4 Things Americans Get Culture Shock About

When you grow up in the same place for your entire life, you become accustomed to that way of living.  Whether it’s the foods, customs, or fashion, it becomes part of who you are.

Stepping outside of what you’re used to can often be a jolting experience.  Finding ourselves in an entirely new structure of society doesn’t feel any different from going to a new planet would.  People refer to this adjustment of experiencing an entirely new way of life as “culture shock.”

Americans, in particular, can often be shocked when they step into a new world outside of what they’re used to back at home.  Here are some of the most common things that people from the United States find very different from home when they go abroad.

Traffic Rules

Although many countries share the same traffic rules, many are completely opposite from the United States.  Often, the concept of driving on the opposite side of the road can be downright dangerous for American tourists, even leading to getting in an accident.

Driving on the opposite side of the road isn’t the only change to traffic rules that Americans are expected to adjust to.  The signs are often difficult to understand because of being written in a different language, and the images are often confusing.  To avoid feeling overwhelmed by the changes on the road, some Americans should consider avoiding driving in their new destination if they don’t think they can handle the shock.

Toilets

Much to many travelers’ surprise, not every country has the same way of doing their business.  This can come as a massive shock to Americans who are used to a traditional toilet and quilted toilet paper.

In some countries, there’s nothing to sit on at all.  Where most people would expect a toilet to be is a hole.  This can require a little bit of coordination for travelers who aren’t used to this way of doing things.

Restaurant Etiquette

Restaurant manners can vary from country to country or even city to city depending on where you are in the world.  Americans who are used to a knife and fork may be blown away trying to master chopsticks or eat with their fingers.

Besides adjusting to what kind of tools you use to eat with, tourists are also shocked by burps.  In many countries, a hearty belch is the ultimate sign of approval after eating a meal, whereas Americans find it revolting.

Currency

When you go outside of the United States, you no longer see dollars as the currency.  Every country has its currency, and it’s up to you to make sure you figure it out.

For many, this requires math skills, since one dollar for an American may be tens of the thousands in another country.