Foreigners Explain Which Parts Of American Culture Still Seem Strange To Them

'Murica is certainly a unique place, with its freedom and its guns and its fried butter on a stick at various state fairs around the nation. We barely even bat an eye at these things anymore--due to overexposure.

But others from outside the good ole US of A may not have the same resistance that we do to the stranger parts of our culture.

Redditor u/micahdotjohnson asked:

"Non-Americans, what is something in American culture that is so strange/abnormal for you?"

Here were some of those answers.


"Pretty much nothing but the fact that swearing is such a big deal and you bleep out everything is so weird."-Small_Space_8961

"This is even funnier in tv shows like TWD… they show zombies tearing apart people and eating them, but in the next scene the 'f**k' is censored"-amazing_wanderr

American Cities

"How difficult it is to get around if you don't have a car. Not everywhere, but there are some places that are just impossible (no footpaths/bike lanes/decent public transport)."-Potato_times_potato

"Trust me I hate that too, my closest convenience store is an easy 10-minute walk but there's not a single sidewalk that allows me to safely get there, I don't like having to get in my car for everything."-helenhelenmoocow

The Two-Party System

"Perhaps the extreme polarization in politics. I'm used to having many parties, which gives more nuances."

"In the US it seems politics became a team sport, and you end up with the 'you're either with us or against us' mentality a lot easier."

"I think that is very detrimental for the country, but I guess there's no realistic way out of that, nor any will from either of your leading parties to do so."-normalguy_AMA

We've become blind to this stuff, so it's refreshing to hear from others.


"After traveling around the globe, I found out many things about society. One thing is true, Americans have large portions. But another rings true and that's cost."

"Food is cheap and plentiful in the US. And many places have amazing tasting food. I often times will have my meal at the restaurant, then the leftovers for dinner that night, and finally finish it off for lunch the following day."-Elzerythen

Back After This

"TV is hypercommercialized to the point of being completely unwatchable. Even the news programs report and discuss stories on Starbucks announcing their autumn drinks menu two weeks ahead of schedule. It's ludicrous."-tesserakti

"Isn't there like 6-8 ad breaks per show as well? You notice it sometimes with the way some shows end scenes that it's been set up to cut to an ad break."

"The amount Americans get taxed, pay for and then get advertised to for everything is bizarre"-S01arflar3

Another Strike Against Cars

"Repo men for vehicles and bounty hunters. It's not as widespread as it probably seems, a lot of states outlaw it and bond issues have to be solved by actual law enforcement (not that it solves all of the problems with it)."

"I think what's actually worse is what they do to your sh8t if you get evicted. Long story short, the sheriff will show up with some repo men at your house, they'll forcibly put it into a trailer and take it to their storage facility, and then charge you storage fees to get it back."

"I think there's a period of time when they can declare it abandoned, too, or say that you defaulted on the money you 'owe' them for storage and just start selling your stuff off."-emueller5251

Scary Boob

"That you have extremly violent shows on daytime tv, but you sensor nudity. How will a boob harm you, but stabbing and blood splashing is normal?"-1girlonreddit

"I forget what movie it was, but I remember an interview where they had a naked woman hanging upside down and you could see her buttcrack. Can't have such nudity. Their solution was to bathe her in blood to cover the crack."-MrTversted

A person really has to get used to the stranger things about the USA in order to live here.

Basically Every State Is A Country

"Never listing the country name when they say a US place name, even if they're talking to a non-American who might not know what the US states' names are."

"I remember working in Asia and colleagues tell me that always messes them up, unless it's a famous state like California, Florida, Texas, or something like that. Otherwise, they might not have a clue whether it's a state or a city."-buckyhermit

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Never Got This Either

"The obsession with high-school. I have friends who say their best years were spent in high school and I think that's really, really sad."-the_littlehobbit

"High school, especially the later years of it, is a sweet spot for freedom and lack of responsibility for a lot of people."

"Most things are still paid for by parents, you have an easy way to make friends, last place many people play organized sports, and you're getting to experience your first romances."-ironMANBUN

Mother Russia

"I'm a Russian who has been living in America for many years. I could go on and on about the things I had found odd here — the level of respect for laws and rules, tolerance for people who are different, believing and trusting the authorities by default..."

"Acting friendly to complete strangers, leaving things unlocked and unwatched, food which looked appetizing but tasted utterly flavorless, drinking water available from any random faucet, eating out at restaurants every day, ice in everything..."

"But the one weirdest thing for me was the number of dysfunctional families. It seemed almost expected for children to rebel against parents. For parents to not know what the children were doing."

"For families to spend a whole day without talking together. For grandparents to be removed out of sight to a retirement home. For mocking relatives behind their back."

"For divorces over trivial things. For Thanksgiving dinners, the one(!!!) time per a year when the whole extended family gathers around a table, to be awkward and unwelcome events."

"I think it has to do with how easy life is in America: without a viciously hostile environment that would crush those who are alone, there is no pressure forcing family members to learn how to live and work together. But it's still very disconcerting."-GynaecLvs

The person who moves to the USA unprepared will have a few rude awakenings. These things in American culture are definitely odd and strange.

But it's what makes America uniquely itself. Oh, good ole USA. Never change....except for the health insurance stuff. Please change that.

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