• Weird History

The Biggest Culture Shocks Tourists Have Experienced In America

Going to a new country is almost always a sure-fire way to experience something new. But sometimes, those novel things surprise you so much and are so vastly different from what life is like elsewhere that culture shock takes over. Basically, there are things foreign countries have and do that can overwhelm tourists on their travels. So, what do tourists say gave them culture shock in the US? 

  • The Water Level In Toilets

    From Redditor u/fruity_brown_sauce:

    The water level in the toilets; I walked into three different cubicles in JFK [airport] that were all seemingly blocked, until I realised that in the states the water level in the toilets is much higher, like half the bowl, whereas here in Europe there's just a bit of water at the bottom.

  • Family-Style Pizza

    From Redditor u/ItalianDudee:

    For me a very strange thing was that in the USA people share pizzas; I was with a group of US friends and they looked at me very strangely because I ordered my personal pizza, then I realized that everybody share theirs. And it’s not common, since in Italy everybody have their own (only in rare circumstances like when ‘meters of pizza’ are purchased).

    I seemed rude but you know, I want my own pizzas! Also tips, I needed 5-7 days to realize that it’s rude to pay ‘just’ the normal amounts in a restaurant.

  • Friendly Strangers

    From Redditor u/DogsReadingBooks:

    Strangers talked to me for no reason. I could be walking on the street and a total stranger would come up to me and say 'nice jacket' or something similar.


    And Redditor u/Girlwithasling:

    Same, the amount of strangers that randomly talk to you is super uncomfortable for me personally. On the other hand, the first times I visited was before Google Maps, and before we'd even gotten our maps halfway out our bags an American would approach and offer us directions.

    People in the US were just incredibly helpful and kind. The only other place I've consistently experienced people being that considerate of lost foreigners is actually Norway.

  • The Size Of Cars

    From Redditor u/daleelab:

    I went to the US in 2014. We landed in San Francisco and had to rent a car. We thought: 'We're in America, let's rent a big car." So we rented a 'big' car. Then we joined the I101 and we were the smallest car on the road... So with our redefined car we went to the Golden Gate Bridge but we were hungry. So we stopped at a diner.

    My brother ordered a burger and a small 7 Up. He got a liter of 7 Up. He wasn't even halfway and the waitress came to ask if he'd like a free refill (!) To quantify the bigness would be an insult of the bigly bigness that is American lifestyle. Certainly a shock for me.