you pull from the outside, this is a fire safety regulation. In the UK at least it is never consistent and I always open the wrong way. Also, its a lie that Britain uses metric they do something worse than metric or imperial. THEY MIX THEM!!!!! it's so annoying. School uniforms are a pain and its also weird how judgy people are based on peoples accents. In America, you can't really tell how much money someone makes off of their accent.

eisenhead

Y'alright?

American living in the UK- "Are you alright?"/ "Alright?" as a greeting. Still, after nearly a decade of hearing it, I get confused thinking I must look awful. Nope. Just another way to say, "How are you?" Maybe one day I'll adjust.

p_nerd

It Has To Be Good

Last year I spent 9 months in Ukraine. The women there are always dressed to the f*cking nines, even just going grocery shopping. One girl there explained to me that, since clothes are so expensive there (one pair of jeans can be two months salary, easily) the women only buy really nice clothes that will last them. They don't buy simple stuff that they can throw on and be casual, so they're always dressed up even in day to day activities. Even their casual jeans and t shirts are still things that I see girls here wear on nights out.

RoloJP

Pacing Oneself

Everyone eats next to nothing by American standards. People don't gorge themselves so sometimes it was quite daunting to go round someone's house on the weekend and all they have until supper is tea and a tiny cucumber sandwich. Or order a coffee and get a tiny espresso. Don't get me wrong I love these things but I was raised with a scarcity mindset, so I had to unlearn those habits.

-Izaak-

Why Doesn't The Tax Thing Happen Everywhere?

Currently in UK for the last 4 years. Walking every where and a lot of people don't have drivers licensees which is weird for me coming from South Carolina and now living in a large city.

Definitely the humor and the way people joke. Like no one will actually say they're kidding snd I always feel like I have to guess. The sarcasm is strong so sometimes I'm just not sure. Especially being in Scotland.

Also all the tax being included in the price. You actually pay what the ticketed price is. No more adding extra for each item you put in your shopping basket. Whaaaaat.

geeceebee1

Patcharin Saenlakon / EyeEm / Getty Images

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