17 Cultural Reasons Why This European Never Wants to Live in America

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    Nov 26, 2011 5:21 PM GMT
    I read this post a few days ago and found it interesting to see what someone from another country really thinks about America. While I found some of his complaints just silly (people smile too much and sales tax not being included) I did agree with others (public transportation and huge food portions). But having lived outside of the US for a few years I do have to say that I find myself asking why things are how they are in the US more and more.
    http://www.fluentin3months.com/no-usa-for-me/
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    Nov 26, 2011 5:30 PM GMT
    The good news is that the particular European in the article cited doesn't have to live or even visit the U.S. if he doesn't want to.

    There are lots of folks who probably have cultural reasons for not wanting to live in Europe or other countries in North America, Asia, Africa, South America, Austraila, or Antarctica for that matter.

    It's not that one place or another is "better or worse", they are all just different. All places have their pros and cons. All places change.

    Different strokes. Different folks.

    It's a good thing to think about our own country and the way things are (both "good" and "bad") and why things are the way they are. We are fortunate in that we live in a country where we can change the way things are if we really want to. I usually do this at the local level where I can personally have an impact.

    Right now, I'm working with not-for-profit professional associations, academia, corporations, government entities, and others on "workforce development" initiatives which create "organic economy" which gets people back to work through entrepreneurial efforts.

    @all - What might you do to create grassroots economic development in your area? If you're doing it, how are you doing it?

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    Nov 26, 2011 5:31 PM GMT
    It's more complicated than just being a "annoying." I do love European culture, and there are certain parts of American subculture I do not like (suburbs, ugh). I don't think this person should really be judging Americans by his limited experience in our country. One of the good things he left out, is that there is a huge variance in culture because of the size of our country, something that European countries do not experience (unless you consider Europe as a whole).

    If you don't like the fake smiles in the south, go to the north and deal with the political correctness icon_razz.gif
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    Nov 26, 2011 6:30 PM GMT
    so very true about apple and the idiots.
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    Nov 26, 2011 6:45 PM GMT
    That actually is pretty funny. The thing about advertising is dead on. That is why I DVR everything to avoid the commercials. I can only take so many overzealous characters hocking a product.

    I love America warts and all.
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    Nov 26, 2011 7:54 PM GMT
    meh, rather superficial piece written for lolz, and despite what he claims, to anger "Americans." failed on both counts. he decries that we are overly "sensitive," yet this didn't bother me. i'm used to ppl giving their less-than-sensitive opinions. i mean, did he read our newspapers, or watch our "news." or listen to the countless "discussions" over anthing and everything? i think not, or he would know we're really not THAT sensitive. (haha)

    also, he should take editing/grammar lessons. js
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    Nov 26, 2011 9:12 PM GMT
    1. Americans are way too sensitive
    Probably referring referring to political correctness. Or maybe he just met a bunch of cunts while he was here.

    2. Everything is “awesome”!
    Compared to what's going on in other parts of the world, yes everything is awesome here.

    3. Smiles mean NOTHING
    Everything is awesome here, remember? If I were living in some third world Eastern Bloc country, I wouldn't be smiling either.

    4. Tipping
    Yeah, he's got a point. Tipping is kinda bullshit here sometimes. But ya know, being a foreigner/tourist is no excuse. Learn the culture a little before you come and visit. When in Rome, right?

    5. False prices on everything
    I don't see what the big deal is. I think I hear this complaint all the time from Europeans. In Europe and other parts of the world, the tip/tax/VAT is included in the price of the food/product. In the US, it's not included because we don't have a national sales tax. Each state has their own tax, and each city/county has different rates of tax as well. It's printed on the receipt. Nothing is hidden or false. And let's get real for a minute, 10% sales tax is probably the most you'll pay for anything here. Which is, much cheaper than your 20% VAT. So, boo hoo, if you can't do math. Get a calculator.

    6. Cheesy in-your-face marketing
    This is a reason to not want to live in America?

    7. Wasteful consumerism
    No one is forcing you to buy anything.

    8. Idiotic American stereotypes of other countries
    This happens in ALL countries/cultures. Your list is proof.

    9. Heritage
    His comments seems a little elitist here.

    10. ID checks & stupid drinking laws
    Kinda agree here. When you're 18, you're a legal adult. But you can't buy alcohol? But again, this is a reason to not want to live in America?

    11. Religious Americans
    Don't hang out with bible bangers. Simple as that. Again, this is a reason to not want to live in America?

    12. Corporations win all the time, not small businesses
    Of course they do. Everywhere. Maybe you haven't noticed in your own country?

    13. A country designed for cars, not humans
    Duh. We have more land mass.

    14. Always in a hurry
    Yeah, so? Some of us have other shit to do. We don't have the time to sit at a cafe/pub, sip on an espresso/Guinness, and ponder about a list of things to hate about another country based on superficial attributes.

    15. Obsession with money
    Yeah, so far this confirms that he's been hanging around with a bunch of cunts while visiting the States.

