Things About America That Surprise Europeans

By Niyati Shinde on Sep 30, 2015
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Culture is such a beautiful thing. It is the way you have been brought up, the way you think, the way you react. In a way, your culture becomes your identity. Every nation, every continent has its own culture and traditions. So, imagine the surprise of Europeans when they cross over the ocean and visit the United States of America! Almost everything is so different, so unique, so intimidating, so new.

Here are a few things that Europeans find strange/ quirky about America:

That building is fairly new!

For Europeans, where history goes back to as many as 5,000 years and where you’ll find beautiful architectural structures having stood the test of time, a 100 or 200 year ‘old’ American architectural marvel seems fairly new! They don’t understand the hype about a 100 year old church or house or building!

How far is it?!

All Europeans use the metric system (metres, Celsius, grams, litres etc.) whereas Americans use Fahrenheit, blocks, pounds etc. for everyday life. So imagine the confusion when a European asks for directions and the American says, it’s two blocks down the road”!


Food Combinations!

How can Americans drink soda with ice cream?! And what’s this about peanut butter and mayonnaise sandwich?!

How much do I need to pay?!

Image Source: Wikimedia

European coins are known by their denomination. 50 cent, €1, €2 and so on. So when in America, Europeans hear ‘nickel’ and ‘dime’, it surprises and confuses them!

I’ll pay by cash, thank you!

Europeans generally carry cash on them. No matter how many debit and credit cards they have, they almost always have cash in their wallets. So it surprises them when they visit a department store and witness an American paying for as little as a bag of chips with a card.

Is it 3rd October or 10th March?!

Europeans follow the "Day-Month-Year" format, whereas Americans use the "Month-Day-Year" format. Confusion confusion!


It’s 9 p.m.! Why is that shop still open?!

In Europe, many of the shops and department stores close by 6 p.m. and generally remain closed on weekends. So, it is surprising for a European to find 24-hours open stores in America.

You don’t play/watch football?

In Europe, the most popular sport is football (soccer), followed by probably tennis, Formula 1 racing and cycling. In USA, however, soccer is probably at the bottom of the list! The sports of baseball, basketball and ice hockey are very popular.

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