The United States of America is known to be one of those countries that have it all and separates itself from the rest of the world. This is mainly done through the culture and the norms in the United States. There are many things that the United States does differently, whether they be small things or things that will change how people view America altogether. America has made a lot of friends and enemies across the world and all of them usually share the same sentiment about the United States. The land of the free is a great place, but a weird one at that.
America is a patriotic place and some of these facts may seem minuscule in perspective but they are definitely noticeable when you take a step back and look at America compared to other countries in the world. The day to day life in America isn't the same in every part of the country, but much of the country does share these smaller quirks that make America what it is. There are many more things than the 25 quirks listed here that make America standout in the grand scheme of things, but these are the ones that need to be addressed the most.
As many may already know the term 'soccer' isn't used many other places in the world to describe the game of football. Instead of using the term football, the United States gave the term to another genre of sport. Stripping the name football from the sport where you kick a ball, they had to give it another name. This is how the term soccer came about. However, many people outside of the United States use the term American football when describing what Americans know as football. Many people find it odd that the United States would remove the name football from a game where you use your feet ninety percent of the time.
The job of a waiter/waitress can be a tough one and no one is saying that it isn't. The fact that in the United States it is almost required to leave a 15 percent tip even if the service was lacking confuses people living outside of the states. In many other countries, it is rare to see someone receive a tip for their service unless it was a stellar performance. A tip is meant to commend someone for a job well done rather than be expected. In Japan, tips are usually denied from wait staff as they are taught to work with no extra pay expected.
Chances are if you have ever eaten outside of the United States you can expect how big the portion size of your favorite dish is (or for any dish you order that is). However, when you travel into America and order your favorite dish, it can seem like you are ordering for multiple people. The portion sizes in America are much larger than any other country in the world. While this doesn't always sound like a bad thing, if you aren't expecting to see mounds of food in front of you it can definitely be odd.
Waiting is something that most people will have to do in their life. Whether it is waiting in line at the coffee shop or waiting until your birthday to celebrate it, there is a lot of waiting to do in life. The saying goes "good things come to people who wait". While that is true, the saying never said anything about complaining while waiting. If it did then you certainly wouldn't see the large majority of Americans complaining while having to wait for anything in their day to day life. Patience is a virtue!
This may seem like a crazy thing for a restaurant to do in other countries. However, in America, most restaurants that are fast food chains will stay open 24 hours. This is to benefit from the people who stay up late all night and decide they want a midnight snack. Many countries have a norm for when to eat and the restaurant's hours reflect that. This shocks even more people when they realize that employees have to work the night shift to serve people wanting a three-course meal at 3 AM.
The act of smoking has certainly died down in the past few decades and it is generally seen as a gross habit to take part in. The act used to be very social but it no longer is and it seems to be dying out slowly. Chewing Tobacco is an alternative to smoking and in the long run, it is probably better than smoking but it is still a gross habit. Many baseball players in America still use chewing tobacco especially when they are out on the field. That is why if you ever see a baseball player spit something it is usually chewing tobacco (or sunflower seeds).
In other countries, college's have sports teams and it is always a great distraction from studying and focusing on school work. However, it isn't celebrated as much as certain sports in America are celebrated at a college level. Rarely will a college sports game exceed a hundred people in other countries. However, in America, you would be hard pressed not to find a college football game that isn't completely sold out. America takes their college sports seriously enough that they even have their own division! The most popular sport for this is American football.
America has been known to create some wild and crazy food combinations. It usually ends up being within the drink or sweets category. Just take a look at Oreos that now have over 30 different unique flavors. Some of these flavors include Chocolate Peanut Butter Pie, Cherry Cola Oreos, and even Cinnamon Bun Oreos. The drink category also sees a lot of flavor combinations. Mostly you will see these in Gatorade and Mountain Dew. The United States will stop at nothing in trying to combine two flavors that probably should have never been paired together.
Accents can be a curious thing to Americans. While it is mostly British accents that get the most attention in the United States, pretty much anyone with an accent that Americans aren't used to will get attention. If you do have an accent get ready to hear the phrase "where are you from?" or "say that again" over and over. While it isn't the worst thing in the world to be asked, it can become very annoying by the 12th time. It just goes to show how many Americans don't travel internationally to hear those accents where they originated from.
Fast food places like McDonalds and Wendy's have been around for a while and have even started to show up in other countries by the dozen. However, most of these places found their mark in America and it is where most of them make the most money. Fast food is promoted more in America than in any other country. This is because the marketing works and it will make any American want to go out and try the delicious thing they just saw on their TV screen. Drive through any major United States city and count how many fast food restaurants you see. They will most likely outweigh the hometown restaurants.
The English language is spoken a lot throughout the world and because of that, there are definitely sayings that are going to be butchered. From the way certain words are spelled to the way they are spoken, the English language can at times sound like two different languages entirely. America is definitely one of the top offenders on the list of countries that butcher the English language. If not for pronouncing or spelling words wrong they completely change the word for an object. Take the back of a car for instance. Instead of saying 'boot' they use the term 'trunk'.
The traffic light system is in place in most anywhere there are cars. It is a system that is easy to understand and in most countries, it is used to be followed by the law. Green means go, yellow means slow down, and red means stop. However, in America, it can at times feel like the red light is more of a suggestion than a rule. The most notable belief behind this is the fact that most Americans will turn right on red. This is completely disregarding the red light for an unspoken rule among all of America. Good luck getting away with that in another country.
