10 American Things That International Students Find To Be Completely Strange
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10 American Things That International Students Find To Be Completely Strange

How the American lifestyle makes an international student's experience abroad even more interesting.

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10 American Things That International Students Find To Be Completely Strange
@teamusa

When we international students come to the U.S.A. for the first time we are thrown into a completely different world than the one we knew from back home. In my case – a polish household on German ground. Some of the things we encounter on American ground make us smile, some of them make us cry, but some of them simply seem weird to us.

surely ask yourself what I am talking about. So let me clear up the mystery. This said I have to confess, however, that it’s probably exactly those little details in the U.S. that make an international student’s experience abroad so exciting.

1. Everything is huge

Americans seem to love huge things. The soda cup sizes you can get are insane, and so are those of some wine bottles at the supermarket. Most striking though are huge supersize cars. Luckily for me, parking lots here are also huge!

2. Iced water

Americans love iced water. No matter the weather, restaurants always serve ice-cold water with ice cubes filled to the brim. To be honest, there are often more ice cubes in the glass than actual water, and I’m freezing only looking at it even though it’s hot outside…

3. People fill your bags at the supermarket

This is so weird. In no other European country have I encountered staff filling my shopping items into bags. We do it ourselves while the cashier is scanning our products, allowing lines to move faster. And believe me, each one of us has their own strategy according to which we fill our bags.

4. There are flags flying everywhere

You can find the American flag on literally everything: In front of houses, on top of supermarkets, gas stations, on restaurant menus, … Everywhere. And some of them are impressively large. It seems that the Stars and Stripes enjoy an extraordinary status not only in American public culture but also in Americans’ private lives.

5. Americans love their A/C

Coming to the States in August, I know that it gets super hot in the summer. I understand that. And I also understand that one wants to turn on the A/C to have some cool fresh air. But tell me, why do I have the impression that people here like to blast the air conditioning to the maximum? In the summer, you go from sweltering 104 degrees Fahrenheit outside to ‘I-need-my-winter-jacket’ –10 degrees at the supermarket.

6. Americans love their pajamas

Whether in class at university, during groceries shopping at the supermarket or simply at lunch in the cafeteria, Americans can often be found in their pajamas and matching slippers in public. In Europe, a student wouldn’t even dare to come to class in sweatpants, needless to say, that pajamas would definitely carry things too far.

7. Prices are always displayed without tax

When going shopping the prices really invite you to buy that shirt or that nice pair of shoes. However, the price displayed on the etiquette is only a part of the actual amount you’ll have to pay. Once you are at the checkout and they add in the tax your “nice deal” suddenly becomes not so enjoyable anymore...

8. When people say “How are you?"

… but they really mean “hello” and actually are not interested in how you are. In Germany when you ask someone “How are you?” be prepared to receive a full 5-minutes answer on how they actually are, what is bothering them and how they feel.

9. Tipping in restaurants


While waiters in Europe are decently paid, waiters in some states in the U.S. are paid only $2.50 per hour! Thus, while in Europe the tip is a way to honor the good service, the customer in the States is expected to leave a tip even if the service was mediocre and then calculate said tip between 10% and 20% of the bill’s total in order to figure out how much to leave.

10. Confusing currency

Have you ever seen Euros? Or any other currency in European countries? The banknotes are all different sizes and colors to make life easier. Here, currency looks all the same, which makes paying cash quite a challenge for us internationals. But we love challenges on American ground. They make our stay abroad so much more interesting!

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This article has not been reviewed by Odyssey HQ and solely reflects the ideas and opinions of the creator.
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