20 Things Foreign Visitors Find Downright Weird About the US

The U.S. is one of the richest countries in the world. For most people, visiting the U.S. is considered a worth-mentioning experience during their lifetimes. Tourists coming to America might find themselves shocked, especially when things are different than expected.

Most Shocking Thing You Saw

Happy young woman holding American flag.
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A Reddit User asked, “Non-Americans: What is the most shocking thing you saw when visiting the United States?”

We have compiled the 20 best responses to this question posted by Reddit users. Let’s check them out!

1. Plenty of Lizards

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One user exclaimed, “I woke up early on vacation in Florida, and the sidewalk outside my hotel was absolutely covered in lizards, and it was amazing.”

Another user affirmed the occurrence as part of living in Florida, “I live in Florida. The little guys are pretty awesome until your cat brings you a dead one.”

The southern states experience plenty of reptiles that non-natives may see as shocking experiences. Have you ever been creeped out by them yet?

2. Push Chairs With Animals

Beautiful Mother Pushing Baby Stroller In Park
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A user wrote about this as being unusual in the United States, “Today i was in a shopping center and there was a woman pushing a pushchair around however it wasn’t a baby in there but 2 dogs”

A native agreed with the statement, “That’s more common than I’d like to admit.”

Another user added to this revelation, “And it’s not just old ladies. There is a super in-shape dude in my neighborhood who runs while pushing one of those jogging stroller things ahead of him with his bulldog and chihuahua in it.”

Thus, many people believe this to be an interesting experience for non-natives.

3. Cars Outnumbering Motorcycles

Couple Arguing In A Car
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For the Vietnamese, this was a shocking experience, “I’m Vietnamese and when I moved to the US, cars outnumber motorcycles, so it was like going to the future.”

Another Vietnamese living in the States replied to the comment by saying, “I’m also Vietnamese but I was born in and live in California. I’ll be going to Vietnam for the first time soon… Not gonna lie, I’m more than a little scared of crossing traffic.”

Seeing more cars than other forms of vehicles is quite exciting development for natives of third world countries as they have more motorcycles and other modes of transportation more extensively found.

4. Homelessness

unsatisfied negative person closed eyes open mouth scream raise arms
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A user shared their shocking experience, “Whole camps of homeless people living under highway overpasses in New Orleans.”

Another Redditor explained the situation, “I’m not sure if you are aware, but half of that city was erased a few years ago by a hurricane. It was never the richest city in the world, but most of those people are disaster victims who couldn’t move somewhere else, and not necessarily poo.”

Seeing homelessness is shocking for many, as the United States is one of the wealthiest countries in the world.

5. Americans Are Nice!

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One user was surprised about the locals’ niceness, and said, “People wishing me a good morning and saying hello when I didn’t even know them. Always had a misconception that Americans were mean and rude.”

To which another user added, “ What’s funny is you do get the two extremes: people who will strike up a conversation with you, and people who will act like you don’t exist & try to walk right through you. Fortunately, you’ll find more people are nice, rather than rude.”

6. Difficulty in Getting Drinks

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One user talked about a certain difficulty “How hard it is to get a drink, I’m Irish and over 21 and in California, even with a passport and drivers licence I was treated with skepticism. Blood started to enter my alcohol stream a few times while I was there, shudder”

Another user offered a reasonable explanation for this behavior, “I think it has to do with businesses being afraid of getting fined or shut down due to serving someone underage.”

Interesting! What’s your take on this?

7. Obesity

Lovely cute positive young woman hiding behind pizza
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A user observed obesity amongst the poor, “when i came to the states from Bangladesh i was shocked how rich people are so skinny and poor people are so fat in my country it was the opposite.”

A person answered with, “Not so surprising when you realize that all the bad food is cheap as {anything} and the good food expensive as hell. I try to eat healthy and cook meals at home and for just myself I spend around $50+ a week.!”

It is true that most organic and healthy foods are now more expensive and thus out of the reach of the poor.

8. Wastefulness

Couple throwing away raw meat in kitchen at home
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A Redditor shared, “I have a friend from the czech republic who is always amazed at how wasteful we are and how much garbage is everywhere.”

Another person agreed and said, “I was shocked at the wastage of food. The meals were so huge, I felt like the average person wouldn’t be able to eat them. Somebody informed me that you’re not obliged to eat everything on your plate.”

9. Large Meal Portions

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A Reddit user mentioned, “The size of meal portions at restaurants. Often enough to feed 2 people. Even chains that exist in Canada, so much more food at the American versions.”