Representing your country can make many people feel proud of where they come from. Patriotism is definitely an important thing no matter what country you come from. There are great ways of showing patriotism outside of sporting events that can be more subtle. However, apparently, America didn't get that memo as the patriotism in the United States is off the wall. Americans aren't afraid to let you know how proud they are of their country. If it isn't them waving their American flag in your face, it is the fact that they pledge to their flag at almost every sporting event.
Food in America is one of the things that makes it so unique. The food in America has put it on the map and there are definitely great eats waiting for you in the United States. However, be ready to see a bunch of fried foods during your visit to America. At first, it was foods that you can expect to be fried like fries and corn dogs. Then came the ridiculous outpour of fried foods from amusement parks. America will fry just about anything and that includes Oreos, candy bars, and even whole sticks of butter. Who knows what they will end up frying next!
While there are many sporting events that are taking place internationally and include the whole world like 'The World Cup" and "The Olympics" it seems like America didn't get the memo of what the phrase 'world champions' really means. Considering that America is the only one competing in these championships (whether its baseball or football) it is strange to say that the winners are world champions. Most of these champions start off as national champions and fans across the country upgrade them to world champions. It is a strange practice indeed.
The term 'lad' in Britain is used to describe anyone who is a friend that you might hang out with or go out with a group of friends. The American equivalent of this is the word 'bro'. The word bro is a decent replacement but Americans don't know when to stop calling each other bro. You don't even have to be American to be a bro and if you are considered a bro get ready to hear it day in and day out. The saying 'bro' can become a bit strange if you haven't ever been called it as it is often used to describe a male sibling.
In most other countries in the world when a group of college students wants to meet up they typically elect someone to host the meetup and they all meet at their place. However, in America, things are run a bit different in the fraternities. These college fraternities are given large houses to host their events in which allows a lot of freedom for the college students which can be seen as reckless. A lot of times the Greek Life Houses will be used for more than simple meetings and can often times spiral out of control into wild parties.
Bumper stickers are a way to express yourself to other people on the road. On long road trips, you will likely stick with a group of cars that will all be driving the same speed limit as you. These bumper stickers help to get to know these road buddies a little better. However, in America, people take the bumper sticker thing a little too far. When you pass an American car with bumper stickers you may realize that there is too much to look at and you may even experience sensory overload. What is the point of having so many bumper stickers when no one can decipher any of them?
Many times commercials are just a boring thing before your show or sports game comes back on the TV. It is a great time to grab a snack or use the restroom. However, in America, it can be the highlight of some people's viewing experience. This is especially true when advertisers put out their best work during large sporting events like the Super Bowl. Many people will completely ignore the game and see what kind of commercials they will play that year. This will be the main talk of many people the next day on social media. Did you see that new Doritos commercial?
The clothing standard in America is severely different than in other countries. Most people in Japan can be seen wearing suits even if they are simply going to the supermarket. However, in America, you will be hard pressed not to find someone walking around in their pajamas in the local Walmart. Comfort is always an important thing but standards are also another important thing. Ever since this trend started in America other countries have adopted it and we can't tell if this is a good trend or not. Whatever the case, we are expecting to see a lot more people out in what they wear to bed.
We are really starting to nick pick now but these things can be noticeable to some people when visiting the United States. When someone greets you in America chances are they will say "how are you". There is also a large chance that they aren't actually looking for an answer, they are rather just being friendly. This isn't the norm in other countries as many people will just flat out say a variation of hello. If you are visiting America just make sure not to tell the store clerk about your whole life when they ask "how are you?".
As mentioned before, America takes patriotism to a whole new level. One way of expressing this patriotism is by hanging up flags anywhere they get a chance. Many people who visit America for the first time may think they came during a national holiday like Veteran's Day or the Fourth of July but in reality, it is just any normal weekday in America. The red, white, and blue flags litter streets across America with each business and homeowner showing their love for their country by waving the large flag outside their door.
In most countries, vacation is something that many look forward to and confirm that they are going to be able to take the time off of work for. However, in America, it often isn't that simple. Vacations are often spoken softly of and never blatantly bragged about in America's workforce. Often times working people will let their vacation days stack up and after working 50 hour work weeks will only use their weekends for their mini-vacations. America's workforces should make it more of a joy to take time off of work instead of promoting it as a bad thing.
We mentioned the Greek houses before that involved college students. Well if you walk into one of those houses after party chances are you will see a ton of these red solo cups. They are the symbol of a party and often times will be the tell-tale sign of a gathering. The design of the red solo cup is respected in many different states around the United States. It has a sturdy design and it is indistinguishable for authorities to tell what is inside the cup. This is likely why they are so popular among college students.
Most pharmacies in America also double as a convenience store. America's thinking with this is why waste the whole building on just selling medicine? Therefore, pharmacies like CVS and Walgreens will also carry everything from batteries to snacks and drinks. Half the people in a pharmacy are there to actually get medicine while the other half are there just trying to find a quick snack. Jon Langford of BBC describes the US's pharmacies as being kid-friendly. “In America, pharmacies are huge, kid-friendly places with shelves stacked full of crappy plastic toys and just about every conceivable candy bar."