There’s an article over at ThoughtCatalog listing things that people from other countries found surprising about America when they actually came here. Here are some samples:
- A lot of couples adopt children, sometimes in spite of having their own, and treat them exactly like their own. (To me, this alone is a marker of a great people)
- That, American foreign policy is a very inaccurate reflector of public consensus.
- My grandma to this day remembers a story about when she came to teach in California in the 1970s. The students used to get apples along with their lunch. Nobody ate them, so they’d just throw them away or leave them at the tables. My grandma was shocked at how they were able to just throw out good food like that, and that no other teachers cared.
- President doesn’t automatically become the richest person in the country.
- Many children, even in well to do families, work in fast food, car washes and do a lot of other things to get money and it is not an embarrassment.
- In Nordstrom, when a sales assistant says “Can I help you?” s/he actually means “Can I help you?” and not, say, “You’re distracting me from my phone. Can you please leave?”
- Shoes (flip-flops?) + tshirt + cardigan + scarf (+ running nose) = winter city outfit often seen in subway and public places when it is REALLY cold outside. If in winter you see a bare-feet child in crocks running from the car to the mall through the piles of snow, it is likely to be a local one. Immigrant kids are often on contrast a bit over-dressed for the weather, wearing snowpants and mittens starting November.
- People tend to be very sensitive about racial and religious topics. I was embarrassed to ask a Costco employee where the white chocolate was because I was afraid she would tell me I was a racist.
Of course some of the comments reveal more about the person and the country they come from than about America, but it’s still an interesting read.