    16. Unhealthy portions
    No one is forcing you to order all the food or drink all that soda.

    17. Thinking America is the best
    Not the best, but we're on top. It's pretty easy to hate and nitpick on a country that has major influence/push/pull on other countries.
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    Nov 26, 2011 9:18 PM GMT
    America is too bad ass for his nelly self
  • jboy84

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    Nov 26, 2011 9:22 PM GMT
    I'm moving to the states soon...

    I'll miss my free healthcare. icon_sad.gif
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    Nov 26, 2011 9:26 PM GMT
    HorrorGymGuy saidAmerica is too bad ass for his nelly self


    Jealousy.......icon_wink.gif
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    Nov 26, 2011 9:27 PM GMT
    I used to have European Friends , They always told me that Americans are stupid .. I don't know why icon_lol.gif
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    Nov 26, 2011 9:30 PM GMT
    This is funny...the guys sounds like...wait...a bitchy American traveling abroad ;)

    At any rate, he makes some valid observations, but I think he is also making many misinterpretations. Namely in many parts of this country, people genuinely are happy and actually mean to smile at strangers. It's a very southern and western thing, and I would say that westerners get particularly chatty and tend to slough off the politeness for candidness pretty quickly. But not so much in the east...which is a point that is lost on most foreigners. Regionalism here is intense, and no one part of the country is exactly like another.

    Anyways, back to the cheerful *parts* of the country, I'm always proud to say that I live in a state where, even in the middle of the city, it is common to strike up a personal conversation with a complete stranger. When I have traveled here with friends from Europe, they have been stunned to find that, most of the time, this light heartedness is actually sincere. It's a nice counter-balance to all our cheesey advertising and caustic politics, lol!
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    Nov 26, 2011 9:31 PM GMT
    On the sales tax not being included in the price point, I'll say I actually like this. I like that we are constantly reminded that everything the government does comes out of our own pockets.

    This might be deemed radical, I suppose, but to be honest I would do away with tax withholdings by employers. I think it waters down that connection between government spending and your own wallet, because we simply grow accustomed to thinking that "what we earn" is what our paycheck ultimately reflects. It would be preferable, I think, to force everyone to send a check to the government either once a month, or once a year.

    Can you imagine, getting your paycheck (or pay stub for your direct deposit), reflecting exactly how much you earned that month, and next to it a bill from the government saying "ok, this is how much you need to give us now." I'm pretty sure more people would start paying attention to federal and state budgets then. And this, no matter what your political leanings are, would be a good thing.
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    Nov 26, 2011 9:33 PM GMT
    Any one of those points could be applied to some region in any country in the world.

    BLAHBLAHBLAHBLAHBLAHBLAHBLAHBLAH
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    Nov 26, 2011 9:37 PM GMT
    [quote][cite]xrichx said[/cite]

    4. Tipping/quote]

    I know...we get to choose whether or not or how much we wish to tip rather than having 15 or 18% automatically added to our check....regardless of the shitty service..................icon_idea.gif
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    Nov 26, 2011 9:42 PM GMT
    jpBITCHva said
    19c79 saidCan you imagine, getting your paycheck (or pay stub for your direct deposit), reflecting exactly how much you earned that month, and next to it a bill from the government saying "ok, this is how much you need to give us now." I'm pretty sure more people would start paying attention to federal and state budgets then. And this, no matter what your political leanings are, would be a good thing.

    And the rate of tax evasion, dodging and cheating would SKYROCKET.

    It's a risk, I'll grant you that. But 1) I'm sure the IRS would find ways to get what it wants--they can jail you, after all--and 2) The benefit of a more engaged and mindful populace is probably worth said risk.
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    Nov 26, 2011 9:42 PM GMT
    So he's lived in the US only three months? Wow, you sure can tell a lot about a place in such a short amount of time. How about he checks in again after living 10 or 20 years in the US? He'll have a much different opinion by then.

    Some of my friends have teased me for giving up my Spanish citizenship when I turned 18. They often tell me I could've gotten married and had a gateway to Europe. Well the thing is, I don't care about ever getting married nor do I have any plans to live in Europe anytime soon. I haven't lived in Spain since I was 4 years old! And considering the state of affairs in Spain and nearby countries, I can't say that I've regretted my decision.

    Also, I have to say that in my experience of travels, we really aren't as different from each other as we like to believe. I mean, most of us who are from industrialized/globalized countries, we have far more similarities than differences. Sure, we have some different beliefs, habits, and modes of expression, but they're quite minor in the grand scheme of things. I hate harping on such little things when we're basically the same.

    Case in point, the United States is still the No. 1 destination in the world for immigrants. That won't be changing anytime soon. Living here sure beats living in North Korea, Afghanistan, Iran, Uganda, or Moldova.
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    Nov 26, 2011 9:44 PM GMT
    -- in a West Texas voice --

    Well bless his dear heart for writing such a thoughtful exposé.

