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10 Things About America that Shock First-time Visitors

Thanks to the internet, people from all over the world can talk to and learn from each other. We Americans have learned that the popular image others have of us is that we are all fat and carry guns. People from other English-speaking nations are shocked that a medical emergency can cause personal bankruptcy in the U.S. But that’s all text. When people from other countries actually visit the United States, they encounter some things they aren’t prepared for. For example:

4. Tipping

The waitstaff, bartenders, cab drivers, hotel employees, and almost anyone in the service industry are tipped. The rule is to tip not less than 15% and although it’s considered as voluntary, giving less than the accepted percentage or not leaving anything at all is generally looked down upon. This is one of what foreigners often rant about when in America (and the locals do that too anyway).

5. America is Really Huge

If you plan visiting the country for a week and the places to visit you have in your itinerary include driving from New York to Miami to Mount Rushmore to Grand Canyon to Las Vegas to Hollywood, please realize that it’s impossible to happen. Remember, America’s area is 9,826,675 km² which first-timers often underestimate. Hint: Italy is just about the size of California.

You might be able to go from the Grand Canyon to Las Vegas, but it will still take a few hours, and another few to Hollywood. That's equivalent to driving through several nations in Europe. Yeah, these are thing Americans take for granted. Read the rest of the list at When on Earth. -via the Presurfer


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What I remember most - and it was many years ago - was the size of the cars. Just VAST. I grew up with Minis (real Minis not the bloated BMW things) and Fiat 126s and the like. Even now I drive a Corsa...so small it ain't even sold in the US!
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Seems to be a rip-off of last year's Business Insider article, which they link to:

http://www.businessinsider.com/foreigners-share-what-they-cant-believe-about-america-2013-11

* 6. The Non-Metric System

This gets exaggerated far too much. Most important measurements (speedometers, foods, etc.) are dual-labeled. And the US isn't alone... The British remain dedicated to imperial measures, but somehow it's not as trendy to mock the UK.

* 8. Return Policy

All of Europe has far better return policies than the US... A product can be returned years later, if it was poorly designed and unsuitable for the purpose.

* "It is easy to find obese people in USA"

Mexico is worse than the US, and the UK is only just barely any better the US in the obesity epidemic. Most 1st world countries have the problem to varying degrees. That said, the US is a big place, and I can see how a foreigner that gets off the plane and walks into a Walmart in Paducah, Kentucky would think the entire US consists of a herd of thundering man-blubber propelled onward by rascal scooters...
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