12 Facts About America That Would Shock the Rest of the World

America is a big and diverse country, and some things about it might make you say, “Wow!” From super-sized portions to the love for fast food, the USA has its quirks.

1. Land of the Super-sized Portions

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Americans are known for their love of big portions, and it’s not just limited to fast food. In many American restaurants, you’ll find servings that could easily feed two or more people. This cultural norm can be quite shocking to visitors who are used to more modest portion sizes in other parts of the world. It’s not uncommon for tourists to order a meal thinking it’s for one person, only to realize they have leftovers to last them for days.

2. A Diverse Tapestry of Languages

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While English is the predominant language spoken in the United States, the country is a true melting pot of languages. In fact, it’s estimated that over 350 different languages are spoken across the nation. This linguistic diversity is a result of the country’s long history of immigration, with communities from around the world bringing their native tongues. Spanish, Chinese, Tagalog, and Vietnamese are some of the most widely spoken non-English languages, showcasing the country’s rich multiculturalism.

3. Public Restrooms With Gaps

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For many visitors, using public restrooms in the United States can be an unexpected and slightly disconcerting experience due to the sizeable gaps between the stall doors and walls. These gaps often leave little to the imagination, and people from countries where privacy is highly valued might find it quite shocking. The rationale behind these gaps is said to be related to safety concerns, allowing people to see if someone is inside the stall. Regardless, it remains a source of cultural intrigue.

4. Sales Tax Surprise

Girl in restaurant had been expecting a reasonable price, but the total seemed much higher.
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Unlike many other countries where taxes are included in the displayed price, the United States often adds sales tax at the cash register. This means that the price you see on the shelf or menu is not necessarily the final price you’ll pay. Sales tax rates vary by state and locality, so tourists may find themselves puzzled by the added cost when they check out. It’s a practice that can catch international visitors off guard.

5. The Obsession With Flags

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Americans have a deep-seated love for their national flag, and it’s not just a symbol of their country but also a symbol of their patriotism and identity. It’s not unusual to see the Stars and Stripes flying proudly in front of homes, businesses, and even on clothing. While many countries revere their flags, the level of flag-waving and flag-themed merchandise in the U.S. can be quite astonishing to outsiders. The flag is often seen as a powerful emblem of unity and pride among Americans.

6. Tipping Culture

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Tipping is an integral part of the service industry in the United States. It’s customary to leave a gratuity for restaurant servers, taxi drivers, and other service providers. What might shock some is the expectation of generous tips, often ranging from 15% to 20% of the total bill. For visitors from countries where service charges are included, or tipping is less common, this cultural practice can be both surprising and financially challenging.

7. Varied Climate Zones

Na Pali Coast, Kauai, Hawaii
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The United States is incredibly geographically diverse, encompassing a wide range of climates. The country’s climate zones vary significantly from the tropical beaches of Hawaii to the subarctic conditions in Alaska. Tourists can experience the shock of traveling from one extreme to another within the same country. Whether you’re skiing in the Rockies or sunbathing in Florida, the United States offers a climate for nearly every preference.

8. The American Dream

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The concept of the “American Dream” is deeply ingrained in the culture, representing the belief that anyone, regardless of their background, can achieve success and prosperity through hard work and determination. While this idea has inspired countless individuals to pursue their dreams, it’s also met with skepticism by some who view it as an idealized vision. The American Dream is a complex and enduring aspect of American culture that continues to be a subject of debate and fascination.

9. The National Parks System

The Hurricane Ridge viewpoint of Olympic National park in Washington, USA. The background is snow mountain
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The United States is home to an extensive network of national parks, preserves, and monuments, covering a vast and diverse array of landscapes. What may be shocking to some is the sheer size and beauty of these protected areas. From the towering cliffs of Yosemite to the otherworldly geothermal wonders of Yellowstone, these natural treasures are a source of national pride and offer breathtaking experiences for nature enthusiasts from around the world.

10. A Land of Contradictions

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Perhaps one of the most shocking aspects of the United States is its inherent contradictions. It’s a country with both great wealth and significant poverty, diverse cultures yet strong national identity, and a deep commitment to individualism alongside a sense of community. These paradoxes make the United States a complex and intriguing nation, challenging stereotypes and inviting exploration by curious travelers.

11. A Melting Pot of Music Genres

Taylor Swift performs and turns on the Christmas Lights at Westfield Shepherd's Bush, London. 06/11/2012 Picture by: Steve Vas.
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The United States has a rich and diverse musical heritage that extends far beyond its internationally recognized pop and rock scenes. Travelers may be shocked to discover the country’s influence on a wide array of music genres, including jazz, blues, hip-hop, country, and electronic dance music. Iconic music cities like New Orleans, Memphis, and Nashville offer a deep dive into this musical tapestry, showcasing the nation’s deep-rooted musical traditions.

12. The American Obsession With Sports

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Sports hold a special place in American culture, and the enthusiasm for various athletic endeavors can be eye-opening for visitors. While football, baseball, and basketball enjoy massive popularity, niche sports like American football and NASCAR also have passionate fan bases. The magnitude of college sports, with stadiums rivaling those of professional leagues, demonstrates the nation’s fervor for competition and teamwork.

12 Examples of Pure Evil in Society Today

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In the intricate web of our world, there are instances that shake our understanding of humanity. These are moments when the actions of individuals and groups defy any notion of goodness or compassion.

12 Examples of Pure Evil in Society Today

12 Useless Items People Carry With Them Every Day

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Carrying our daily essentials is a routine we all follow, but have you ever paused to think about the items that find a permanent place in your bag or pocket? It turns out that amidst the keys, wallets, and phones, there are some objects that seem to have overstayed their welcome. These seemingly harmless items have become part of our daily lives, often without us realizing their true utility.

12 Useless Items People Carry With Them Every Day 

20 Celebrities With Genuinely Hard Childhoods

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We often idolize celebrities, assuming that they’ve had it all easy from the start. But trust us; there’s more to the picture than meets the eye. Because behind the glimmering lights and glitzy parties, these stars have faced hardships that would cause your heart to ache.

20 Celebrities With Genuinely Hard Childhoods 

20 Antiquated Social Customs We Need to Finally Leave Behind in the Dust

Woman as a driver eats and drinks during the car ride and is therefore careless and distracted.
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Can you believe how much our society has changed over the years? It’s surely mind-blowing! As we find ourselves in the 21st century, it’s high time we look closely at some old social customs that don’t fit in anymore.

20 Antiquated Social Customs We Need To Finally Leave Behind in the Dust 

20 Beloved Actors That People Just Can’t Stand

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Ah, the world of entertainment! From the silver screen to our living rooms, actors have been enchanting us with their talents for decades. But let’s be real- not every actor is everyone’s cup of tea. In fact, there are those actors who manage to rub us the wrong way, and no, sometimes it’s not just because of the characters they play!

20 Beloved Actors That People Just Can’t Stand

This article was produced and syndicated by A Dime Saved.