    I'm certain that after keeping my catfish wrapped until I can get back from the creek, it will make fine compost for my squash patch next spring.
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    Nov 26, 2011 9:46 PM GMT
    resize.php?name=LzM3OC9BbWVyaWNhLUZ1Y2st
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    Nov 26, 2011 9:50 PM GMT
    I am going to be very simplistic about this. I have travelled to quite a few countries in the world and have also lived in a couple of Latin American countries. If you are going to travel, you Must be flexible -- it is what it is.
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    Nov 26, 2011 9:52 PM GMT
    19c79 saidOn the sales tax not being included in the price point, I'll say I actually like this. I like that we are constantly reminded that everything the government does comes out of our own pockets.

    This might be deemed radical, I suppose, but to be honest I would do away with tax withholdings by employers. I think it waters down that connection between government spending and your own wallet, because we simply grow accustomed to thinking that "what we earn" is what our paycheck ultimately reflects. It would be preferable, I think, to force everyone to send a check to the government either once a month, or once a year.

    Can you imagine, getting your paycheck (or pay stub for your direct deposit), reflecting exactly how much you earned that month, and next to it a bill from the government saying "ok, this is how much you need to give us now." I'm pretty sure more people would start paying attention to federal and state budgets then. And this, no matter what your political leanings are, would be a good thing.


    If I am not mistaken, this is more or less the way things used to work up until sometime in the 1930s or 1940s.

    Tax Withholding became popular for that very reason - you don't think much about what is automatically stolen from you before you ever get it.

    Also, there is a way that you can avoid withholding by paying estimated taxes, a quarterly tax payment that more or less captures this idea (I used this when managing a construction partnership years ago).
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    Nov 26, 2011 9:52 PM GMT
    The guy who wrote this is a typical elitist traveler btw... "I can judge you cause I have visited the Booga Wooga indians in the Amazon rainforest".

    Whiny European is whiny cause he's from the shittiest corner of the EU icon_razz.gif
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    Nov 26, 2011 9:54 PM GMT
    pocketnico saidAlso, I have to say that in my experience of travels, we really aren't as different from each other as we like to believe. I mean, most of us who are from industrialized/globalized countries, we have far more similarities than differences. Sure, we have some different beliefs, habits, and modes of expression, but they're quite minor in the grand scheme of things. I hate harping on such little things when we're basically the same.


    This is a great observation. I lived in France for a full year during college. It was great.

    There were also plenty of things I hated about France and that surprised me greatly. In particular (now this was 1999) they were AWFUL about recycling. Even in the largest towns, it was all I could do to find a place to recycle my glass and plastic bottles. Even in Paris it was terrible. Almost everything there went to the incinerators- a fact that Germany hates. Now in Germany at the same time, you could recycle something as uncommon as a cassette tape in a place as common as a train station.

    Another thing I encountered in France was widespread racism. The racism I found against Arabs in France was unlike anything I had ever encountered in the US, and I would argue that, given the recent riots in Paris, the French are easily 40 years behind the US with internal racial tensions.

    Now, no matter how cool Germany was...need I mention the racism I saw there against Turks?

    But I digress. To agree with Pocketnico's point, after a full year in France, the novelty and romanticism wore off and I got used to life there. Sure there are lots of differences, but ultimately I came to experience "life in just another western country." Plain old life in industrialized France... I lost my desire to leave the US, and it was during that time away that I started to miss some peculiar things here. That made my decision to stay here.
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    Nov 26, 2011 9:54 PM GMT
    vincent7 saidI am going to be very simplistic about this. I have travelled to quite a few countries in the world and have also lived in a couple of Latin American countries. If you are going to travel, you Must be flexible -- it is what it is.


    +1
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    Nov 26, 2011 10:01 PM GMT
    There are some things about Spain I can't imagine dealing with that aren't quite an issue in the US.

    Air conditioning! Oh thank the USA for making air conditioning a common necessity in buildings because Spaniards sure don't believe in it! The typical middle class Spaniard usually does not have air conditioning in his/her apartment unless they sacrificed something major for it. Seriously try spending a whole summer, year after year, in a TINY apartment in Sevilla without air conditioning.

    Homeschooling is illegal in Spain unless a child is chronically ill or disabled. Even then, parents aren't allowed to educate their own kids. They have to get a special teacher from their area who comes daily to do the job. And this isn't even with regard to religious education.

    A lot of small towns and rural areas are usually quite poor with limited opportunities and shitty living conditions. Most big cities are much better. Here in the US, there are a number of booming small towns with incredible wealth and opportunities. And there are plenty of crap cities that aren't worth living in.

    Spaniards are also known to be quite racist towards Asians, Moroccans, Romanians, and even Latin Americans (particularly those who look mestizo or Indian). They are quick to blame the rise of prostitution on Chinese and Romanian immigrants and crime and gang activity on Latin Americans.

    Finally, many Spaniards may not be religious at all, but some of them remain foolishly superstitious. It's quite contradictory (not to mention embarrassing) to encounter people who claim to be atheist or agnostic and yet still fall for cultural superstitions.