Another user in agreement replied, “My boyfriend and I (American) can frequently go to a restaurant & order an entree for the two of us. We’ll split it and still have one lunch-size portion left over, usually for between $10 and $15. It’s obscene”

10. All the Shopping Under One Roof

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One user was shocked at the number of things he could get at a single store, “Rite-Aid – I can get a flu shot, HIV test, a bottle of tequila, snickers bars and pizza pockets all from the same store. Awesome.”

Another user commented on a more sarcastic note about what can’t be bought at a US mart, “This reminds me of a New Yorker cartoon from a long time ago. There’s a guy at a cashier at a store and he says: “What do you mean I can’t buy a barbeque here?! What kind of drugstore is this?”

11. The Size of Grocery Stores (Walmart)

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Someone was surprised about the size of Walmart, “Went to a Wal-mart in Maine that was so huge the ceiling met the floor at a horizon. Also, they sold liquor there on the cheap.”

Another user lamented, “Sometimes I walk into a Wal-Mart and imagine how big the room is if everything was taken out of it.

Often times, it is very big.”

12. Less Noisy

human on computer with megaphone sticking out screaming.
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A Peruvian Redditor shared an observation: ” Peruvian here. The first thing my mother and I said was “Wow, everything is so quiet.”

While other US-born redditors replied: “Yeah, the first line in my travel journal after arriving in Lima reads “Beep, beep beep, beep, beeeeep, BEEP, beep-beep, beep!”

Another person agreed with the comparison by saying: “I just visited Lima, and one of the things I thought while there was “It’s so damn loud here!”

13. Americans Are Friendly and Loud

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A person shared, “French living in California. American are super friendly and will engage a discussion whenever they can.

Oh and American speak very loud too”

Another person added, “I was walking to target the other day and this woman was shouting at me asking for directions, she wasn’t panicked or angry or anything, she was just shouting.”

14. Drinking Water Straight From the Tap

Fitness woman drinks water from bottle on the beach near the sea
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One Reddit user was surprised about “Clean air, clean tap water (people even drink it – !!!?). I came here from Russia.”

Another user agreed, ” I get the same reaction from my suburban in-laws. They see me filling a glass from the sink and run at me screaming “WE HAVE BOTTLED WATER! WE HAVE BOTTLED WATER!”.”

15. Flags, Flags, Flags Everywhere

two girls standing in front of American flag
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One user expressed their surprise, “Wouldn’t say it would be shocking but just a tad startling, basically flags. Flags everywhere! On the pavements, in the windows, on the side of buildings, up poles, on cars, on doors, on posters, pretty much anything it could be stuck to.”

A Redditor from Maryland agreed to say, “Oh, come to Maryland. We put our state flag on everything.”

Another user was surprised about this norm, “This is the biggest thing that struck me when I went to the US for the first time. Flags are everywhere. I mean, why? Why do you need so many flags? Do you forget where you are, or what country you live in?”

16. Huge Cars

man very frustrated in car.
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One Italian Reddit user was surprised about “How ****ing big the cars are. I’m Italian”

Someone else explained why Americans might have bigger cars, “We have big cars due to the distance we travel. I would hate to drive 50 miles (80Km) in a fiat. Also, the cupholders, we love them since we drive so long.”

Do you personally like big cars or do you think they just add to the traffic and overall air pollution?

17. Variety of Fast Food

woman fast food restaurant worker holding a burger
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Someone commented, “So much types of fast food. Canadian as well, I’m used to like max 4 choices, but in the states there’s like 15, and there’s a definite hierarchy of quality

One user says there is even more variety than that. “There are waaaay more than 15.”

No wonder the US has given a rise to McDonaldization!

18. Less Crowded Public Transportation

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AllaSerebrina via DepositPhotos.com.

A Redditor shared, “Coming in from China, it was amazing how not-crowded the public transportation was. (well, after i got over the lack of public transportation). Sure, rush hour was busy but I didn’t have to wait for three trains to pass to rudely push my way into the subway (also no one stole my stuff).”

Another one agreed with the above by adding, “Uh yeah…I lived in China a few months and I was shocked at how catching a cab or getting off of the bus is an art as well as a sport.”

19. Drive Thru Banks

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This Redditor had a simple, concise message, “drive. thru. BANKS”

Another user replied with the experience, “I used to work at one of those, in MN. We had a lot of Canadians come to the town to shop and they would stop at the drive-thru bank and just stare at us through the window, not knowing what to do. When we explained, they seemed amazed.”

20. High Water Pressure

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One user was surprised, “The water pressure in American showers is so ****ing high. You could seriously kill people with those showers.”

Another Redditor agreed with the above while dissing Australian showers, “I always thought other countries had low water pressures. How am I supposed to get this soap off without standing under the shower head for four hours Australia!”

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